While in Melbourne recently, I paid a visit to Il Papiro, a luxury stationery store that specializes in hand decorated papers from Italy (don't confuse hand decorated with hand made). While there, I purchased a set of 10 writing paper sheets and envelopes decorated with my initial, "L".
The sheets I bought are a very lightweight paper of around 80 g/m² (22lb). I dislike paper this light, and generally prefer a paper weight of at least 100 g/m² (27lb).
• Paper Color
Il Papiro have many designs in their 'letter initials' range, but my set has paper which is a deep cream in colour, very similar to Crane & Co. Ecruwhite. Cream coloured papers can make some inks look dull, but this one isn't too bad.
• Surface Finish
The paper has a light eggshell finish which is smooth to write on. The surface also has large, visible watermarks in all directions. The reverse of the sheet has the same eggshell finish as the front.
The paper has a medium printed opacity which ensures no feathering or bleeding. Most of the papers we consider to be FP friendly have a medium printed opacity.
The paper has a medium-low visual opacity, meaning that there is a show-through of ink from one side of the paper to the other. Both sides of the paper can be used for writing, but the combination of lightweight paper and medium-low visual opacity mean that dark inks or bold strokes will clearly show through.
• Sheet Size
This Il Papiro sheet measures 16.5cm x 2cm (6.5" x 9"). This is an unusual paper size, and possibly a historic one, though I can find no historic sheet measurements in which this seems to fit.
The envelopes in this set are made from paper identical to that of the sheets, and are 17.4cm x 11.8cm (6.8" x 4.6") in size. They have a traditional gently-pointed flap. Each envelope is lined with soft green-grey coloured silk tissue. All colours used in the set design are well coordinated, subdued and elegant.
• Sheet Decoration
The top of each sheet is quite prominently decorated with a 3cm x 4cm letter motif of a sage green tree bordered in gold. The tree and initial are embossed; the initial is a deep red colour. (Personally, the whole motif suits my "Laurel Tree" theme very well!) The bottom of the sheet is printed with "Il Papiro • Made in Italy".
(Click to enlarge)
• Nib Behaviour
Very fine nibs experience no dragging on this paper. The surface is smooth and trouble-free.
• Ink Behaviour
Nothing remarkable here, as the paper is not specially coated or sized to bring out the shading characteristics in ink as some other papers do.
The 10 envelope and 10 sheet set I purchased cost $40AUD. The Il Papiro online store has the sets for ~€17 or ~$23USD. For the price, there are many other papers around which match or exceed the quality of Il Papiro.
While the Il Papiro "luxury" paper is nice, I won't be buying a second set when mine is used up. While very pretty, the sheet is too thin, and the overall appeal is not really enough to justify the cost.
Edited by Phthalo, 18 March 2010 - 12:14.