As pens became items of luxury and status rather than mere utilitarian tools, gold was embraced by pen manufacturers such as Montblanc, Cross, and Parker looking for ways to show off their latest fountain pens and other writing instruments. Pure gold is too soft to stand up to the daily use of an avid letter writer or journalist, so gold is mixed with alloys to make it more durable. These alloys also give the gold different hues. For example, the recipe for yellow gold calls for 75 percent pure gold mixed with equal parts silver and copper. A redder gold can be achieved by upping the proportion of copper, while a white gold can be produced by substituting the silver and copper blend for either nickel or palladium.

Various types of plating techniques have made the metal more affordable for the masses. At the top of the plating pyramid is true gold-plate, which has a thickness of 2.54 microns. In contrast, pens described as being made using a process called gold flash can have as little as .05 microns of gold on their surfaces. Better are pens made of rolled gold or those described as being gold filled, which means a three-to-12-micron layer of 14- or 18-karat gold is bonded to a sheet of brass or some other harder metal.

As with sterling-silver pens, gold can be hammered from behind (repoussé) or above (chasing). It can also be engraved, pierced, or both. Piercing allows designers to create elaborate filigree effects, which are frequently set against black plastic barrels and caps so the gold paisleys, florals, and other motifs stand out.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Ernesto Soler's extensive homage to one of the most popular pens ever produced, the Parker "51," introduced in 1941… [read review or visit site]

Jim Mamoulides' vintage and modern pen-cyclopedia. Start at the main gallery, featuring detailed articles (with pho… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Large Swan 4460 Large 14ct Gold Flexi Nib Fountain Pen Serviced A BeautyMontblanc Meisterstruck 165 Solitaire Vermeil Fountain Pen Gold Over Sterling Vintage Eyedropper Pen ~ 1910s Night & Day Pearl Gold Overlay Aikin Lambert ~excVintage Eyedropper Pen ~ 1902 John Holland Taper Cap Gold Bands Rubber ~excPelikan M1000/1005 Fine Nib Only 18c 750 Gold Rhodium One Chick Replacement PartVintage 1880s Aikin Lambert Banded Agate & 14k Gold Dip Pen ~ ExceptionalVintage Eyedropper Pen ~ 1903 Paul Wirt Taper Cap Gold Band Hard Rubber ~ ExcVintage Montblanc Meisterstuck No 72 Fountain Pen - 18k Nib - Rolled Gold Cap- Vintage Montblanc 744 Fountain Pen 14c 585 Gold "m" Wing Nib -Pelikan Souverän M 800 Fountain Pen Green Striped/gold Plated Trim, 18 C NibVintage Eyedropper Pen ~ 1910s Night & Day Pearl Gold Overlay John Holland ~excPelikan 100 N, Gray, 14 Karat 585 Gold - Nib In Ob For Oblique BroadVintage 1947 Parker "51" Vacumatic Fountain Pen ~ Gold Filled Cap ~ Restored!Pelikan Toledo M900 18k Gold Sterling Silver Pristine Condition Pelikan M 400 "green Striated With 14 Carat 585 Gold Nib, M - Nib, Cartier Diabolo, Platinum-plated, Fluted Finish, 18k Gold Nib: M, Fountain PenVintage Eyedropper Pen ~ 1904 Art Nouveau Gold Overlay Pansy Aikin Lambert ~ ExcAntique Waterman's 52 Fountain Pen - Bhr -14k Gold Canada Ideal Nib - 140 MmMontblanc Meisterstruck 165 Solitaire Vermeil 0.7 Pencil Gold Over Sterling N/rCartier Ball Point Pen "panthère De Cartier" Gold Plated/blue LaqueredNew Montblanc Meisterstuck No. 149 14k Gold Fountain Pen 4810Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Black And Gold Ball Point PenVintage 1888 Mother-of-pearl & 14k Gold Dip Pen / Mech. Pencil Set In Box ~ Exc2013 Pelikan M800 Brown Tortoiseshell 18c 750 Gold Om Nib Special Edition Pen!Vintage Eyedropper Fountain Pen ~ 1910s Nouveau Gold Overlay Grieshaber 4 ~ Exc Wahl Eversharp Skyline Gold Filled Fountain Pen With 14k Nib - Montblanc 342 Fountain Pen 14c 585 Gold Nib "obb" -Vintage Wahl Pen Fountain Pen ~ 1920s Gold Seal Vest Pocket Blue Lapis ~ 14k ExcParker Duofold International 18ct Gold Nib, Fountain Pen 1996 ModelMontblanc Vintage Fountain Pen Meisterstuck No. 12 Black/gold Plated 18 K NibPelikan Piston Fountain Pen M 400 Black-green Gold Nib Size Obb W-germany 80'sNakaya Long Writer - Kuro-tamenuri - Gold Clip - 14k Broad NibMontblanc Meisterstruck 165 Solitaire Vermeil Ball Point Pen Gold Over SterlingEversharp Skyline 14k Gold Nib Fountain Pen Serviced Demi A BeautyEarly Pelikan M600 Ob Nib Only 18c 750 Gold Bicolor Two Chicks Replacement Part Vintage Wahl Eversharp Flat Top Gold Seal Fountain PenPelikan 100 N, Green, 14 Karat 585 Gold - Nib In B For BroadNew! Pilot Namiki Custom Ichii Wood Fountain Pen - 18k Gold Medium NibMontblanc MeisterstÜck 146 (le Grand) Black/gold Fountain Pen Broad Nib- Montblanc 342 Fountain Pen 14c 585 Gold Nib "ob" -Vintage Parker 75 Fountain Pen Sterling Silver Body 14k GoldVintage Parker Fountain Pen ~ 1930 Oversize Duofold Sr ~ Black & Gold ~ 14k ExcAntique Waterman's Fountain Pen 52 Red Ripple 14k Gold Fine Full Flex - 130 MmEversharp Skyline 1940s, Blue W/gold Ribbed Cap, Vermeil Trim, Flex NibMontblanc Meisterstuck No.149 Large Fountain Pen 18k Gold Nib, Rare W. GermanyMontblanc Meisterstuck Le Grand Black Resin & Gold 162 Rollerball PenWaterman 12, Nice Flex Nib, Solid Gold Bands, Fountain PenExstra Rare Montblanc Burgundy Bordeaux Vermeil Gold 144 Fountain Pen-never UsedMontblanc Meisterstuck Le Grand 147 Traveler Fountain Pen 14k Gold NibOriginal Montblanc 4810 14 Karat GoldVintage Pelikan Piston Fountain Pen 400 Brown-tortoise Gold Nib F Germany 50's Montblanc Meisterstuck 90 Years Red Gold Plated 149 Fountain Pen #111062 - NewPelikan M600 M Nib Only 14c 585 Gold Bicolor One Chick Replacement Part Vintage W.a. Sheaffer Fountain Pen With 14k Gold Band And Clip Montblanc Bohème Rouge Fountain Pen Black/gold Plated Trim Retractable Nib 14kMontblanc Meisterstuck 149 Germany 18c Gold 750 4810 Nib Fountain PenMontblanc Meisterstuck 164 Black Gold Ballpoint Pen W. Germany Clean W/box Nr!Cartier Vintage Must De Gold-cased Ballpoint Pen W Trinity Tri-colored Bands Conway Stewart 388 14 Ct Gold Nib Fountain Pen Serviced A Beauty- Montblanc 22 Fountain Pen 585 Gold Nib "om" Piston System -