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The metal parts of a pen are usually made of brass that is plated by various methods with a finish metal.  These components include the finial, clip, center band and nib section. The finish metals are available in a wide range of types and durability. There are a lot of options out there used by pen makers and the quality varies considerably.  Mission City Pens offers metal finish options to compliment your new handmade pen.  Here is a brief explanation about the metal finishes and durability.

Gold Plating

Gold plating is ultimately not durable when exposed to abrasion. Gold plating can be made more durable depending on the method used to plate, additives to the gold, and techniques employed. No matter what is done, however all gold plating will wear off over time when abraded.  The following is an explanation of the various plantings.

Upgrade Gold

Upgrade means that the parts are plated using the rack method and that small amounts of cobalt or palladium are added to the plating chemicals. This enhances the durability of the gold plating.  Upgrade gold will last well.  It is softer than titanium gold or chrome.

Titanium Gold

This method produces most durable plating. Titanium nitride matched to the color of the gold is molecularly bonded to the part and then 24K gold is bonded (sputtered) on the part to achieve a color match to our other gold parts. The parts are again re-plated after this. The final result is that the parts will virtually never wear. 


This is an extremely durable plating. Under normal use this plating should hold up for many years.  Chrome is not quite as hard as titanium gold, black titanium or platinum, but is pretty close. 


This is a very durable hard plating. Platinum and Rhodium should be expected to hold up under normal careful use for many years.

Black Titanium

This is titanium oxide molecularly bonded (PVD). This plating is unbelievably hard and durable. It will last for many, many years.  Black titanium is not as brightly colored as Platinum or Chrome and offers a toned-down look which is classy and compliments many pen styles.

Gun Metal

Gun Metal looks almost like black titanium.  When combined in a 2-tone with gold or chrome, gun metal really looks great.  Gun metal is harder than gold and a little softer than chrome.


Copper plating adds a very interesting look to many pen designs.  2-tone copper is a combination of brushed and polished copper.   The copper plating will wear about the same as the upgraded gold.

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