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Design Portfolio: Writing the Rails

The storied rail line that linked Paris to Istanbul for more than a century has fired the imaginations of such diverse writers as Bram Stoker and Ian Fleming. Now the elegantly appointed Orient Express has come full circle and inspired a collection of fine writing instruments and other accoutrements. The Orient-Express Limited Edition by S.T. Dupont of Paris (www.st-dupont.com) comprises fountain pens, lighters, and cuff links, each with finely wrought details inspired by the original 1883 train. Versions are available in silver and yellow gold, but the Diamond Collection, limited to just 28 fountain pens ($36,500 each) and 28 lighters ($38,500 each), best captures the Orient Express’s grandeur. The barrel of the pen—rendered in blue and white enamel with white-gold accents and mother-of-pearl inlays—evokes the exterior of the train, an effect greatly enhanced by the pen’s holder, which depicts the train’s undercarriage. The pen’s clip, which features 71 diamonds, recalls the locomotive’s chimney, while its nib set sports engravings of wheels and rivets. Set in the center of the lighter’s lacquered face is an oval design based on the stained-glass window of the Orient Express’s dining car and incorporating 1.46 carats of sparkling white diamonds. The oval is framed by white-gold bars reminiscent of the grab irons that assisted nobles and aristocrats, society mavens and spies, as they boarded the train, now forever linked in the popular imagination with intrigue and adventure.

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