A medallion is a great way to commemorate an event or remember achievements. Custom medallions can be cheap or crafted with precision using high-quality materials. The choice of size, design, material and other elements depends on how important the event is. And if used to recognise people, it depends on how important these people are, obviously.
In the old days, medallions were a royal symbol that symbolised a position of strength. A medallion could also denote power, wealth, and even the ownership of people (such as slaves, unfortunately).
An early example of its use for commemoration dates back to the times of the Roman Empire. In that period they could be commemorating conquests, for wars and battles. This could be a reason why today military use medallions to showcase rank and achievements and even nationalities.
In sports, medallions are coveted by athletes in individual and team events. Besides the cash prizes, medallions represent an affirmation of their incredible feats and endurance in winning their respective sports.
Throughout history, ego is evident in the Middle Ages when the powerful and the wealthy would have their portraits and emblems engraved on medallions.
Confused by the difference between a medal and a medallion? The simple answer is that they are nearly the same except for the size. Both the medal and the medallion often come with a ribbon which can be worn on the neck. What differs is that medallions are larger, thicker and heavier. Because the medallion is larger, it allows an artist to create a more elaborate design that is impossible with the typically smaller medals.
Are there any other uses of medallions that you may not have heard of? In China, for instance, some companies use medallions as a means to build company loyalty.
So, regardless of the intended use, one thing is common. The use of medallions is about pride in achieving success or being a part of something great.