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After spending hours of your workday staring at a screen, attending zoom meets, and keying in spreadsheets, you don't want to spend all your free time tapping and clicking through millions of search results to find the perfect gifts for friends and family. We have better things to do, right? Goldspot is here to help get you back to enjoying the company of your loved ones.
If you're with us right now, it's because you're searching for a writing gift - either for yourself or someone near and dear to you.
In this gift guide, the goal is to take the guesswork out of gift-giving and give our best pen recommendations for a broad range of budgets and interest levels.
In the first installment of this 2021 pen gift guide, we explored the $50 and under price range. If that budget is more your speed, check out Part 1 here.
In this post, the objective is to take a $150 budget and provide gift ideas for the beginner, the intermediate, and the advanced pen enthusiast.
Beginners are usually young and use disposable or free pens to write by hand. They show an aptitude for study, reading, and creative pursuits, but just haven't been exposed to a quality pen. When introducing them into the world of fine writing, we focused on fountain pens as they provide the smoothest and most personalized writing experience. However, we didn't forget the trusty and convenient ballpoint/rollerball pen!
At this price point, there are many options for a great quality pen. We narrowed it down to a collection that provides a wide array of styles, colors, shapes, and sizes.
Esterbrook JR Paradise fountain pens
Lamy Studio (starting $63.20 ballpoint, $78.95 fountain pen) - Winner of multiple international design awards, the Lamy Studio has the heart of a reliable Safari or AL-Star with a significant upgrade in design and luxury.
Caran d'Ache 849 (starting at $20 ballpoint, $52 fountain pen) - Born from the heritage of Swiss-made pencils, the 849 has an iconic, hexagonal body. Many color and style options available that include collaborations with Nespresso, Alexander Girard, Line Friends, and more.
Kaweco Liliput (starting at $50 ballpoint, $60 fountain pen) - Machined from solid metals with a minimalist, pocket-sized design.
Conklin All American (starting at $59.95 ballpoint, $75.95 fountain pen) - On the opposite end of the size spectrum, the All American has a generously-sized body shape in a variety of colorful acrylics (and now wood!).
Esterbrook JR (starting at $140) - Modeled after the vintage Esterbrook "J" pen, these pocket-friendly fountain pens have elegance, sophistication, and a plesant writing experience. Perfect fit for those who like slim, undersized pens.
Intermediates look to graduate to the next level of writing instruments by opting for higher quality, becoming more selective in their preferences. In this selection, we highlight writing instruments that provide a unique writing experience and require a more experienced hand to fully appreciate.
TWSBI Vac700R Fountain Pen
Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo Fountain Pen ($144) - This retractable fountain pen is one of the best values on this list since it has an 18kt gold nib. Perfect for those who want the fluid smoothness of a fountain pen mixed with the convenience of a click-action pen.
TWSBI Vac700R (starting at $65) - This demonstrator fountain pen features a high ink capacity, one-stroke vacuum-filling system. The shut-off valve prevents leaking or burping due to heat or air pressure changes. Great for long writing sessions.
Opus 88 (starting at $93) - Inspired by vintage Japanese eyedropper-fill fountain pens, Opus 88 pens have massive ink capacity, reliable steel nibs, and a wide variety of acrylic, ebonite, and resin designs.
Visconti Rembrandt (starting at $132 ballpoint, $148 fountain pen) - Inspired by the chiaroscuro painting style of Dutch master artist Rembrandt, the variegated resin has an artistic style signature of the high-end luxury of the Visconti brand.
Narwhal Schuylkill ($60) - Crafted from swirling acrylic resin, these piston-fill fountain pens are unique and affordable. The Schuylkill has a transparent ink window to see the remaining ink in the pen. Each pen also includes a wrench to disassemble the piston mechanism should you need to perform a deep cleaning or maintenance the pen.
Advanced users add to their pen and ink collection throughout the year, purchasing new releases and limited editions they've had their eye on. It might appear they have it all. But, as we prove in our recommendations, there's always room for a delightful surprise.
Esterbrook Nook Pen Cases
Additive Pens (starting at $140) - The 21st Century has arrived with this 3-D Printed fountain pen barrel design. The demonstrator style pen is complemented with a clear acrylic section and cap. Watch ink slosh around the spiral body of the pen.
Esterbrook Nook (starting at $68) - Every fine pen deserves a comfy nook to take their rest. The Nook is a sturdy solution that provides luxury and utility in storing and presenting your nicest pens.
Yamamoto A4 Japanese Paper Sampler ($39.95) - Japanese paper is, hands down, some of the best writing paper in the world. The tablet has 18 curated paper types with 5 sheets of each paper and a description of each type.
Fountain Pen Ink Sets (starting at $52) - A fountain pen enthusiast could always use more ink. These sets provide a wide variety of colors to write a lifetime.
Buy the Diamine Flower Ink Gift Set Here.
Buy the Pilot Iroshizuku 100th Anniversary Set Here.
Edison #6 Jowo 18kt Gold Nib ($150) - Experienced fountain pen enthusiasts know the difference in feel that a gold nib provides over a stainless steel. If you know the pen enthusiast in your life has a pen that uses the #6 Jowo nib unit (and many pens these days use that nib), you can upgrade their writing experience with an 18kt gold replacement nib. Pick the rhodium-finished version if they have a pen with silver trim. Go with gold if their pens have gold trim.
Despite having a $150 budget, many of the recommendations we listed above fall well below that mark. If possible, provide a "total package" gift that includes a pen, ink (or refills), and quality paper. For example, you could buy a Lamy Studio fountain pen ($78.95), a bottle of Lamy ink ($12) and a pad of the Yamamoto paper ($39.95) for a total of $130.90. A pen plus a case is also a great idea as it allows the writer to care for their instrument so it can be enjoyed for years to come.
If you have a great fine writing gift idea under $150 that we missed, put it in the comments below. We'd love to read all your thoughtful suggestions.
Stay inky, my friends. Take care.