University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley wearing his custom ceremonial chain of office produced by Medallic Art.

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This custom chain of office for Baylor University is minted in antiqued bronze and features an engraved history of the university's presidents on the links. View More Chains Below.

Wearing Your Chain

For maximum comfort, the Chain of Office should be fitted so that front and back hang equally on the wearer. When wearing the chain, adjust the front and back lengths until you can feel the weight distributed evenly.

Custom Ceremonial Chains

For centuries, ceremonial Chains of Office have honored the highest officials of educational institutions. Chains of Office are an important expression that honors the history and proud traditions of your university or college.

A handcrafted Chain of Office by Medallic Art Company is the appropriate way to recognize and distinguish your President, Chancellor, Board of Trustees, Dean and even Student Class President during your university graduation ceremony and can be displayed when not worn.

A Privileged Task

Since 1903, Medallic Art Company has been privileged to produce these symbols of rank for some of America’s most revered institutions. Medallic Art’s artisans and craftsmen can assist you in creating a legacy of office unique to your institution.

Fully Customizable

The Chain of Office will be created from your choice of precious or non-precious metals, including gold, silver, and bronze. The Chains are hand-crafted in three-dimensional high-relief sculpture or two-dimensional engraving.

A variety of finishes and patinas are available: silver plating, gold plating, and antiquing. Color enameling, gemstones, or custom shapes are special features that can be employed to create your own uniquely stunning chain.

Select Your Components

Custom designed components are our specialty. Select your school or institution's most treasured symbols and add them to your Chain of Office as personalized components. Your seal, logo, or any graphic element can be added to the round, square, and rectangular-shaped chain links.

You can also engrave these components as well as the banners and books to permanently recognize your institution's leaders, schools, and significant dates. Medallic Art offers a number of finish and plating options, including gold and silver.

Only The Best

A history of American-made excellence, superior design, superb craftsmanship and attention to detail, and use of only the finest materials are all attributes of Medallic Art Company that assure you of the finest custom Ceremonial Chain.

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A Long History

Henry VIII around 1539 wearing a chain of state.

Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne, wearing a ceremonial chain of state (by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1806).

Chains of office or “necklets” are one of the oldest symbols of authority. They have been worn as early as the days of the Roman Empire and displayed by emperors, kings, pharaohs, and religious figures as physical representations of their power and position. A chain of Office may also be known as a Livery Chain, Livery Collar, Collar of Office, or Renaissance Chain.

In their formal portraits, both Napoleon and Henry the 8th were pictured wearing these symbols.

The tradition of the chain of office was passed down through the Middle Ages and coincided with the rise of the university system in Europe. Many of these European institutions of higher learning were branches of the church or connected to royal power, and soon the chain of office became a treasured part of university practice.

When American colleges and universities began to establish themselves in the 17th century, they adopted the same chain of office tradition from their European counterparts. Today, this custom is as strong as ever throughout the world.

Each chain of office is as unique as the institution it represents. In most designs, a prominent medallion or shield is suspended from a series of links. The central piece usually bears the institution’s official seal or logo, and it may be enhanced with enamel in the official colors of the school.

The links in each chain of office are also highly personal to the institution they represent. Often shaped to resemble specific school symbols, they can be engraved with meaningful words, mottos, or ideas. Some even record historical lineage by displaying the faces or names of past presidents. When a new president takes office, a link is added with the name of the predecessor.

Educational institutions can be very creative in how they design their links, from simple round shapes to more complex designs such as a book to symbolize learning or the decorative fleur-de-lis – an academic symbol with European roots from the medieval coat-of-arms tradition.

Chains of office are worn as part of the pomp and ceremony at official public celebrations of the college or university such as the inauguration of a new president and at commencement events. Along with the academic mace, the official chain of office is highly regarded as part of the enduring legacy and permanent symbology of the institution.

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Minted with Pride in the United States of America

Our craftspeople work with you on every detail to help you create a medal that is unique and special to your organization.

If you can imagine it, Medallic Art's artisans can create it.

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