Are Olympic Medals a Piece of Mens and Womens Jewelry?

Is an Olympic medal a piece of jewelry? I know it’s more substantial then say a necklace you bought at Target, but does it qualify as a piece of mens jewelry or women’s jewelry because of its resemblance to a necklace? Maybe I’m just stretching, and I doubt that any athlete would ever wear it on a daily basis, but outside of something like the hope diamond, in my opinion an Olympic medal would be just about the coolest piece of jewelry you could ever wear. Imagine walking into a party with that thing on. Who wouldn’t be impressed?

I write this as I’m watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Paralympic games in Vancouver. Here in the US the Paralympic Games aren’t exactly “Muse-see” TV. Regardless, it’s some of the best athletes in the world excelling at what they do best. It’s essentially the same format as the Olympics with gold, silver and bronze medals with each athlete proudly representing their country. The medals vary slightly from the Olympic ones but still have the basic round design. They are impressive pieces of work which any able bodied Olympian would be proud to have.

So back to my original point: are Olympic medals considered jewelry? Mirriam-Webster defines jewelry as “objects of precious metal often set with gems and worn for personal adornment”. That sounds pretty much like an Olympic medal. No jewels I know, but a good amount of everyday jewelry doesn’t feature gems. Furthermore, the medals can be worn for personal adornment, but like so much other jewelry throughout history they don’t need to be. If you go to a museum and look at a lot of the jewelry on display much of it was maybe worn once and then put on display for the public (like J-Lo’s dresses). So from definition sake it seems that medals would definitely be jewelry.

The thing is that most athletes would probably not want to wear their medals as everyday wear. Besides the fact that they could lose them (by accident or by force), there are also two other factors. First, you look like a jerk wearing an Olympic medal everywhere you go. It’s like “Fine, we get it, you were the best in your field, now stop shoving it in our faces your stuck up so-and-so”. Secondly, with the weight of the gold medal on your chest they don’t exactly look comfortable. It looks like every time they would swing and hit your chest another bruise would occur.

So, do Olympic medals count as pieces of men’s and women’s jewelry? By definition yes. But if you ask an athlete, they would probably rather just keep it in their display cases.