If you follow my Instagram @charliesvintagecharms you might notice a few of these lovely 18k disc charms popping up every now and again with a french phrase Qu’hier Que Demain on the front and some dazzling diamonds and rubies. The majority of Instagram jewel fiends will recognize what i'm referring to but for those of you that dont here's a photo of one I sold earlier this year.
I thought I would give you guys a bit of info on what exactly these charms are, why they are so special and who made them . I first saw these french beauties on the lovely ErinAntique’s Instagram (@erinantiques) where she collects an impressive array of gold french jewellery which is always up for grabs . They are pretty captivating these little discs, with their lush 18k color and sparkly jewels - also its french and I just think they do love tokens best (I dare you to disagree!). Anyway on to the history bit . So from reading around, doing a bit of digging with the antiques dealers I purchased them from and a general google, it turns out the french phrase on the front is actually in reference to a romantic love poem written by the french poet Louise-Rose-Etiennette Gerard, known as Rosemonde Gerard . She was also a playwright and there's a fabulous photo of her which you can look at here- exceptionally glam doesn't even begin to cover it. The poem goes by a few names; L'éternelle chanson, Les Vieux and published in 1890 after originally being written to her husband - swoon !
I wasn't too sure at first if the poem was already famous and the Qu’hier Que Demain médaille d’Amour was a nod to the fame of the poem, or if the poem enjoyed its recognition due to its incorporation into a french love token . It seem to be the case that once the lines of Rosemonde Gerard poem were used in the Medaille d’Amour it then shot to fame and became a widely celebrated expression of love .If you would like to read the poem in its entirety i've added a link in here, or i've selected a few of the relevant parts for you to enjoy :
….Mes souvenirs a moi seront aussi les tiens,
Ces communs souvenirs toujours plus nous enlacent
…Mais plus fort chaque jour je serrerai la main,
Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage :
Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain !
….My memories will be also yours,
These joint memories will always bind us more
….But every day I will hold your hand tighter
Because, you see, every day I love you more:
Today more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow!
It's the last few lines of the section posted above that i'm mostly interested in because these are in fact, what has been incorporated into the médaille d’Amour : Qu’hier Que Demain.
Fast forwards to 1907 (and remember up until this point Rosemonde Gerade’s love poem still was yet to be widely recognized) and a jeweler in Lyons named Alphonse Augis created a love medallion with the love poem tied in .
The Medaille d’Amour is interesting. It has become a sought after romantic and highly collectible piece of french jewellery. It almost a bit of a Rebus too with the ‘more than/less than’ portions of the phrase represented with symbols rather than words. The symbols come in the shapes of a plus and minus respectively, and you will often see the minus as baguette cut rubies with the plus featuring a rose cut diamond . But why is it so collectible ? I have read Diamonds in the Library’s take on this and find myself agreeing - we just can’t resist collecting all the variations and finding the rarest and true ‘jewel’ of the pack . I've only been lucky enough to have a few of these beauties in my collection but if you fancy a more extensive peak do go and check out the linked pages, instagrams and blogs at the bottom including Becky’s wonderful blog Diamonds in the library.
Do you admire and lust after these french love tokens too ? I would love to hear your thoughts !
Hope you enjoyed that brief jump in time .