PNG images: Medal

A medal or medallion is, strictly speaking, a small, flat, and round (at times, ovoid) piece of metal that has been sculpted, molded, cast, struck, stamped, or some way marked with an insignia, portrait, or other artistic rendering. A medal may be awarded to a person or organization as a form of recognition for sporting, military, scientific, cultural, academic, or various other achievements. Military awards and decorations are more precise terms for certain types of state decoration. Medals may also be created for sale to commemorate particular individuals or events, or as works of artistic expression in their own right. In the past, medals commissioned for an individual, typically with their portrait, were often used as a form of diplomatic or personal gift, with no sense of being an award for the conduct of the recipient.

Free Medal PNG images

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An artist who creates medals or medallions is called a "medallist" (UK) or "medalist" (US). There are also devotional medals which may be worn for religious reasons. Medals have long been popular collectible items either as a variety of exonumia or of militaria. Medals may also be produced in a rectangular shape, though these would more correctly be described as a plaquette, and official awards such as military decorations are often in shapes such as crosses or stars, but are still loosely called "medals", as in the star-shaped American Medal of Honor.

In the proper use of the term, medallions are larger, starting at perhaps four inches across, and are, as such, usually too large to be worn very comfortably, though in colloquial use, "medallion" is often used to refer to a medal used as the pendant of a necklace (as in the medallion man fashion style of the 1960s and 1970s), or for other types of medals. Medallions may also be called "table medals" because they are too large to be worn and can only be displayed on a wall, table top, desk, or cabinet.

The main or front surface of a medal is termed the obverse, and may contain a portrait, pictorial scene, or other image along with an inscription. The reverse, or back surface of the medal, is not always used and may be left blank or may contain a secondary design. It is not uncommon to find only an artistic rendering on the obverse, while all details and other information for the medal are inscribed on the reverse. The rim is found only occasionally employed to display an inscription such as a motto, privy mark, engraver symbol, assayer’s marking, or a series number.

Medals that are intended to be hung from a ribbon also include a small suspension piece at the crest with which to loop a suspension ring through. It is through the ring that a ribbon is run or folded so the medal may hang pendent. Medals pinned to the breast use only a small cut of ribbon that is attached to a top bar where the brooch pin is affixed. Top bars may be hidden under the ribbon so they are not visible, be a plain device from which the ribbon attaches, or may even be decorative to complement the design on the medal. Some top bars are elaborate and contain a whole design unto themselves.

Bronze has been the most common material employed for medals, due to its fair price range, durability, ease with which to work when casting, and the ample availability However, a wide range of other media have also been used. Rarer metals have been employed, such as silver, platinum, and gold, when wishing to add value beyond the mere artistic depiction, as well as base metals and alloys such as copper, brass, iron, aluminum, lead, zinc, nickel, and pewter. Medals that are made with inexpensive material might be gilded, silver-plated, chased, or finished in a variety of other ways to improve their appearance. Medals have also been made of rock, gemstone, ivory, glass, porcelain, terra cotta, coal, wood, paper, enamel, lacquerware, and plastics.

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