The Difference Between Medals and Medallions

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Although the names may sound alike, medals and medallions are less similar than you may think.

Here at the Monterey Company, we make massive amounts of unique and gorgeous custom medals and custom medallions. It never fails however that when we get a call from a potential client seeking their free consultation with one of our designers that the question comes up;  What is the difference between a medal and a medallion?

It’s as simple as size, really.  Medallions are large medals and numismatists, particularly in Europe say that medallions have a diameter of at least 80 mm or 3 inches.  Although it is true that both words are used interchangeably, the issue of size is what separates one from the other.

For practical purposes, however, it is interesting to note that both medallions and medals can be used in the same fashion, for the same purpose.  The larger size of a medallion allows for lovely landscapes and etchings with fine detail to be used in the design, but this in no way limits what can be done with a medal either.  Both can be used as pendants and offer a grand versatility and beauty that can be enjoyed for countless years.

Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you for clarifying that medallions are basically larger medals. My friend is a teacher, and she’s been wanting to get custom awards for her students, as they have surpassed their class goal. It seems like medals would be the better choice, as her students are still rather young.

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