Friday, December 28, 2012
Handwritten mail delivers more cheer than an electronic exchange, according to a recent study. And it also can lesson the emotional load of unknown or frightening circumstances. In a study of 193 soldiers recently returned from deployment, those who received letters from family and friends had fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress than those who had communicated through email, instant messaging and video chat. "These days, letters are relatively rare, so writing and sending one is a sign of commitment," says coauthor of the study Howard Markman, Ph.D., University of Denver. In addition, since letters may be re-read, they may help a person feel connected to loved ones when lonely or in need of support. So keep writing.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Based on the Conway Stewart Belliver, the Poinsettia Special Edition of fifty pens features a mix of deep burgundy, brick red and black veins splashed with traces of iridescent green. Set off with gold trim, the colors of the Poinsettia Special Edition conjure the holidays, making it the perfect pen for those last-minute cards or as a gift. It is available as a fountain pen or rollerball; the cartridge- or converter-filled fountain pen has an 18-karat nib in extra fine, fine, medium, broad, extra broad, italic fine, italic medium and italic broad. The fountain pen is priced at $490 and the rollerball at $460.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Looking for a great and luxurious way to store your pens? Style of Wood might just have the answer. These lovely pen boxes are made in Italy, as are the brand's desk accessories, watch boxes and watch winders. The marquetry box shown here is just a small sampling of the available designs, which include interesting colors and finishes.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Now you can express your love of pens with quotes on embroidered shirts or etched mugs from Ask Woosters. Twill or denim shirts have detailed embroidery on the front, and the mugs are deeply etched in glazed ceramic. These shirts are perfect business casual or weekend wear. The mugs are oversized, and make great desk accessories, as well as wonderful way to enjoy your favorite beverage. Mugs are $11; shirts are $49.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
New from Caran d'Ache for the holiday season, the Coffret Ecridor District comes in its own gift box, ready for giving. Produced in the Geneva workshops of Caran d'Ache, the lovely diamond-cut guilloche allows light to play off the pen, giving it a dazzling palladium finish. The ballpoint has a retro-style clip and push-button action and is fit with the famous Caran d'Ache Goliath ink cartridge; it comes with a 50-page leather notepad. The Ecridor District box is produced in a limited edition for the Christmas and New Year season, available in select shops and department stores priced at $155.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Italy-based Montegrappa is celebrating its 100th anniversary in a big way. And since it coincided with the Year of the Dragon, they pulled out all the stops to created a truly outrageously beautiful collection of dragon pens, the complete set of which will only set you back $1.5 million.
The Centennial Dragon series comprises these limited edition pens:
-33 fountain pens in rose gold with black and white diamonds, numbered 1/100 to 33/100
-33 fountain pens in yellow gold with emeralds and white diamonds, numbered 34/100 to 66/100
-33 fountain pens in white gold with blue sapphires and white diamonds, numbered from 67/100 to 99/100.
The pen numbered 100/100 is a special one-of-a-kind piece (pictured) priced at $850,000. This Ultimate Centennial Dragon, as it is called, is crafted from 18-karat solid gold and features baguette-cut diamonds totaling 20.70 carats and brilliant-cut diamonds totaling over 3.5 carats, as well as colored diamonds totaling 14.0 carats. You'll also find some rubies and pearls if you look not too closely. The other versions range in price from $210,000 to $220,000.
These works of art are an apt celebration of a company that has stood the test of time, though not without challenges. I wish it at least another 100 years.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Fahrney's recently published my essay in one of their holiday newsletters...I thought you might enjoy it, too.
One-Stop Holiday Shopping
What’s compact in size, but big in impact…. reasonable in price, with a luxury look? A pen, of course. Even with the proliferation of today’s virtually instantaneous methods of communication, fine pens have lost none of their luster as writing implements and fashion accessories. And where else can you find a gift that is perfect for both genders and comes practically already gift-wrapped? If that isn’t enough to encourage you to head to your nearest pen shop, consider that a pen is an appropriate gift for a male or a female, comes in a broad range of prices and requires little-to-no sizing. Also, it can be a very personal gift or not, depending on your choice of pen, making it a welcome surprise for either a loved one or a colleague. Sounds like one-stop holiday shopping to me.
So where do you begin? First, decide on an appropriate pen retailer and a general price range. There are wonderful pens in the $100-and-under category and truly fabulous pens if you wish to spend more. But quality should be your first priority. A pen should feel solid in your hand with no wiggly parts, ill-fitting caps or uneven plating. More expensive fountain pens will usually have18-karat gold fountain pen nibs, more luxurious production materials, and perhaps even enhanced collectibility. But a well-crafted steel-nibbed resin pen can be just as enjoyable as its higher-priced counterpart.
Next consider the style, mode, and how the pen will probably be used. There are so many shapes, sizes and hues from which to choose these days that there truly is “something for everyone.” Bigger and heavier pens are more appropriate for a larger hand. A smaller pen might be best for pocket or purse, as opposed to a signature pen that stays on one’s desk. Thematic limited editions or a particular brand might be just the ticket for a giftee with special interests. I am particularly drawn to fountain pens, but rollerball pens, ballpoints and even pencils make great gifts, too. And for as many conservative black and silver pens as there are out there, there are at least as many bright and wildly patterned ones for the more colorful personalities in your life. Finally, hold the pen and try it out if you can. If it feels comfortable and writes smoothly, it will perform well for the lucky recipient.
No doubt you’ll have questions about your new soon-to-be acquisition, and most pen retailers employ knowledgeable salespersons. So ask as many questions as you’d like, including: What type of warranty does the manufacturer/store provide? What is the store’s return policy? What type of refills and inks are appropriate? Can the fountain pen nib be exchanged for a different size?