When most people think of a bronze award they think of third place; gold for first, silver for second, and bronze for third, right? For the record, most of the world’s most famous golden awards aren’t actually made of solid gold. And bronze awards, especially custom-designed bronze awards, are actually a lot more special than their usual 3rd place spot makes them seem.
Awards can be made out of many materials including bronze, pewter and crystal. Crystal awards generally have the lowest overall cost, and shortest lead-time. They usually are a geometric block of crystal with custom engraving in either 2D or 3D. Bronze is primarily copper alloyed with small amount of tin. Pewter, on the other hand, is primarily tin alloyed with a small amount of copper, giving it a much more silvery appearance naturally. Pewter is a “softer” metal than bronze and melts at much lower temperatures, so pewter casting requires fewer steps than bronze casting and awards can be created a little bit quicker. However, as a harder metal, bronze tends to be a bit more more durable than pewter.
Bronze awards are initially designed in clay or wax, then go through a detailed, multi-stage molding and casting process before then can be produced in their final form. As a harder metal that can be “finished” (grinded and buffed) to a greater degree, bronze is a better choice for sculpture award designs that feature hard, sharp edges and precise geometric shapes. Each award is individually cast and crafted, making each piece “one of a kind;” no two pieces are exactly identical. The idiosyncrasies of each finished piece add to their beauty and uniqueness. Casting a bronze award is a very lengthy, labor-intensive process that requires the talent and expertise of skilled artisans with many, many years of experience. This means a bronze award is really more like a piece of art than the average award you’d see at your Little Leaguer’s end of season ceremony.
Bronze awards are generally produced in one of two finishes. The first is a high-polish finish that showcases the natural gleam and shine of the bronze awards. The second is a patina finish that adds rich color and texture to the awards. Many awards actually have both finishes to really make the design pop.
Interestingly enough, the most famous bronze awards in the world (the 3rd place Olympic medals) aren’t actually made of bronze. It is mostly copper with some tin and zinc (worth approximately $3). Bronze awards from a company like Bennett Awards are certainly worth much more than $3! Especially when you consider the fact that organizations and companies can completely customize their bronze awards to accurately reflect their brand, the core values of their organization, as well as the spirit of the award.