California Republic Palomino Pencil

Yes, have no fear: even the lowly pencil can be a luxury item. Helix Oxford Premium Grade #2 pencils from England have their fans, having a certain Harry Potter boarding school charm. The Staedtlers from Germany and Tombows from Japan are also popular with pencil snobs. If you just wanted to pick a country, you could do it that way. Even if you did, the Palomino would win just for the name, although they are actually manufactured in Japan for an American company. Question: what makes a pencil luxurious? Answer: the inside, middle and the outside. The inside is the lead, which writes a very dark line for the HB softness. You have to try it. The middle is the best part. It’s California cedar wood, which smells fresh and fragrant, especially after you sharpen it. The outside is a thick, smooth and flawless coat of blue paint. All in all, a lot of perfection in a box of 6 for about $5.

Luxury: 8                    Affordability: 9

Want more luxury? The legendary Blackwing 602, the best pencil ever made (and since discontinued). Expect to pay about $35 for just one if you can find it on eBay. Try not to feel guilty if you actually write with it.

Luxury: 1o                Affordability: 2

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