Wednesday, July 10, 2013
A Love Letter to the Bamboo Pen
While I was getting myself together the other morning, I was ruminating about bamboo-motif pens. (Why, I haven't a clue.) Not only do these pens have a very appealing Chinoiserie sensibility, but they also are ergonomically friendly. Those knotty bamboo stalks seem made to be held firmly yet comfortably in one's hand. What a happy coincidence that such pens look good and feel good, too.
Bamboo-motif pens have long been staples on stylishly appointed desks, and most of the major luxury purveyors have at one time or another sold sublime-looking bamboo pens. Cartier produced luxe fountain and ballpoint pens made of real bamboo and gold, while Tiffany & Co. was known for its classic sterling silver ballpoint version. Both Verdura and Harry Winston made sleek gold examples that might possibly have made signing documents a dream. And let's not forget how popular those imitation bamboo ballpoint pens were a few years ago, although I would argue that their popularity will never really wane. The bamboo motif is eternally chic.
But my favorite pen of this genre is not technically a replica of bamboo, though in a way it does resemble it: Jean Schlumberger's gemstone-studded pen that looks like a cross between a worn bamboo stalk and a studded piece of coral. Some of the versions that I have seen include a gold shaft with hematite, coral, or turquoise studs, while the more exotic rendition incorporated ivory and coral or turquoise studs. (I doubt that the ivory version is still made.)
As efficient as typing is, such luxurious pens make me pine for the days when people actually communicated through handwritten notes and letters, usually penned in cursive, too!
Photo at top: A vignette from the catalogue of the 2008 Christie's auction that featured the estate of the Monseigneur le Comte de Paris and Madame la Comtesse de Paris. You can see a Cartier bamboo and gold ballpoint pen in the photo.
A vintage gold bamboo pen by Harry Winston
Two examples of the Schlumberger ivory writing implements, one with gold studs and the other with coral.
A gold and hematite pen by Schlumberger