• Daniel Ouimet

Are Precious Metals Used on Writing Pens?

Ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, and fountain pens are generally made with some visible metal components. These parts are normally plated with precious and/or noble metals depending on which chemistry or physics definition you prefer. We and Gollum covet these metals for their luster, economic value, and durability. Most like silver, rhodium, and gold are familiar to us because of their use in our coins and jewelry like the "One Ring." I've outlined metal plating commonly used on ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, and fountain pens below within color groups and then by their relative wear resistance. Their resistance to wear closely corresponds to their price. The ratings (5/5 being the best) are my opinion but generally agree with everything I've researched.

Pen Plating with a "Silver" Color

Rhodium (5/5) is used by premier pen manufacturers to plate their very finest pens. It's expensive but provides the best luster and wear resistance. I like using rhodium plated parts as much as possible.

Chrome and Satin Chrome (4/5) have good wear resistance and are affordable alternatives in this color group. The satin chrome has a distinctive feel as a result of the plating process.

Pen Plating with a "Gold" Color

Gold Titanium (5/5) is the only gold color plating I use as the dominant plating on a pen. Titanium gold is an alloy that easily outwears any other gold color plating like 24K or 10K gold.

Pen Plating with a "Gray to Black" Color

Black Titanium (5/5) is more of a dark gray to my eye and is the best darker color plating available.

Black Chrome (3.5/5) I find to be really sharp on light color woods. I also like it with some acrylic resins like my pens with postage stamps cast in clear resin because it complements the cancellation marks well.

Satin Nickel (3/5) is really pretty with particular woods like padauk and certain acrylic resins. The plating process also leaves it with a distinctive feel.

​​Pen Plating with a "White" Color

Satin Pearl (3/5) goes really well with acrylics that already have a lot going on like confetti multicolored acrylics.

Pen Plating with a "Copper" Color

Satin Copper (3.5/5) and Bright Copper (3.0/5) are some of my favorites with certain woods or acrylic resins I've intentionally mixed with copper or bronze powders.

Rose Gold (3.5/5) is hard to find but a great, warm plating that complements blue and green acrylics especially well.