How much would you be willing to spend on a fountain pen?
$100? $1,000? $1 million?
Sure, many writers are willing to put a fair amount of money into a quality fountain pen. But the items on this list are some of the costliest pens in the world. You won’t want to use these for the daily to-do list or casual journal entry. Combining the work of first-class jewelers and expert artisans, these magnificent fountain pens are above and beyond anything you’ll find on the market today.
Here is our list of the costliest pens in the world:
10. Montblanc Bohème Fountain Pen (Papillion Limited Edition)
From the renown Montblanc company comes the exquisitely crafted Bohème Papillion fountain pen. When this limited edition pen made its debut in 2008, only six were created in total: two white gold, two yellow gold, and two rose gold.
Each gold color was designed in one of two sets: with Wesselton quality diamonds or deep azure sapphires. (Wesselton quality is now known as “H” on the GIA Colored Diamond Color Grading System. These white diamonds are nearly colorless, which is the mark of high-quality gems.) The first set totals 0.21 carats, decorated with 1,402 diamonds in Wesselton quality and accompanied by 37 sapphires. The second set is adorned with 840 diamonds and complemented with an astonishing 591 sapphires.
The Bohème Papillion draws inspiration from the butterfly - one of nature’s most graceful and admired creations. On the body of this pen, delicate butterflies interlace with plant tendrils, reaching into the internal spring mechanism. They also form the cap and open-bodied barrel. A star-shaped Montblanc diamond crowns the cap - a brilliant finishing touch to this majestic fountain pen.
With a 18k gold nib with a platinum inlay, the Bohème Papillion embodies luxury from top to tip. The nib is engraved with the Montblanc insignia, as well as the numeral 4810 - referencing the 4,810m height of the highest mountain in the Alps, Mont Blanc.
The value of this pen is worth more than the average American home ($188,900). And yet, it still ranks at the bottom of our list as the least expensive pen in the world. The price tag only goes up from here.
9. Prince Rainier III Limited Edition 81 Fountain Pen
Montblanc appears on our list again for its tribute to Prince Rainier, the former leader of Monaco. One of the longest ruling monarchs in European history, the prince governed the sovereign city-state from 1949 until his death in 2005. Most notably, he was married to famed American actress Grace Kelly. The royal Prince Rainier III Limited Edition 81 fountain pen was created in 2007 to honor his 56 years on the throne.
This stately pen proudly displays 996 diamonds, accented with 96 precisely laid rubies - 19 rubies on the clip ring and 20 on the cap alone! Even the 18k gold nib is finished with 2 rubies. The barrel features a hollowed diamond-shaped tessellation formed from 18k white gold and revealing an exposed interior. The precious gems and rhombic pattern resemble the patterned shield on the prince’s coat of arms. Only 81 units of this model were made, in remembrance of the prince’s age when he passed away.
The Prince Rainier III Limited Edition 81 fountain pen retails for 200,000 euros ($230,777 US dollars). Despite the steep price tag, some of the funds went to a charitable cause. Half of the total sale for this pen was donated to La Fondation Princesse Grace. This Monacan organization provides aid to hospitalized children as well as student scholarships in theater, dance, and film.
8. La Modernista Diamonds Fountain Pen
Geneva-based writing instrument manufacturer Caran d’Ache certainly grabbed international headlines in 2001. Their La Modernista Diamonds fountain pen was sold for a stunning $265,000 by Harrods of London. It claimed the spot as the “Most Expensive Pen” in the Guinness Book of World Records that year.
Released in 1999, this fountain pen memorialized Catalan modernist architect Antoni Gaudí i Cornet. Best known for his work on the Barcelona church, Sagrada Familia, Gaudi often integrated his architecture with nature and crafts such as ceramics and stained glass. Master jeweler Robert Perron spent six months crafting this one-of-a-kind fountain pen. Because of the tremendous effort and time put into creating this piece, only one La Modernista Diamonds pen was ever made.
The body of the La Modernista Diamonds fountain pen forms a hexagonal shape, with six faces molded from solid silver in rhodium. An astounding 5,072 Wesselton diamonds (weighing 20 carats) provide mesmerizing sparkle to the barrel and cap. The finial of the cap is encrusted with 96 rubies (weighing 32 carats) in the encircled letters C, d, and A, marking the piece as a Caran d’Ache. At the other end of the La Modernista Diamonds fountain pen, an 18k gold nib is coated in rhodium to match the baronial look. As a final touch, the pen clip is an elegant swirled, conch shell shape - the perfect way to combine nature and craftsmanship, a lasting tribute to Gaudí.
