Initials, monograms, messages and inscriptions on jewelry can all be considered ciphers. These can be intricate designs involving letters and symbols are carved, enameled or applied to jewelry. Alternatively, a jewelry piece may be composed entirely of the cipher. Watches, lockets, brooches charms, compacts, cigarette boxes, lighters and other accessoire often feature a cipher either within the design proper or on the reverse or inside. Popular in memento mori jewelry, they were often woven in gold wire and capped with a crystal or gemstone. Signet rings from all time periods and cultures usually feature a prominent cipher. Retro examples can be found in Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin "Reflections" jewelry where the entire design is composed of stylized initials.

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Antique Diamond Cipher Brooch - L.A.
Photo Courtesy of Lang Antiques.