One of the more interesting trends emerging over the past year has been the way in which Aurora has emerged to fill the void left in the Italian pen world by the demise of Omas, the suspected impending demise of Delta, and the leadership turnover at Visconti. 2017 saw Aurora launch a very well-regarded series of limited editions, including the 88 Nebuloso, the 88 Anniversario with the new “flexible” nib, and the 88 “Sole.”
Through the end of 2017 and into 2018, Aurora will release five new limited edition demonstrators featuring a different color Auroloide trim on the piston knob, cap finial, and barrel. Dubbed the "Minerali" Collection, the first pen is the one featured here, the “Azurite” blue, with a new pen to follow each month. Other colors will include green, orange, purple, and red, and Aurora says that each version will be limited to 388 pieces, so it’s a true limited edition.
The 88 Minerali is one of the more attractive fountain pen demonstrators that I’ve had the opportunity to handle. The polishing and finish have both been immaculately executed, with no visible flaws in the clear acrylic. The blue “Auroloide” (Aurora’s proprietary name for their cellulose acetate material) really brings out the clarity. I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the pen, especially at the expensive price point, but now I want one.
I’ve heard some grumbling that the “Minerali” line is just a way for Aurora to maximize their return from the spare rod stock that they used in previous limited edition Optimas and 88s. (For example, it appears that the purple and orange will feature the same material used in the Sole and the Nebuloso.) I definitely didn’t get the sense that Aurora created this pen as an afterthought, much less a “spare parts” piece. And, even if that’s the case, if they can make a pen that looks this good in the process, I really don’t care.
The fine nib wrote exceptionally well out of the box - moderately wet, with just a touch of the tooth for which Aurora is known. The line width and wetness fit my writing style perfectly, and I could use this nib as an all-day, everyday workhorse. Did I mention the scrollwork is beautifully done?
The one nit I can pick with Aurora’s pen design is their piston, and how difficult it can be to clean behind the seal, especially in a demonstrator pen. (I noted the same issue in my prior review of the Aurora Optima Nero Perla.) It takes a LOT of flushing, shaking, and blotting to clean Aurora pens out completely. If I purchased one of these, I’d be leery of using any ink remotely capable of staining, and would probably stick to Aurora Black, Blue, and Blue-Black.
Where to Buy
Many thanks to Cary and the team at Kenro Industries for sending this pen over for review. You can purchase the Aurora 88 Minerali limited editions from any Aurora retailer, including site sponsor Pen Chalet. At $795 MSRP, it’s not an inexpensive pen by any means, but retail tends to be a bit lower and Pen Chalet always has excellent prices. If you’ve been waiting on an Aurora 88 demonstrator, and the Azurite trim appeals to you, act quickly before this one goes away. As I noted above, I’m personally holding out for one of the orange or red Minerali pens (the names of which are still unannounced, to my knowledge).
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