7. Caran d’Ache Gothica Fountain Pen
The next pen on our list has a number of similarities to the La Modernista Diamonds: inspired by architecture, hexagonal shapes, and created by Caran d’Ache.
Like the La Modernista Diamonds, the Gothica is composed of a hexagon-shaped solid rhodium-coated silver body. However, unlike the Modernist theme of the La Modernista Diamonds, this pen’s motif celebrates Gothic art and architecture. Each of the six faces resemble the pointed, ogival arches characterized from this style. Windows of blue ombre are interrupted with an alternating pattern of prismatic fleur-de-lis and rosettes - elements common in Gothic architecture. The symbols are accompanied by 72 rubies and 72 emeralds to enhance the brilliant colors in the design. To intensify the extravagance of this fountain pen, 892 diamonds are encrusted into the cap and barrel, weighing a total of 7.1 carats.
When first unveiled in China in 2006, only 1,140 pieces were made of the Caran d’Ache Gothica fountain pen. Shortly after its release, an anonymous buyer purchased one for 3.28 million Chinese yuan - $487,000 US dollars today.
6. Mystery Masterpiece Pen
Creating the Mystery Masterpiece fountain pen was a collaboration of epic and luxurious proportions. Commemorating their centennial year in business, renowned German luxury pen brand Montblanc united with Van Cleef & Arpels (makers of opulent French jewelry and watches) to celebrate this exalted milestone. After a year and half of efforts from designers, jewelers, and artisans, the Mystery Masterpiece fountain pen was revealed on February 8, 2007. It was the most expensive writing instrument in the world at the time.
Only nine Mystery Masterpiece fountain pens were made for this limited edition release. All three variations featured more than 800 brilliant diamond accents, weighing 30 carats. These gems were perfectly matched with either rubies, sapphires, or emeralds encrusted along the body and cap. The 18k gold nib was crafted by Montblanc specifically for this pen.
The Mystery Masterpiece is a true coalescence, seamlessly mixing signature features of both companies. White gold forms the body, with a skeletonized floralesque overlay designed by Van Cleef & Arpels. The “Mystery Setting”, a trademark of the jewelry company, securely grasps the gems while hiding the metal prong fastening. The cap of this fountain pen is finished with the Montblanc signature white star in diamonds. Even the name of this pen represents both businesses: Mystery from the Van Cleef & Arpels stone-setting method and Masterpiece in reference to Montblanc’s most recognized pen, the Meisterstück (the German for the word “masterpiece”). When powerhouses of affluence like these two align, the result is sure to be a pièce de résistance.
5. Heaven Gold Pen
Canadian Anita Mai Tan of ALGems is best known for her jewelry and leather good creations. However, she stepped into the world of fountain pen design with her creation, the Heaven Gold. Tan drew inspiration from the changing alignments of the planets, an event that occurs only approximately every 500 years.
The body of the Heaven Gold fountain pen is constructed from pristine 24k rose gold. Albeit, the most remarkable piece of this pen is its cap: the crest is composed of 161 colored diamonds. They encircle a 43k Tsavorite gemstone - a rare, green-colored grossular garnet mined in Africa. Tsavorite stones are estimated to be more than 2 billion years old. A 5-petaled flower, diamond, and heart shape align to cascade down the stylish pen clip. In total, a remarkable 1,888 diamonds are displayed on the Heaven Gold fountain pen.
Only 8 models of the Heaven Gold fountain pen were created. Due to its feminine symbols and pink colored gold body, this writing instrument is said to be designed by a woman for women.
4. Caran d’Ache 1010 Diamonds Limited Edition Fountain Pen
Caran d’Ache is featured for the third time on the list of the costliest pens in the world. This Swiss company pays tribute to their native country’s well-known watchmaking industry with its intricate 1010 Diamonds Limited Edition.
The 1010 collection is named for ten minutes after ten o’clock, another reference to watches and time. This fountain pen is crafted from white gold and three cuts of diamonds: baguette, emerald, and brilliant. The open caged design is reminiscent of the bridges that provide a base for watch gear trains. Numerous gears are set with 850 emerald-cut diamonds and centered with the phrase “Swiss Made” and the “CdA” monogram.
