To complement and commemorate this year in the Chinese Zodiac, Montegrappa, makers of the worlds finest writing implements will issue a special version of the Snake pen for connoisseurs of hand-painting.
Occupying the 6th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Snake symbolises diverse character traits including intelligence, grace and materialism. Snakes are persuasive, most effective at getting what they want. When it comes to decision-making, Snakes are extremely analytical, carefully considering a situation before making a choice.
Five elements define the Snake: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These five elements complete a 60-year-cycle; 2013’s classification is The Water Snake, which last occurred in 1953. In addition to traits common to all Snakes, the Water Snake is also influential, motivated, insightful and highly intellectual. Water Snakes work well with others and enjoy recognition and reward. Guarded creatures, Water Snakes reveal their deepest feelings to those closest to them, but no one else.
Every pen in the Snake Limited Edition is adorned with stunning die-cast overlays, of a quality and creativity familiar to those who have examined the Dragon and Chaos pens that are so highly prized by enthusiasts. The metalwork encircles a barrel in a deep red-brown hue, made of a special pearlised resin called ‘Pietra’, which is Italian for ‘stone’. The clip terminates in the signature Montegrappa ball to facilitate easy ingress and egress from one’s pocket. For the Snake, it is fashioned from the semi-precious stone Carnelian, its colour matching the cap and barrel.
For this special edition, the overlays are hand-painted with the exclusive Limoges painting technique, individually decorated by Montegrappa’s in-house artist, Lorena Straffi. This artistry brings to life, with unparalleled visual intensity, the serpent honoured by the pen itself.
Such accomplishment is the result of personal research undertaken by Lorena Straffi, inspired by her passion for enamelling. It encompasses a millennium of evolution, starting with Byzantine cloisonné to the enamel painting of Limoges, passing through the translucent Tuscan styles in the 1300s, and the techniques used by Cellini in the 1500s, with his astonishing Salt Cellar. The technique developed by the artist is in some ways reminiscent of the brightness achieved with the guilloché technique adopted by Fabergé for their precious works.
Today Lorena Straffi uses methods based on traditional styles of enamelling. Her process is a multi-stage approach involving meticulous preparation, application and finish. By applying specialised enamels, she is able to create an effect which allows light to penetrate the material and reflect off the surface. This gives the painted surface its unique effect, sometimes known as the ‘wet effect’. The enamel is baked to give a protective and durable finish. It produces a pen of singular beauty.
As with all fountain pens in The Montegrappa Snake 2013 Collection, the special hand-painted editions are fitted with ebonite feeders and 18K gold nibs, fed by a piston filling system. All pieces are numbered and offered in an elegant wooden box. Because of the time required to prepare each pen, the hand-painted collection is available as a limited edition of only 88 silver fountain pens and 88 silver rollerball pens.