(August 2008) For the first time in the history of modern-day Olympic competitions, stone will be used along-side the traditional precious metals in crafting the winners’ trophies. In the case of the gold medal, pure white nephrite will be used, for the bronze metal the dark green variety is employed and in the case of the silver medal, pale green jade will frame the precious metal.
The design of the reverse side of the medals is traditionally left to the discretion of the host-country, whereby the IOC must give the final approval. In China the trophies will sport an outer ring of the precious medal with the stone surface within. The respective precious metal bearing the symbol of the games is embedded in the centre.
The choice of design rests on an ancient cultural tradition: the Bi-disks. These were stone disks with a hole at the centre presumably symbolizing heaven, as scientists believe today. They were placed in tombs and were usually crafted from jade.
The medals have a 7 cm diameter and are 6 mm thick. The Olympic games will take place from August 8th to 24th 2008 in Beijing.