Twenty-six lines of perfectly aligned 22 baguette-cut diamonds surround the cap of white gold. These diamonds are in 44 different sizes, with each stone adjusted by hand. At the base of the cap, a ring of 88 baguette-cut diamonds is broken by a pair of black diamonds, similar to the quarter hours on a watch dial. The white gold clip is formed to resemble a watch hand, with a single brilliant-cut 0.18 carat diamond at the top. The theme of this pen is even travels down to the very tip. The 18k solid gold, rhodium-plated nib is engraved with the gear wheel design of the 1010 Limited Edition collection.
While the regular 1010 fountain pen costs $19,000, the jump to the 1010 Gold Limited Edition brings the price up to $175,000. If splurging for the 1010 Diamonds Limited Edition fountain pen, a buyer will only be set back a mere $1 million.
3. Aurora Diamante Fountain Pen
Italian pen maker Aurora stunned the world with its creation of the Diamante. This fountain pen is a rarity, with one only unit crafted every year and the only pen in the world with over 30 carats of diamonds.
Gleaming with over 2,000 diamonds encrusted on a solid platinum barrel, this fountain pen sparkles at every turn. All of the gemstones selected for this piece are exclusively from DeBeers Diamond Jewelers. Involved in the mining and trade business since 1888, DeBeers diamonds are known as some of the world’s finest. The barrel has 1,919 of these pristine stones, standing for the year 1919 - when the Aurora company was established.
Completing the luxury of the Aurora Diamante fountain pen is its cap and nib. The cap also contains DeBeers diamonds, in a fashion similar to the barrel. However, at the finial, there is an opulent, larger diamond cabochon. This stone has been shaped and polished into a convex shape, instead of being cut and faceted. The nib is a two-toned, 18k solid gold nib and plated in rhodium. Adding to the uniqueness of this piece, owners can engrave the nib with a family coat of arms, signature, or even a portrait.
A second series of the Diamante fountain pen was released, but did not come with the higher price tag. This alternative model was offered in darker, white gold and is annually limited to only 10 units, as opposed to the single radiant platinum-barreled pen. These two pens are a celebration of poignant parts of the day - the expanding radiance of the sun’s rays at dawn and the receding glow of the sun’s rays at dusk.
2. Montblanc Bohème Royal Pen
Montblanc yet again makes its appearance on the list of the costliest pens in the world with another from the Bohème collection.
The barrel and cap of the Bohème Royal pen is crafted from quality 18k white gold. More than 1,430 scintillating diamonds form the curved patterns of the body. Every diamond on this fountain pen is of Top Wesselton quality. (These stones now fall into the “G” and “F” categories in the GIA grading system.) They are pristine diamonds carry a color tint that would only be visible next to a whiter stone with which to compare. Rare with any variety of fountain pen, the Bohème Royal features a retractable nib. It is forged from 18k gold and is platinum-plated.
Not to be outshined by the barrel of the Bohème Royal, the cap integrates seamlessly with the beauty of this remarkable pen. Top Wesselton diamonds form a zigzag pattern, following the same flow of the curves on the barrel. A paramount-cut diamond is highlighted at the end of the pen’s clip. Completing the Bohème Royal fountain pen is the trademark Montblanc star logo. It is comprised of 18k white gold rings and 19 brilliant diamonds.
1. Fulgor Nocturnus
The Fulgor Nocturnus was sold in 2010 at a charity auction in Shanghai. An anonymous bidder paid an astounding $8 million.
Known for precision, proportion, and excellent technical execution, the Florentine pen maker, Tibaldi, crafted this writing instrument. The concept for this fountain pen is based on the Divine Proportion of Phi. It is the basis for the more commonly known Golden Ratio, which is found throughout architecture, art, nature, and is a keystone concept whose origins are based on ancient spirituality. It’s no coincidence then that the ratio between the cap and visible portion of the barrel when the pen is closed equals 1.618 - the number representative of Phi.
Fulgor Nocturnus is a Latin translation for “Night Glow,” which certainly portrays the look of this pen. With a dark mystique, this fountain pen is made from solid ruthenium-plated 18k gold. Adorning the Fulgor Nocturnus are 945 black diamonds. The cap also features black diamonds, as well 123 rubies which create a band near the rim while an additional 16 form the square-shaped finial. The nib of this pen is partially plated with platinum and rhodium. With the high price tag, it’s not surprising that only one Fulgor Nocturnus fountain pen was ever made.
The word ‘pen’ seems to be an understatement for these pieces of art. Encrusted with precious stones and molded from top-quality metals, the costliest pens in the world are ones to ogle and admire. While none of these may be currently in your collection, there’s no reason why a fountain pen enthusiast can’t dream!
Interested in other quality European pens?
Be sure to check out our article “Best Luxury European Fountain Pen”.