If you’re a part of the antique jewelry Instagram community in any way, you’ve already seen an Augis medaille d’amour.
They’re graphic and memorable, with their rich yellow gold and gemstone and/or diamond embellishments. They’re also highly collectible, as an appealing piece of jewelry that exists in countless slightly different variations of a similar motif. (Image source.)
Some of you may already know what the Augis medaille d’amour’s symbols mean, but do you know the history of the quote?
The Augis medaille d’amour reads “plus qu’hier, moins que demain.” This French phrase translates to “more than yesterday, less than tomorrow.” (Image source.) The phrase is a reference to a 19th century love poem that French poet and playwright Rosemonde Gérard wrote to her husband, Edmond Rostand:
Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage,
Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.
(For, you see, each day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.)”
(Fun fact: Rosemonde Gérard’s husband, Edmund, is the author of Cyrano de Bergerac).
In 1907, Alphonse Augis, a jeweler in Lyons, was inspired to take this line of the poem and create his signature Médaille d’Amour.
The design varies but generally features the quote from the poem with the “more than” and “less than” represented by a plus and minus sign, often embellished with gems, traditionally rubies. (Image source.)
This photo from Metier SF shows a variety of Augis medaille d’amour designs.
I think part of the reason these charms are so collectible is that we jewelry lovers can’t resist the idea of something that is generally standardized but comes in some unique variations. We love trying to find the most special one of something, or to collect similar but different versions of a thing. My budget is the only reason I don’t own every charm in this post.
This incredible piece is a charm necklace featuring seven(!!) individual Augis charms. This beauty was sold by Robin Katz vintage through 1stdibs, and I’ve had it bookmarked forever because #collectiongoals.
You’ll notice some variation in the charms on this necklace: each of these are what I’d consider an exceptional example, with extra embellishment from what I think of as the base model Augis (the gold circle with a few rubies and maybe a diamond).
This exceptional beauty is available from Fox and Bond. I love this variation, with the richly embellished gold edge. It feels so luxe.
As a writer married to an economist, the idea of a love poem coded into mathematical symbols feels especially appropriate for my own love story…which is why I added an Augis charm to my own jewelry collection recently.
Mine (above) is itty bitty, but still attracts attention whenever I wear it.
A truly unusual, exceptionally beautiful sapphire example from the personal collection of Angela (aka Gemstone Gypsy).
This trio of love charms is from The Eden Collective. Two are Augis charms – one quite unusual – and the third is a totally unrelated but super cool other charm.
Two of my favorite variations: extra gemstones or extra embellishment. The left is from Metier SF, the right is from Erin Antiques.
Both Erin Antique and Metier SF have a special knack for finding these beauties. My own is from Erin Antiques. I bought it from my phone, while stuck in traffic (I wasn’t driving). That’s how quickly these are snapped up once they’re posted on Instagram.
These are from Elizabeth’s Bespoke Treasures, another dealer who has the gift for tracking down these babies.
If you look closely at most of these these, you can see the maker’s marks: “A. Augis.” If you see one of these beauties out in the world, check to see if you can find a maker’s mark for Augis – they’re often on the front like these are, near the raised edge of the circle.
This one, from Samantha Knight, has been converted into a ring! Pretty awesome.
While Augis charms are a familiar kind of piece, they’re not especially ubiquitous in the market: if you look at a lot of antique jewelry you’ll see one every once in a while, but Instagram’s love for them is keeping prices high right now.
An ad for Augis medaille d’amour from a periodical published in 1950.
If you find an Augis charm – especially an unusual one – at a good price, definitely snap it up. I found very few for sale online: a couple with dealers I know, and a few on French eBay. I’ve been rounding up pictures for a while so that I’d have a nice variety to show you.
Here’s a slideshow of alllll of the photos I found. Click to enlarge and for image credit. Warning: it’s going to make you wanna catch ’em all.
To feed my obsession, I’ve created a Pinterest board dedicated to the many forms of the Augis medaille d’amour. It’s still under construction, but you can follow along here.
Debra Anne Diana says
I recently acquired a small charm on a very plain piece of gold. The otherr charms are a riny railroad car/trolley and a sand dollar. I don’t lnow what the connection is.
Oh I bet it’s lovely! One of my favorite things about charms is wondering the stories behind them.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
Wow this is a great collection and article on MY FAV charms! So happy to have found you!
Aw yay I’m so happy you found me too!! I love these and I’m so glad you enjoy them too.
Arlene Gomez says
Exquisitely divine all of them
I’m so glad you love them too!
You can find a selection of these medals on my website dedicated to showing all French traditional and regional jewellery. I’ve come across many hundreds of these medals over the years and though I used to melt them twenty years ago due to lack of interest, today there is a waiting list for them in my shop! There is nothing for sale on this website, it’s purely to share my passion.
Soraia Peruzzi says
Ciao, purtroppo io avevo un cimelio di famiglia così ma è andato perduto per sempre e sto cercando qualcuno che li vende, mi sapresti consigliare dove posso trovarlo? Grazie infinite
I never knew these charms were a “thing”! I’ve seen them before, over the years, here and there, but had no idea! Very sweet. My husband needs to buy one for me, lol! DH is a financial analyst and not the type to gift me with jewelry so much, but hope springs eternal.
I like how you wear your medaille with your locket (is that a locket?); they’re just perfect together.
Aren’t they great?? And thank you – I love that locket paired with my medaille, too. They’re so colorful in different ways, I love the contrast.
If your DH ever needs jewelry guidance, tell him to email me! I just bought mine for myself and told my husband that it was because it made me think of him 😉
I’m going to use your line with my husband, if that’s okay with you, lol! We’ve been married for over thirty years. He really doesn’t get it, and won’t at this point. I’ve been indoctrinating our teenage son for years now about the importance of jewelry for the wife, lol! I know it’s working – he was so excited about ordering his class ring, even I was surprised.
I have several little pendants, charms, etc. collected over my “jewelry lifetime”, from since I was a kid. They’re a mix of all kinds of things, some costume, some sterling, and I’m very fond of all of them. They hold special memories. I’m thinking of putting a large push-ring clasp (the kind that pushes open inward), or a clasp like yours, on one of my substantial chains, and maybe on one of my 18″ freshwater pearl strands. This way I can wear them, take them on and off, move them around, etc. The neck chain and pearl strand have toggle clasps, so this wouldn’t be hard to do. Hmmm… Another jewelry project!
I love the idea of your jewelry project! You might also consider a Marla Aaron lock (that’s what I’m using here): they’re amazing for charms. I featured them once: http://diamondsinthelibrary.com/strength-love-and-hardware-the-marla-aaron-lock/.
And please do use my line – it’s a good one! And it’s even true: wearing it makes me think of him, even though he didn’t buy it for me.
Yes, I’ll definitely look at Marla Aaron’s locks – I remember when you did a post on them. I should get one of those. They can be added to just about anything that has a link or jump ring.
J’Adore! The diversity is amazing and I love sentimental tokens. 🙂
I’m glad you love them too! I really do want them all.
I have a very good condition le bourguignon lyon