Engraving with a Burin: The Decorative Art that Transforms a Pen into a Sculpture

The secrets of this highly elegant technique


First sight, then touch: Montegrappa pens captivate from the very first glance, presenting a writing instrument that promises much more than its intrinsic functionality. The details, first admired with the eyes and then felt under the fingers, are evidence of an idea that has taken shape from the skilled work of expert artisans.

In the workshops of Bassano del Grappa, pens are born that are masterpieces of mechanics and aesthetics, sculptures of high artistic value. One of the techniques used to create Montegrappa pens is engraving with a burin, a method of work that comes from typography to become a true decorative art, characteristic of high Italian craftsmanship.


What is and How Does the Burin Engraving Technique Work

From the origins of the burin to new engravings

This technique of workmanship, known as "engraving with a burin," comes from the world of printing. An art that stems from experience and competence and requires mastery and artisanal precision. The burin technique is performed entirely by hand because it allows for results impossible to achieve with more modern engraving technologies, such as laser or diamond engraving.

A Montegrappa pen engraved with a burin is a tailor-made writing instrument, thoughtfully designed and crafted "to measure" within the atelier of the famous Italian brand. Through this technique, it is possible to transform images and photographs, to which one is most attached, into realistic reproductions that decorate one's pen in gold or silver. The work is meticulous and requires time and concentration. The entire focus of the burin engravers is on the pen, viewed through the use of a microscopic lens, essential for perfectly reproducing the original image on the precious metal that becomes the canvas for an exclusive painting.


Burin Engravings: From Technique to Art

How to create perfect writing instruments

The term "burin" refers both to the engraving technique and the tool used. The burin appears as a quadrangular steel rod with two different ends: on one side a sharp and oblique tip for engraving, and on the other a wooden knob handle that supports the engraver. By resting the palm of the hand on the burin, the engraver can exert constant pressure while also holding the iron with the index finger. As the burin advances on the plate, leaving a clear groove, the metal curls produced are cleaned with a scraper.

pens with burin engraving technique

Burin engraving originally emerged in the 15th century for carving on the surface of a copper plate, allowing the creation of even very fine lines. Albrecht Dürer's burin engravings are famous. Over time, engraving has also been extended to more precious metals, like gold and silver. In the field of writing instruments, the burin is used to create lines of various thicknesses: by adjusting the pressure force, the width and depth of the traced groove are varied until the perfect reproduction of the desired design is achieved.


Extra Bespoke

A pen that comes to life directly within the Montegrappa atelier, tailor-made for particularly demanding clients who pay attention to style details. It is possible to choose from a palette of 24 colors for the celluloid that will dress the Montegrappa pen mechanism. There are many possible shades, from earth tones to classic primary colors, through the special chromaticities of precious stones. The small parts of the Extra Bespoke pen, available in silver or in solid 18K gold in white, yellow, or rose tones, are also a matter of personal preference.


Amphora Bespoke

A model of fountain pen with a sinuous shape, rounded specifically for easy handling. Thus, the embrace between hand and pen becomes natural, an inseparable duo that moves delicately on the paper. Depending on preferences, the Amphora Bespoke Montegrappa pen is crafted in the atelier with a unique decoration on the top of the cap: a design tailor-made through hand painting or the burin engraving technique.


Mille Miglia (1997)

A limited edition made on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the most classic car rally: the burin engraving made in the workshop of Cesare Giovanelli highlights all the characteristics of the competition that for years traveled the roads of Italy. A path of refined technique that goes from Brescia to Rome, passing through the value of finely worked materials.


Vatican 2000 Papal Pen (2000)

A pen commissioned for the Great Jubilee of the Vatican, brought to life through the use of the ancient technique of burin engraving: every detail of this splendid limited edition is highlighted by the deep union of technique and aesthetics. Along with the precious writing instrument, an equally precious gift: the personal blessing of H.H. Pope John Paul II.


Montegrappa has always signed its creations with high craftsmanship techniques Made in Italy that add value to the design and precision mechanics that characterize every writing instrument that all collectors would want to have: the burin engraving technique is one of the most appreciated decorative arts by fans of Montegrappa pens, jewels of artistic beauty.