Cipher Monday



Victorian English Engraved Sterling Silver Cufflinks by Charles Horner (LEO Design)


Despite my chosen profession as a merchant, I think that there are far too many "selling holidays" on the American calendar.  So, today, instead of celebrating "Cyber Monday," let's celebrate "Cipher Monday."

A "cipher" has (at least) four varying definitions.  First, it can be a monogram—an artful construction of interwoven letters—such as one used by royalty or aristocrats.  Second, it can be a secret code used to translate a message so that it remains unreadable (except to those who can "decipher" it).  Third, a cipher can be the diamond-shaped impression used on British antique ceramics or metal goods to indicate the piece's patent information.  And, fourth, a "cipher" is a person of no importance or consequence.

The Victorian sterling silver cufflinks, shown above, were made by the noted Art Nouveau jeweler Charles Horner (certainly important).  The top half of the cufflink enjoys flamboyant, scrolling botanical engraving.  The bottom half is marked with a cipher (in the sense of the first definition).  It is also a bit complicated to read; is it CAD, DAC, ACD, CDA, ADC, or DCA?  (This gives it a bit of the "secret code" element of "cipher's" second definition.)

Regardless of the monogram, this is a handsome pair of cufflinks made by an important British jeweler.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.  And all good wishes for a Happy (?) Cyber Monday.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248