History of Precious Metals in The Olympics

Gold rings laying on top of each other

Precious metals have played an essential role in human society for centuries. These valuable metals, including gold, silver, and bronze, have been used for a variety of purposes, ranging from currency and jewelry to art and recognition. One of the most notable examples of the latter is the symbolic use of precious metals in the Olympic Games. 

The Start of Olympic Medals

Did you know that the gold, silver, and bronze medal sequence we associate with the Olympic Games is relatively new? For hundreds of years, winners were crowned with wreaths made of olive branches. But in 1896, medals were first introduced. Then, the winner was given the silver medal, 2nd place was given bronze, and the 3rd place winner received nothing at all.

The 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, USA was where the familiar tradition of gold, silver, and bronze was established, and it is now considered the standard form of recognition for athletes. The host city of each Olympics is now responsible for designing the awards, making each year’s medals unique and memorable. The awards often recall aspects of the host country’s culture, as well as celebrating elements unique to that year’s games.

This tradition has carried on into many different areas of sports, entertainment, and corporate awards ceremonies. Everyone enjoys the feeling of receiving an award that is distinguished and personal.

Olympic medals designed to resemble precious medals like gold and silver

Authentic Precious Metals

Few gold medals and awards are actually crafted from the solid precious metal they appear to be. The Oscar statuette is made of a bronze mold that is polished and then gold-plated. The Pulitzer Prize is a gold-plated silver medal, similar to the makeup of Olympic gold medals. However, silver and bronze Olympic medals are created from the actual materials.

Our Approach to Precious Metals

Here at Trophyology, we primarily utilize brass to represent gold and nickel or aluminum to represent silver, and copper to represent bronze in our recognition awards and plaques. We love how these metals pair and enhance the natural beauty of wood. We also love using alternative materials, and we pride ourselves in creating modern, stylish awards that utilize sustainable and recyclable packaging.

Gold, silver, and bronze precious medals

Made with Care

Every custom, modern award at Trophyology is made with care by our team of creative professionals who take the time to ensure each unique award meets our standard of excellence. We use only the finest materials, with hardwoods harvested for every award and then hand-oiled, assembled, and personalized by our in-house artisans. We also add any personal touches that help your corporate award stand out, such as laser engraving, or nameplates.

Take Part in the Tradition

Whether you’re receiving an award or giving one, you’re taking part in a tradition that is thousands of years old. It may be made of gold, nickel, copper, glass, or wood. And it may take the form of a medal, a trophy, a plaque, a plate, a cube, or a pyramid. Regardless of your award’s composition or the story behind it, our society values the act of being recognized. In the end, we all love being presented with something tangible and beautiful that celebrates our efforts. 


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