The Emirates FA Cup enjoys a mythical status in the sporting world as the world’s oldest cup competition, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2022. Handcrafted in 2014, the current trophy produced by Thomas Lyte is only the third version of the iconic sterling silver cup since 1911.
Thomas Lyte are incredibly proud to be the Official Trophy Supplier to The FA and the exclusive makers of the Emirates FA Cup trophy, one of the most instantly recognisable and prestigious trophies in global sport. Commissioned in 2013, we handcrafted the current trophy in time for the 2014 final, a classic between Arsenal and Hull City.
A Royal Warrant holder as silversmiths and goldsmiths to Her Majesty the Queen, Thomas Lyte are world-renowned custom trophy designers and makers, and the Emirates FA Cup trophy exemplifies our meticulous eye for detail and our ability to fuse traditional craftsmanship with modern methods.
Making one of sport’s greatest pieces of silverware is never an easy task, but our team of master craftspeople at our London-based silver workshops utilised all their experience and expertise to produce a trophy that will stand the test of time.
The FA Cup spends much more time outside of the trophy cabinet than the original 1911 trophy, with regular public and media appearances. For modern-day sports trophies wear and tear is unavoidable, so Thomas Lyte re-designed the trophy to be thicker to ensure that it is more robust and easier to repair when the inevitable happens.
The 2014 version of the FA Cup, weighing 6.3kg, is based on the design of the first trophy, awarded to Bradford City after their replay win over Newcastle United in 1911. Time moves on but many of the original silversmithing skills incorporated in the trophy’s earliest version were still very much in evidence as the new trophy came to life in our London workshops. The process of hand-spinning, hand-chasing, polishing and hand-engraving, crafting skills that take decades to master, were all utilised during the production of this modern classic.
Standing at 61.5cm and hand-spun from single sheet of sterling silver, the iconic grapes and vines, and fluting of the trophy were delicately hammered into the precious metal using a process called “hand-chasing”, a traditional skill dating back thousands of years that Thomas Lyte are passionate about preserving and harnessing in our modern day commissions.
The inside of this bespoke sports trophy, locked away under its magnificent lid, is exquisitely gold-plated. Using a chemical reaction called electroplating, Thomas Lyte immersed the trophy into a large tank of a gold plating solution, and given a negative charge which attracts the positively-charged gold ions to sit on the surface of the sterling silver.
Both the full name of the trophy – The Football Association Challenge Cup – and each winning team’s name is engraved onto the trophy by hand. The original plinth band on the base was transferred to the new trophy, ensuring that the echoes of cup finals past still form part of the trophy’s magical allure.
Quality control, a cornerstone of Thomas Lyte’s brand values, plays an essential part in maintaining this stunning custom-made trophy. Much like the first time the new trophy left the Thomas Lyte workshops, each time it’s returned to us, the Emirates FA Cup goes through a rigorous set of sign-offs to ensure that when it’s ready to be handed over again, it’s looking at its absolute best.
Thomas Lyte, after whom the company is named, is also inextricably linked with the competition, with Henry Francis Lyte, the composer of Abide With Me in 1847, being a direct descendent of our namesake. The famous hymn has been sung at the FA Cup final since 1927, picked as a favourite of King George V.
There were two previous trophies before the current design was introduced in 1911. The first cup was actually stolen from a Birmingham shop window in 1895, costing Aston Villa – the then holders – £25 to ensure a replica could be made in time for the next final.
No club competition can match the magic of the competition. Whether it’s a giant-killing involving a non-league club in the third round proper, or unmatched drama in the great finals of days-gone-by, the FA Cup has it all.
To play at Wembley – first home to the twin towers and now the Arch which is firmly established as a London landmark – and have the chance to compete for the Emirates FA Cup trophy is something that every young footballer dreams of. Few will get the chance to actually lift the trophy, but those who do will never forget the experience.
In addition to making the Emirates FA Cup, Thomas Lyte also designed and made the Women’s FA Cup trophy, and design and supply the winner’s and runner up medals for both competitions. Other FA commissions we regularly work on include the FA Community Shield trophy and medals, the FA Youth Cup trophy and repairing or restoring many of The FA’s other pieces, including the Women’s Super League trophy.
Our team make the conceivable possible, while preserving traditional skills, pioneering modern methods, and promoting authentic British craft across the globe. Combining the latest technologies with centuries of knowledge, Thomas Lyte’s silver workshops in London, England house world-class facilities for an elite team of designers and makers, masters of their craft. Learn about 3D printing, electroforming and other new technologies that our team have introduced to our sustainable handcrafting process.
Materials. Sterling Silver + 24 Carat Gold Plate
Workshop Processes. Spinning, Casting, Filing, Sanding, Chasing, Polishing, Plating, and Hand-Engraving
Thomas Lyte are proud to be the Official Trophy Supplier to The FA and the exclusive makers of the Emirates FA Cup trophy.
Take a glance at these fast facts about one of the world’s most iconic sporting trophies.