Last year, the organization behind the Emmys gave the brand a facelift. But the Emmy statuette itself? Like the Oscar, it’s meant to be timeless. The manufacturing process is explained in this video posted by the Television Academy.
To construct the hundreds of statuettes of atom-hefting angels ahead of last night’s 2014 Emmy Awards, Chicago-based trophy makers R.S. Owens drew on the same process that has been used to create the award since 1948. R.S. Owens has manufactured the Emmy statuette for the past 38 years.
First, R.S. Owen’s metalworkers melt virgin metal in a 700-degree Fahrenheit furnace, then pour it into a mold. After roughly 30 seconds, the metal is solid enough to be removed from the mold. After the metal is removed, it’s polished to a glimmer, at which point the angel has its iconic Neutron Ball welded into its uplifted hands.
After that comes the electroplating process. First discovered as a way of treating metal against corrosion, it can also be used for decorative purposes. In the case of the Emmy, the statuette is coated with a series of alloys through electroplating–zinc, copper, nickel, and pure silver–before it is dipped in 24-karat gold, individually assembled, and put into a box.
Perhaps the most surprising detail of the process: Because no one knows who will win an Emmy before the envelop is read, the engraving department of R.S. Owens creates a placard for every single nominee, which is then slapped onto the finished Emmy award only if that person wins.