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Despite our increasing dependence on e-mail, text messaging, and other high-tech forms of communication, we like to think that writing by hand never goes out of style. (Who doesn’t love opening the mail to find a calligraphed invitation or a handwritten thank-you note?) But what’s great penmanship without a great pen?  — J.B.


Flower power Now that summer is upon us, Cross’s new Century II Botanica, with its flouncy floral theme, is the perfect accessory. Adorned with a garden of blooms, the Botanica comes in three appropriately named colors: Marigold, Bluebell, and Rose. $65. www.cross.com

Tango lessons Also new from Cross is the Townsend Tango. The classic lines and engraving that dance across the cap make the pen ideal for everyday use or for formal affairs, like the signing of your wedding guest book. Available in black or slate lacquer. $100 to $235. www.cross.com

Making a splash Pelikan’s latest special-edition pen, the Niagara Falls, is a fitting tribute to one of the world’s great landmarks. Conceived of metal alloy and resin inlaid with cobalt blue lacquer, it eerily conveys the power and beauty of the mighty waters. $294 to $426. www.pelikan.com

Deco darling Formerly retired but making a comeback this year is Parker’s Duofold Pearl & Black, a marbled masterpiece of pearlescent acrylic accented with 23-karat champagne gold that rekindles the Roaring ’20s. Adding to the extravagance is an 18-karat-gold nib that’s so elegantly etched, you’ll hate putting the cap on. $250 to $500. www.parkerpen.com

Sir Writes-a-Lot Sporting what seems to be the material of the moment, Pentel of America’s just-added Lancelot pens are constructed of lacquer laid over brass with nickel accents. You can even get a fountain pen with an ink bottle rather than the more-common cartridge refills. $25 to $90. www.pentel.com

What’s in a name? The Henry Ford of fountain-pen making, Lewis Edson Waterman, dreamed of one day designing the perfect leakproof pen. Today his company honors his memory with the introduction of the eponymous Edson Diamond Black, a modern writer that’s guaranteed to be leak-free up to 30,000 feet. $550 to $1,000. www.waterman.com

Glass menagerie Akuamarina’s Phoenician is an eye-popping creation crafted in Italy out of Venice’s famed Murano glass. There are six color combinations, each more appealing than the last, making it virtually impossible to choose just one. They’re only $50 apiece, though, so why limit yourself? Ink sold separately. www.forzieri.com

Carving its own niche If you’re going to handcraft a letter or note, why not use a handcrafted pen? Pilot’s new limited-edition Chinkin Series (not shown) features one-of-a-kind instruments — it can take up to three months to make each one — with carvings of elaborate Asian motifs (think dragons, owls, squirrels, and hawks) done by a master artist. From $4,000. www.namiki.com