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El Grande Sterling
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On some pen styles we offer a special personalization as shown in the picture on the left: Gold plated initials can be set into the cap finial. The PIPS option is only listed for the models it is compatible with, and even there only for gold plated versions. It can of course also be added to similar styles of pens in other platings, but PIPS itself is only available gold plated. The models that PIPS can be added to are the El Grande (not El Grande SL) and the American Style Flat-top.


An inexpensive but durable plating that needs little introduction
24k Gold
This is pure elemental gold. Gold by itself is soft. Whenever we offer 24k gold parts they are fairly thickly plated to give years of wear, but they will eventually show brassing.
10k Gold
This is an alloy, with better wear characteristics than 24k gold.
23k Gold
Another alloy, and plated in a thick layer. This is used by Cross® for their parts and wears very well.
Titanium Gold
This is a multi-layer plating. The base layer is titanium nitride, an extremely wear-resistant material, of a thickness to give the exact color of gold. Bottom line is that with this layer you simply don't have to worry about wear and brassing.
Black Titanium
This is PVD (physical vapor deposition) titanium oxide, and also extremely wear resistant. Black titanium changes its appearance depending on the light conditions - it can look gun metal gray, nearly black, or silvery.
Rhodium is part of the platinum group in the periodic table of elements, and closely related to it in appearance. It is heavily used in the jewelry trade, and extremely durable.
A very durable hard plating, expected to last for many years with normal care.
18k Swiss Rose Gold

This is a pretty exotic plating, not used for pens in years. It is my understanding that there are only 2 or 3 companies in the world that can do this type of plating, mixing copper and gold during the deposition using complex, proprietary techniques. These parts are plated in the US. Swiss Rose gold parts have a light rose color that varies depending on the lighting conditions. I really love this plating that just became available again in the pen market. 18k Swiss Rose Gold will tarnish but is easily restored by rubbing lightly with a fine polishing paste like simichrome

Sterling Silver
We offer some models in solid Sterling silver. When only the best will do... A special (very effective!) treatment has been applied to these parts to prevent tarnishing
A word about durability and wear: There is no way to quantify durability in terms of years, as in "you'll get x years of service". Much depends on the use, the environment, even the user's body chemistry. I use the highest quality parts I can get. But not every style of pen is available in a top-notch plating. Industry statistics indicate that the half-life of a pen is much shorter than what I have observed as wear on even the lower quality parts I used years ago. We have pens in the family where the plating shows wear, but the user has become so attached to the pen that they will not consider a replacement!


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