Saturday, November 5, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 435

Happy November, everyone! I've been meaning to do a proper review of this one for a while....

Inspired by the beauty of gemstones and semi-precious stones, the Pineider 'La Grande Bellezza - Gemstone' line was launched in early 2018. The pens were made in Italy at Pineider's factory near Firenze (Florence) and designed by the legendary pen designer
Dante Del Vecchio, one of Visconti's co-founders.

(~please click on images to enlarge~)

After leaving Visconti, Signor Del Vecchio became the head of the pen department (his official title is "Pen Expert") at Pineider and, within a few months, produced the Pineider
'Grande Bellezza' Limited Edition (LE) in 2017. This was the one of the very first Pineider pens made under his stewardship. A total of 774 'Grande Bellezza' LE pieces were produced, each pen having an MSRP of $798 USD. The pen was available in two colours ("Dolomite Green" and "Sunset Red") and sported a two-tone 18K nib. The "Grande Bellezza - Gemstone" (the pen I'm reviewing today) is a descendant of this LE, but it was made of a different type of material and came with a brand-new 14K nib (also designed by Dante Del Vecchio) --the Pineider 'Quill' nib.

The Pineider company was founded in 1774 by Francesco Pineider and started out as a maker of luxury stationery, opening its first shop in the Piazza della Signoria in the heart of Florence (Firenze). 
Pineider paper is still made using traditional methods, and the company obviously takes great pride in their products (the Pineidor logo & crest are everywhere on the packaging above--debossed on the outside of the box and printed on both of the box's inner flaps). Their fine stationery was used by Italian nobility, Napoleon, Elizabeth Taylor, Maria Callas, Rudolf Nureyev, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens & others, and is available in stores around the globe.

My pen came in this lovely dark green, hinged, leather(ette?) gift box (which resembles a portable writing desk) that's lined with a very soft, cream-coloured material. The box came with the pen's warranty and a
sampling of Pineider's luxurious stationery, consisting of six cards with matching envelopes. I was curious as to the cost of the stationery, and discovered that a set of twelve cards with matching envelopes retails for $45 here in Canada.

             My Pineider 'La Grande Bellezza - Gemstones' fountain pen in "Lapis Blue"

The Italian phrase "La Grande Bellezza" translates to "The Great Beauty" ... and wow, is this pen beautiful! The writing instruments in Pineider's 'Grande Bellezza - Gemstones' line are made of a resin-based material with a high percentage of marble dust (per this Goulet Pens video, the marble dust content is around 30%). The marble dust is incorporated into the resin for several reasons--to create a harder compound that allows the pens to be polished to a high gloss, to add more weight to the pens (giving them a nice heft) and because it can be dyed to the desired colour(s). The "Gemstones" line consists of fountain pen, ballpoints and rollerballs in "Stone Black", "Hematite Grey","Lapis Blue", "Malachite Green", "Rodolite Red", and "Tiger's Eye" .

The model uses a new magnetic closing system (Pineider's patented Twist Magnetic Lock) for capping and posting, as well as uncapping the pen; twisting the cap of a capped pen a half turn causes the magnets in the cap & section to repel each other, gently pushing the cap off. Not only does the magnetic system allow for faster cap removal, but it also prevents the barrel from being scratched, as it can be with friction-posting.

The pen weighs 38 grams when capped, 23 grams uncapped, and is approximately 5.5 inches/14 cm capped, 5 inches/12.7 cm uncapped, and 6.4 inches/16.3 cm posted. It fills using a cartridge/converter system and comes fitted with a Pineider-branded standard international ink converter.

The elegant, hourglass-shaped metal section is highly-polished and very smooth, but is textured at the nib end; one reviewer suggested that this was done to prevent the user's fingers from slipping and touching the rough edge of the magnetic ring at the very end of the section.

I find the section very comfortable to hold and not slippery; your own experience may vary. I love its ergonomic design and how its weight moves the center of balance to the nib end. I prefer to use this pen unposted as I find it a bit too long to use posted; the unposted pen has a nice weight to it, and feels really good in the hand.

The graceful, spring-loaded metal clip is made of highly-polished marine steel, and its feather/quill shape is both a tribute to the early days of writing and Pineider's origins as a maker of fine stationery. The clip is designed to clip onto thick materials and works well with just the right amount of tension. The underside of the clip is also smooth, which facilitates unclipping.

All modern Pineider fountain pens have a feather/quill-shaped clip and the clips differ from model to model.
After watching a video interview with Mr. Del Vecchio, I found out that Pineider clips are designed with the end users of the particular model in mind--e.g. more modern-looking clips are used on pens which might appeal to younger users.

The cap's finial is a subtly-domed silver disc with a lightly-textured surface that features the Pineider name in raised cursive. I didn't photograph the metal finial (disc) on the barrel end of the pen, but it's flat and smooth. The fact that the barrel finial isn't also domed and textured like the cap finial bothers some people but, surprisingly, not me - the Queen of Symmetry lol.

The cap band is textured like the end of the pen's section, and has the Pineider name in raised cursive on the front. I expected the back of the cap band (photo above) to have the words "Firenze - Italy" or perhaps the model name on it, so I was surprised to see the world's most famous pangram -"the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"--there instead! Some people really dislike this embellishment, but (a) it's on the back of the cap band, so it's unobtrusive and (b) this is a pen that was designed for fountain pen lovers---it has a special nib on it, and its clip looks like a quill --- so why not put something on the cap band that's associated with writing with a fountain pen (and, specifically trying a new fountain pen for the very first time)? Well, those are my thoughts, anyway...

Onto the nib now!
The first thing you probably notice is that the nib has a cutaway design -- deep notches that enhance the nib's flexibility. In addition to being functional, I think it looks very cool :)

                                                       The Pineider "Quill" nib

This special nib was designed by Dante Del Vecchio and is made of 14K gold, which is either rhodium-plated or palladium-plated (I've seen it described both ways). According to well-known pen retailer Joost Appelboom, the nib's unique breather hole is shaped like a burin handle, part of an engraving tool traditionally used by Pineider's craftsmen. The Pineider name and crest are beautifully engraved on the nib and bracketed by some nice scroll work, and below the Pineider name are the words QUILL NIB and 14KT 585 in block letters. The nib was made by Bock and is available in XF, F, M, B and Stub (1.3mm) widths. The nib and its plastic feed are part of a nib unit that screws in and out of the section.

So, how does it write? Well, my particular pen has a Fine nib on it... and thank goodness I tried the pen before I bought it because it lays down a very wide line *and* it's very wet (I almost bought a red version with a Broad nib on eBay - I'm so relieved I didn't!) In the Goulet Pens video introducing this model, it was mentioned that the wider Quill nibs seemed to have less line variation. Speaking of which...Despite the fact that the nib is referred to by Pineider as the "Hyperflex Quill" nib, the amount of line variation I got from mine isn't anything like that from a vintage "wet noodle" nib. According to Mr. Del Vecchio, however, that wasn't the purpose of the Quill nib. It is, however, a very soft nib--as it was designed to be--- that has a lot of bounce to it, and it writes very smoothly.

The pen's retail price (MRSP: $498 USD) is admittedly hefty, but I got mine for a fraction of that thanks to the great deal I got from my fellow pen club member Jerred. Now, I just realized that Jerred did a review of the same pen--ie. the one I bought from him--in July 2021! He did his review before he fixed its nib, though; the nib worked beautifully by the time I bought it from him. Anyway, many thanks, Jerred, for this gorgeous fountain pen! This might just be my favourite new pen of 2022 (so far ;)

( ~ photos and review by Maja ~ )

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