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How to Choose the Right Engraved Pen to Give as a Gift


Giving a fine writing instrument during the holiday season—or any other time of the year—is a wonderful way to recognize someone’s importance in your life and at your workplace. Whether you’re giving an engraved pen to a friend, a family member, or a coworker, it’s an elegant and professional gift with a personal touch. That’s what makes it a perfect present for every situation.

But how do you choose the right custom engraved pen? Follow our gift guide, and you’ll get it right every time.

Which type of engraved pen should you buy?

One fine pen might seem interchangeable with another, but ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, and fountain pens are quite different from each other.

  • A ballpoint pen is the tool most people are used to writing with these days. They’re easy to use, mess-free, and the ink dries quickly, which makes them great for travel. However, users do have to exert a lot of pressure to create a smooth line, and that can become uncomfortable when they’re writing for long periods of time.
  • A rollerball pen offers more finesse and allows for greater variation in writing style. The ink flows more freely and takes a little longer to dry than the ink of a ballpoint pen. They tend to be more comfortable for long periods of use.
  • A fountain pen gives users an incredible amount of control over how their handwriting looks. From the shape of the characters to the thickness of the lines, to the color of the ink—yes, even if it’s black—writers can stylize everything to suit their wants and needs. Fountain pens do require some maintenance to keep the ink flowing smoothly, and the ink itself does require more drying time than the others.

How will they use it?

The key to great gifts is imagining gift recipients using them in their daily lives. How your recipient will use it will play into the type of pen you buy.

If you’re purchasing an engraved pen for a business traveler, you’ll likely go with a ballpoint pen or a rollerball pen over a fountain pen, since fountain pen ink can take time to dry. On the other hand, if you’re purchasing a pen for a CEO who frequently signs off on large contracts, a fountain pen could add just the right gravitas to their work.

If they are fidgety corporate type, they might like a ballpoint pen they can play with while they think. If they are a creative who tends to daydream while they scribble, a flowing fountain pen might be just the thing. If they are an entrepreneur who wants to blend elegance with practicality, a sleek rollerball pen is a perfect option.

Of course, some pens are intended to be display pieces or rarely used heirlooms. For example, if you’re giving a custom engraved pen to a newly engaged couple with the intention of them using it to sign their wedding license, that pen will likely become a family artifact rather than a writing instrument seeing daily use. If that’s the case, you’ll want to carefully consider the materials used to make it and think about investing in long-lasting metals like gold and sterling silver.

21st Century Limited-Edition 21-karat Solid Gold Fountain Pen

What’s their personality?

There are as many different engraved pen designs as there are people to give them to! From feminine flowers to electric colors, to Star Wars themes, to classic black-and-gold, you can find everything under the sun—you just need to know for what and for whom you’re looking.

Not sure what your gift recipient will like? Think about their personal style. What do they wear? How do they decorate their house? What do they decorate their desk with? What are they interested in? What do they talk about?

Paying attention to the details will help you choose a more thoughtful gift.

Cross Townsend Collection for Scuderia Ferrari Glossy Rosso Corsa Red Lacquer Rollerball Pen

What’s your budget?

At Cross, you can find a beautiful writing instrument at any budget. Whether you’re looking to spend less than $50 on a gift pen or over $1,000, we have options that will be well-suited to your needs.

Materials, design, and the type of pen purchased affect the price tag. If you want a sleek look for a lower price, consider chrome instead of silver. Likewise, gold plating creates an elegant look, but it’s less expensive (though less durable) than gold filling or solid gold. A simple design without ergonomic details is priced less than a pen with more design nuances. Fountain pens are often more expensive than rollerball pens or ballpoint pens.

If you’re purchasing a gift for a colleague or someone you know professionally, budget is something you’ll want to consider carefully. Your company—or the company your recipient works for—might have rules that restrict the value of gifts that can be received. It always pays to check these rules before you purchase a custom engraved pen gift.

Classic Century Lustrous Chrome Ballpoint Pen

There you have it! Keep these handy guidelines in mind as you choose your gifts, and we have no doubt you’ll pick the perfect engraved pen present, no matter which recipient you have in mind. As you shop, just remember the four Ps of pen gifts: pen type, purpose, personality, and price.

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