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History Class: French Medals of Love

French medals of love, or the Augis medaille d'amour, have become highly collectible in the antique jewelry world. One reason is  because you can find them in such a wide variety of styles, but also simply because they are beautiful and often adorned with diamonds or other gemstones. But it's the quote, “plus qu’hier, moins que demain", that really draws people to them. This French phrase translates to “more than yesterday, less than tomorrow.”

The phrase was adapted from the couplet, "For, you see, each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.", part of a poem called “The Eternal Song” and written by Rosemonde Gérard. Although the poem was published in 1890, it was not until a Lyonnais jeweler, Alphonse Augis, had the idea of making it into a medallion in 1907 that it became well known.

 

Rosemonde Gérard

 

The medallions became quite popular, and led to the production of other, similarly decorated jewelry items, such as earrings and matchboxes; many older examples include Augis' name. A very common variation on the design presents the line with the words "plus" and "moins" replaced by the mathematical + and − signs, respectively. The mathematical signs are frequently rendered in tiny gemstones, often in contrasting colors and usually rubies and diamonds.

The tokens have remained popular and even been reproduced in the popular styles of the times. Sometimes we see also see Italian versions of these tokens, in which case the medal reads “pui di ieri, meno di domani”. 

The plain back of these tokens also make a great spot to engrave the name of your love!



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