3 Ways of Exploring the Symbolism Of Medallions In Contemporary Jewelry

3 Ways of Exploring the Symbolism Of Medallions In Contemporary Jewelry

Medallions have been worn since time immemorial. Only recently have they gained a fresh wave of popularity among contemporary jewellery designers.

They believe that medallions are strong emblems of luck, guidance, protection, what they’ve achieved thus far, and where they’ve come from. Medallions can also be used to invoke strength and karma among its wearers. 

However, if you choose to look at them, medallions (especially the AA ones) are an essential part of modern jewellery. Despite their artistic appearance and smooth finish, these chips hold a deeper meaning.

This article will delve into the different symbolisms of these pieces. First, let’s get a deeper understanding of what AA medallions are, shall we?

Symbolism Of Medallions In Contemporary Jewelry

AA Chips Symbolism and Design

1. Symbolism

Otherwise known as AA medallions or sobriety chips, AA chips are tokens linked to specific programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA chips in order symbolize the period in which a recovering alcoholic has stayed sober. 

Even though they don’t oblige within the framework of the AA, their role is prevalent all the same.

AA chips are typically awarded during AA meetings to recognize various sobriety intervals. In the majority of global Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, the chips are awarded for periods between 24 hours and 11 months.

The chips are typically crafted purely from aluminium. 

Here are some of the colours associated with sobriety chips. The chip colours will vary significantly based on the manufacturer’s preferences. 

  • Twenty-four hours – White
  • One month – Red
  • Two months – Gold
  • Three months – Emerald green
  • Four months – Gold
  • Five months – Red
  • Six months – Blue

The white chip typically symbolizes ‘surrender.’ It’s when you finally quit trying to hide or control your drinking and let Alcoholics Anonymous walk with you in your journey of sobriety. The first chip is usually the most rewarding and emotional for new members.

Collecting AA medallions is an age-old tradition to commemorate different sobriety levels. The exercise of awarding sobriety chips started way back in Elmira, New York, in 1947.

The chips mark definitive milestones in your journey of sobriety. On average, the order of chips includes the “desire” or 24-hour chip, which represents a commitment to sobriety for one full day and the day after.

Symbolism Of Medallions In Contemporary Jewelry

After that is the 30-day chip, then the 60-day, 90-day, 6-month, 9-month, one year, 18 months, and finally, the annual chips as you proceed with your path of sobriety.

Having a collection of these chips is important as it commemorates your commitment and progress in staying drug/alcohol-free. 

The General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous gave an approximate member group count of 123,000 throughout the world.

AA groups can choose a variety of ways to commemorate the time members stay sober. The measurement of this time and milestone celebration goes a long way in boosting a recovering alcoholic’s psyche. 

2. Design

The medallions typically have a small diameter that roughly resembles a poker chip. Most of the designs have one side that shows the amount of time in sobriety encased in a Circle and Triangle symbol. You’ll often see the amount of time in 24 hours or labelled as month 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 18. 

On the exterior of the triangle, the words “Recovery,” “Service,” and “Unity” are etched in an attractive front. All through the perimeter, the medallion is adorned with the phrase “To Thine Own Self Be True.” This helps remind the wearer to hold to their new way of life and not waiver in their commitment to full recovery.

Symbolism Of Medallions In Contemporary Jewelry

The medallion’s other side has a smaller circle that encircles a smaller triangle. Around the circle is a text of the Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Prayer that reads: “God grant me the Serenity to accept things I cannot change, Courage to change things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”

3. Color

All chips awarded after the one-year sobriety mark are typically bronze. The rest of the novelty chips come in unique designs, types, colours, and metals. The average premium sobriety chip is either silver- or gold-coloured, plated, and sometimes coated in a pure epoxy dome.  

The chips are lighter and easily distinguished by diverse colours representing various sobriety levels. Chips awarded for more than a year of sobriety are carefully crafted and have a similar hue as the material itself.

Elite Medallions, Deluxe Coins, and other varieties of AA chips exist in assorted designs. They’re also fabricated from a wide selection of materials and metals.  

Although sobriety medallions don’t necessarily help the wearer maintain their sobriety, studies have shown a link between a medallion’s visual presence and the wearer’s self-resolve.

These chips are intended to strengthen the holder’s motivation to pursue sobriety. Some consider it a good luck charm that shields them from relapsing.

Symbolism Of Medallions In Contemporary Jewelry


If you or your loved one is on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction, AA medallions are a great way to celebrate your milestones in sobriety.

This practice offers encouragement and motivation that feels personal and spiritual, considering you carry the chip around with you to remind you to stay true to your commitment. 

Pursuing sobriety is all you need to be a part of this age-old tradition. You’ll dorn these aluminium, bronze, or tri-colour medallions not to complement your outfit but to inspire you to collect more like those and be a reformed person with a higher calling.

Also Read: Navigating Modest Fashion With Eastern Wear

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