The medals awarded at this year's Paris Olympics and Paralympics will feature a hexagon-shaped piece of iron taken from the original Eiffel Tower at the center of the medals awarded at this year's Paris Olympics and Paralympics, organizers said Thursday, unveiling their design. All 5,084 gold, silver and bronze medals at the Paris Games will include a six-faced metal medal set like a gem to a design by elite French jewelery house Chaumet. “We wanted to give a piece of the 1889 Eiffel Tower to all the medal winners at the Paris Olympics and Paralympics,” said Tony Estanguet, head of the local organizing committee.
The medal was “a combination of the most precious metals among the medals – gold, silver and bronze – with the most precious metal in our country, from this treasure that is the Eiffel Tower.”
Chaumet's design, whose creations have graced the elite and wealthy since the 1780s, also features a circular arrangement of ridges intended to capture light and evoke the sun's rays.
The iron hexagon – a shape that echoes the shape of mainland France – is held up by six spurs at each corner, which are intended to resemble the rivets used on the Eiffel Tower.
The metal was taken from a warehouse in Paris used for stock offcuts by the operating company that maintains the 330-metre (1,083 ft) landmark, affectionately known in France as the “Old Lady”. Known in.
“We learned that during the maintenance of the Eiffel Tower over the years they were obliged to remove some of the original structure,” ceremony director Thierry Reboul told AFP and other media during an advance preview of the medals.
“We used these pieces. They were more than enough.”
Medal design is an important part of each Games' aesthetic, along with logos, mascots and opening ceremonies.
Since 2004, the reverse of all medals have depicted the Greek goddess Nike flying over the historic Panathinaikos Stadium in Athens, the site of the original Olympic Games in ancient times.
Paris organizers won a concession from the International Olympic Committee, allowing them to make slight changes to the design to add the Eiffel Tower to the scene.
All the metal used in the Paris medals, which weigh approximately half a kilogram, has been recycled.
Japanese organizers also incorporated recycled metal at the last Olympics in Tokyo, with each medal cast from alloys extracted from used consumer electronics such as mobile phones and laptops.
Although designed by Chaumet, the medals will be manufactured by the National Mint, which has strongly denied a recent report that it had struggled to find a non-toxic agent with which to coat each one. .
The wrought iron used in the construction of the Eiffel Tower especially required protection from wind and moisture to prevent oxidation.
“We have no problem with it,” Paris Games design chief Joachim Roncin told reporters.
Chaumet, which counts tower designer Gustave Eiffel and his family as clients, is one of more than 70 leading luxury brands owned by French conglomerate LVMH, which is a major corporate sponsor.
Headquartered in the exclusive Place Vendôme in Paris, Chaumet's work typically involves handling one-off orders from royalty and billionaires for diamond-studded high jewelery for weddings and high-society parties.
“We knew everyone was going to watch the event in 2024 and we knew we couldn't afford to travel,” said Benoit Verheule, head of Chaumet's jewelery atelier.
“We decided to treat the Eiffel Tower piece like a precious stone. We used our expertise to establish it as a jewelery house,” he said.
Other LVMH brands including Berluti, Dior and Louis Vuitton are also set to feature at the Paris Olympics as part of the company's sponsorship deal.
The Eiffel Tower will play a central role during the Games, which run from July 26 to August 11, and the Paralympics, which run from August 28 to September 8.
The opening ceremony will see sports teams sailing along the River Seine and landing in front of the historic site, while there is speculation that the Olympic flame will be kept on the tower for the duration of the Games.
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