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A Long History - Graf von Faber-Castell

Not too long ago, Faber-Castell were celebrating 260 years since their founding in Nuremberg by cabinet maker Caspar Faber. 'Many people don’t know this,' says Count Charles von Faber-Castell, 'but Faber-Castell has been around longer than the United States of America. Our company was actually founded before the enthronement of Catherine the Great and even before the invention of the steam engine. Therefore our company has been around during many monumental historical events – however we also have a rich history of our own.'

Graf von Faber-Castell is the luxury arm of Faber-Castell, in some cases making elaborate hand-crafted fountain pens in very limited editions; in others, making the most basic of items, like simple wooden pencils, but making them perfectly.

The company started out as a pencil manufacturer, and pencils remain a major part of their business, so much so that they have their own forest in Brazil, a third of which is home to hundreds of indigenous species with the rest providing 86% of the wood they need. When you're the producer of two billion pencils a year, you need your own personal forest!

One of the best known Graf von Faber-Castell products is the Perfect Pencil. It's a combined pencil extender, tip protector and sharpener, made with the finest of materials and craftsmanship.

Adds Count Charles: 'The Perfect Pencil is the centerpiece of our Graf von Faber-Castell Collection. This particular product was based around a pocket pencil that was created by my ancestors in the 19th century.'

They also produce their highly sought-after Pen of the Year - a very special edition each year, usually inspired by historical events or achievements, and made from rare materials by the very best artisans in their field. Previous editions have included the Aztecs, Knights and the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. Some editions from previous years are still available - if we list them, they should still be orderable, but just contact us if you'd like us to confirm stock is available in the UK before you order.

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Pelikan Edelstein Rose Quartz - Ink of the Year 2023

Edelstein, the German for 'gemstone', is a beautiful range of luxury fountain pen inks from Pelikan. The colours represent precious gems, and the inks are made to the highest standards, with special ingredients to care for your pen and improve your writing experience.

Each year, Pelikan produce a new colour, and this year's colour is Rose Quartz. It's a lovely soft pink shade, delicate and warm. The rose quartz gemstone can vary from a pale dusty pink to a more intense rose shade, and Pelikan have aimed for the middle shading, giving a pink that is intense enough to be easily read, while remaining gentle on the eyes.

Released in March 2023, Rose Quartz will be available for a limited time, and you can get it here.
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Sheaffer's History

For many of us who love fountain pens, the time from their invention through to the 1950s and 1960s was the most interesting. When a fountain pen was as close as most people got to a mobile phone or laptop, there was a lot of incentive for people to make them better. Most of the innovations in fountain pens happened in that period. Once the ballpoint became common, then those newfangled typewriters and computers came along, fountain pens settled into a comfortable niche - much-loved by some of us still, but not something *most* people were going to spend a lot of money on.
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Blackwing Pencils - When a Pencil is More than Just a Pencil

To most people, a pencil is just a pencil. A simple tool, and useful, certainly, but not very interesting. Probably something they think they’ve somehow grown out of. Children work for their ‘pen licence’ these days, so they’re finally allowed to stop using pencils. But are pencils so bad?
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Cult Pens Bangin' Christmas Crackers

What do you normally get in a Christmas cracker? A joke that either nobody gets or is stupidly funny ('What do you call an old snowman? Water'). A plastic frog or a miniature set of skittles. And a paper hat that never seems to fit anybody's head. You're either relying on your ears to stick out enough to prop it up, or tearing a discreet rip in the side to enable it to encompass your Christmas 'do.
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Bring new life to old photos with mt tape and Naomi Vona

Italian artist Naomi Vona calls herself an 'archival parasite, with no bad intentions'. Hmm... intriguing! A graduate of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, her many interests include photography, illustration and constructing collages, focusing on altering vintage and contemporary images to create a new interpretation. Naomi uses a wide variety of materials in her work, but one of her favourites is washi tape...
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Meet the Artist - Gav Bolt of High Boltage Customs

Gavin Bolt is the edgy genius behind one of our Penorama banners, which he created with his favourite marker - POSCA. He customises clothing, and you can see what he does here.
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70 Years of Midori

Midori - that manufacturer of superbly-made stationery - is 70 years old. Actually it's 72, having been established in Japan in 1950. But as you may have noticed, we've had some Strange Times these last couple of years, and Midori felt they couldn't give the celebrations the attention they deserved, so it's a little late. But better late than never. And belated birthdays are often a little more fun aren't they? More time to prepare, and all that.
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VENT for Change: Meet The Brand

The planet needs help, and so do many of the people on it. VENT for Change, a company based here in the South West in Bristol, is offering both. How? By creating fabulous 'upcycled' items of stationery and donating 10% of their net sales turnover to educational projects, that's how.
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Kaweco Revisited

Kaweco is one of those brands that was going strong - for a long time, actually, from 1883 - and then it wasn't. Its future wasn't too bright, but then fanatical pen collector and entrepreneur Michael Gutbertlet took over the Kaweco branding and brought it back to life. You can read a bit more about all that here - Meet the Brand - Kaweco.
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Platinum #3776 Bourgogne Review

Bourgogne, a region in France famous for its idyllic landscapes, stews and wine. So? How does this region have a relationship with the #3776? A good question and one I guess has more to do with the colour rather than its culinary delights.  Bourgogne translates to burgundy in English, which just so happens to share the same colour as the #3776 and the aforementioned wine. Having said that, Platinum also pays homage to a number of French regions, drinks and so forth with other pen models...
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What Do You Say In A Thank You Card? - Tree of Hearts

A guest blog from our friends at Tree of Hearts

'Dear Auntie Mabel, thank you for coming to our wedding. It was very kind and we liked your present. Lots of love.' NO! No, no, no! That's a thank you, to be sure, but it's a bit... well... uninspiring, to say the least and a bit of a [insert name here] sort of thing. Auntie Mabel may be a long distant relative who might not know you from a bar of soap, and she may have given you the sort of present that is likely to languish undisturbed in a dark corner of the understairs cupboard until your golden wedding anniversary, but she made the effort to celebrate your day. She deserves a little more thought when it comes to thanks, doesn't she?

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