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Best of the Best 2008: Pens: Montblanc Mystery Masterpiece

Nancy Olson

Pen maker Montblanc was founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1906, the same year that jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels opened in Paris’ Place Vendôme. In December 2006, the two brands celebrated their combined two centuries of creating luxury accessories by introducing the Mystery Masterpiece pen.

The white-gold fountain pen features a heavily jeweled overlay, designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, on the cap and barrel. The jeweler applied its hallmark Mystery Setting, which conceals the metal prongs that hold the jewels in place, producing a tilelike gem surface. The pen’s name refers to Van Cleef & Arpels’ stone-setting technique and to Montblanc’s most popular pen—the Meisterstück, which is the German word for "masterpiece."

The companies have produced only nine of the pens, three each in ruby, sapphire, and emerald variations. The pens, available through Montblanc and Van Cleef & Arpels boutiques worldwide, are priced at $730,000 apiece.

Each pen displays 67 Mystery Set gems and another 189 stones that form a butterfly, a Van Cleef & Arpels signature motif. The pens are further encrusted with 773 brilliant-cut diamonds, five marquise-cut diamonds, and 58 baguette-cut diamonds, totaling approximately 11.7 carats. The cap crown displays Montblanc’s trademark white star in brilliant-cut diamonds. The piston-filled pen has an 18-karat-gold nib that Montblanc designed specially for this collaboration.

Montblanc, 800.995.4810, www.montblanc?.com; Van Cleef & Arpels, 800.822.5797, www.vancleef-arpels.com

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