For most of my three years working at a luxury writing shop in Perth, the most expensive pen was the Mont Blanc Marlene Dietrich, a special-edition fountain pen in commemoration of the actress. It had an 18-carat solid gold nib (of course), inlaid mother-of-pearl on the top of the cap and a diamond adorning the clip, which was shaped like the ties of which its namesake was so fond. That, in turn, was not the most expensive pen the store had ever had — that honour went, I was told, to a Caran d’Ache fountain pen that was literally encrusted with hundreds of diamonds. It was worth $1.7 million and travelled pen stores worldwide. Wherever it went, it apparently came with its own security guard. It makes my most expensive sale look like utter peanuts, but thankfully it doesn’t cost thousands to partake in the joy of writing. From working at the pen shop I learned that no matter how bad one’s handwriting is, or how rarely they put pen to paper, almost everyone harbours some kind of love for stationery. Industry experts say that no matter how flash the newest iPad might be, pen and paper are here to stay. Fountain pens rose to prominence in the first half of the 20t...