Original Crown Mill is a brand steeped in history going back to 1478 when the then Holy Roman Emperor granted the monks of the Belgian hamlet 'La Hulpe' permission to build a paper mill. The mill used water from the clean L'Argentine river, which helped deliver a high quality product which sold well in the nearby city of Brussels. In 1664 King Philip IV of Spain gave the title 'Imperial and Royal Paper Manufacturer' to the mill in the hamlet. In 1870 Frederic Pelletier founded the Pelletier company that produced paper products in Brussels, ordering his paper stock from the Royal Mills in La Hulpe, sold under the brand Original Crown Mill.
Today the company continues to produce a wide range of paper stationery based on three main paper types or finishes:
- Laid: This is a paper type which has a lightly striated textured finish.
- Paper Vellum: For this finish the paper is completely smooth, naturally matte and earns its luxury from the thickness of the stock
- Cotton: Made from woven long cotton strands, the paper has a natural soft felt finish and feels different to normal pulp based paper.
Today I look at some sets of A6 size cards and matching C6 envelopes from Original Crown Mill. The company also produce a A7 version, but for me this is too small to find many uses.
The envelopes are made from a thick 120gsm vellum paper which seems to take fountain pen ink perfectly with no feathering at all on the fine and medium nibs I use for addressing letters. The colour is even and the envelopes are crisply and accurately constructed.
But it is the A6 cards that are the key reason I use these sets. A luxurious 300gsm card stock with a vellum finish takes all the nibs I have tried perfectly. It is smooth and even with a needlepoint nib the pen glides effortlessly over the surface. It dries relatively quickly, but avoids feathering even with troublesome inks. The cards ooze quality and I enjoy sending them as thank you notes or for shorter general correspondence.
It is the colour options available for this set that I really like, along with the traditional white and cream there are some dark colours including black and brown. With these you will need to use a light gel pen or coloured pencil to be able to write visibly on them. I already use white for my letters and I dislike cream, I have no light pens yet and so it is for these reasons that I purchased the light green and turquoise colours.
These colours pop; they are slightly brighter than I expected but they are magnificent especially when used with a nice dark ink. They certainly will stand out in someone's mail.
At £5 for a set of ten cards and envelopes these are not the cheapest option on the market, but you are paying for quality and you certainly receive it. They have a premium feel, look amazing and I enjoy sending these to people. I only wish that my scrawl was better so I could really show them off. On a more practical note, the glue on the envelope gives a really good seal and doesn't taste too bad if you don't happen to have a sealing sponge available.
The set comes packaged in a simple plastic envelope with the Original Crown Mill logo printed on in white ink. This is a small set so expecting much more than this simple packaging may be misguided, but it certainly feels cheap compared to the quality of the contents.
There are plenty of other options available from companies such as G. Lalo at a similar price and quality but with other features such as tissue-lined envelopes or cotton rag paper. What you get with this set however is the option to try a wide range of colours at a relatively affordable initial outlay.
Overall these are superb and I enjoy using them. They handle all my fountain pens without question and feel of a very high quality. When I finish these two packs I will be ordering some more colours to try out.
Where to buy:
These were purchased by me from Bureau Direct using the May discount code for 10% off. I highly recommend joining the Bureau's mailing list as the emails they send out are informative, the regular competitions are filled with goodies if you manage to win and they give a 10% offer code on the first Wednesday of each month. Bureau Direct offer free delivery on purchases totalling more than £10.