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The Story Behind the “Love Pendant” Meghan Markle Has Been Wearing from Designer Sophie Lis

The pendant was inspired by a 1907 piece by Lyonnais designer Alphonse Augis.

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Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle – Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

THERE HAS been much hype around the Sophie Lis “Love Pendant” that Meghan Markle wore to the Invictus Games, which she was first spotted wearing around her neck in March 2020 during a trip to London’s National Theatre to raise funds for the Wild at Heart Foundation, a global dog rescue. Lis donated $12,000 of the proceeds after selling out of hundreds of the pendant after the Duchess was seen in it back then. Markle was photographed in it again at another event, yet it wasn’t until the recent trip to the Invictus Games that the pendant was widely publicized. There is a lot of history behind the “Love Pendant” that Notting Hill-based Lis has translated into 22K vermeil (gold plated silver) with a diamond halo. It is inspired by a famous pendant and a legendary poem.

To discuss the version that Markle wore, we need to go back to the design of the original pendant, which dates to 1907 and is a rebus, meaning a puzzle with words or letters and motifs that create the meaning of an ornamental piece. In this case, “Qu’heir” beneath a diamond plus sign is followed by a ruby diamond minus sign and “Que Demain.” The Lis interpretation incorporates the same with a modern polish to the design.

Pendants in Dish

Two signed A. Augis pendants and one Art Nouveau unsigned pendant attributed to Augis.

In English, the diamond plus sign translates into “more” and the inscription reads “than today” while the ruby minus sign signifies less, with the words “than tomorrow.” This quote is taken from a much longer 1890 work by French poet Rosemonde Gérard entitled (in English) “The Eternal Song.” She wrote it for her husband, Edmond Rostand, who penned Cyrano de Bergerac. The stanza from which this part of the poem is translated reads: “Vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage /Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.” In English, it means: “You see, every day I love you more today, more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow.”

A little history: The original pendant was created in 1907 by Lyonias designer Alphonse Augis, who was inspired by the Gérard poem and created what was called the the “Medaille d’Amour,” which transformed the entire verse into the symbols + Qu’heir (than yesterday) and – Que Demain (than tomorrow). You will traditionally see the plus sign with diamonds and the minus sign with rubies. However, the house of Augis, founded in 1830, continued to create the iconic “love medals” for years to come and innovated variations such as braided texture, polished or gemstone surrounds, heart shaped medallions, rectangular forms and a host of other designs. I have three: one with a woven braided texture, one that is an Art Nouveau design with a pansy in the center, and one that has more of the original verse on the front (all pictured). Two of mine are signed A. Augis, as was the case with many of the pendants. They were supposedly produced well into the 20th century. And it seems that during the Art Deco period, the pendant inspired a few renowned houses to create customized versions, but they are few and far between.

Pendant on white background Sophie Lis

Sophie Lis pendant

The “Love Pendant” that the Duchess wears is on the Sophie Lis website, where it is described as “a symbol of ever-growing love.” For those who prefer modern designed pieces that are affordable, give a nod to the past and continue to support the Wild at Heart Foundation, this is an accessible alternative to the antique/vintage pendants. (That said, on the website it is listed as “available on pre order,” with delivery in six weeks.)

By wearing this pendant on several occasions, Markle has helped with a charitable cause that is dear to her heart. It is also the type of sentimental or symbolic jewelry to which the Duchess seems to be drawn.

For those who don’t know the poem in its entirety, I posted it twice on Instagram in its English translation with different variations of the Augis pendant because it is a truly beautiful, romantic and intimately emotional poem.

Here it is for anyone who wants to read it:

When you are old and I am old,
When my blond hair will be white hair,
In the brightening sun of the May garden,
We’ll go and warm our old trembling limbs.
As renewal sets our hearts in joy,
We will still believe to be young lovers,
And I’ll smile at you while shaking my head,
And we’ll be an adorable old couple.
We’ll look at each other, sitting under our vine,
With small eyes, tender and bright,
When you are old and I am old,
When my blond hair will be white hair.

On our friendly bench, all greenish with moss,
On the bench of old, we’ll talk again,
We will have a tender and very sweet joy,
Each sentence always ending in a kiss.
How many times may I have said “I love you”?
Then with great care we will recount them.
We will remember a thousand things, even
Exquisite little nothings we will ramble on.
A ray will descend, with a soft caress,
Among our white hair, all pink, to rest,
When on our old bench all greenish with moss,
On the bench of old, we’ll talk again.

And as every day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow,
What will facial wrinkles matter then?
My love will be more thoughtful—and serene.
Considering that everyday memories are piling up,
These memories of mine will be yours too.
Those common memories entwine us all the more
And constantly between us weave other links.
It’s true, we’ll be old, very old, weakened by age,
But stronger each day I will squeeze your hand
For you see, every day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow.

And of this dear love that passes like a dream,
I want to keep everything at the bottom of my heart,
To remember if I can the too short impression
To slowly savor it again later.
I bury everything that comes from it like a miser,
Hoarding with ardor for my old age;
I will be rich then of a rare wealth
For I’ll have kept all the gold of my young love!
So from this ending past of happiness,
My memory will sometimes bring back the sweetness;
And all this dear love that passes like a dream
I will have it preserved at the bottom of my heart.

When you are old and I am old,
When my blond hair will be white hair,
In the brightening sun of the May garden,
We’ll go and warm our old trembling limbs.
As renewal sets our hearts in joy,
We will still believe in the happy days of yesteryear,
And I’ll smile at you while shaking my head
And you will quaver love words to me.
We’ll look at each other, sitting under our vine,
With small eyes, tender and bright,
When you are old and I am old,
When my blond hair will be white hair.

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Beth Bernstein is a published author of three books and jewelry and fashion expert with 18+ years experience. A broad knowledge of the history of jewelry and fashion coupled with a background in "the story", writing, trends, design concepts has earned Beth a proven track record.

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