Okay, we’ll admit it; we can’t remember the last time we wrote a letter — let alone opened one with a letter opener. But, as we know, traditional touches (from wearing proper pyjamas to changing into driving loafers before you get behind the wheel) are the true mark of a modern gentleman.
And that extends to your letter-opening. After all, slipping a paperknife into your mail and gently easing open your envelopes is a considerably more refined — and less papercut-prone — way to get to your letters than tearing them apart…
Go for the classic leather-handled paper knife
There’s something innately distinguished about leather. Be it the binding of a book or the top of your desk, leather is the traditional, sturdy cornerstone to any study. It follows, then, that paperknife purists would also want their letter opener to be adorned in leather.
Our picks would have to be this option from Linley, handled in navy Scandinavian leather, and Graf von Faber-Castell’s Epsom, with detailing in cognac Italian calfskin.
Invest in an objet d’art with a scaly letter opener
Most of the time, your letter opener will be sitting unused on your desk. As such, you’ll want to invest in something that not only plays the part, but looks the part as well. Decorative and distinctive, these options riff on the reptilian — and feature scaly patterns.
From L’Objet, this ‘Turtle’ option is crafted from brushed brass, and features the geometric shapes of a turtle’s carapace. Alternatively, go the whole crocodile and buy this opener from Nach Bijoux — hand-painted and created from porcelain.
Opt for a ruthenium paper knife to make a statement
Any idea what ruthenium is? No, we didn’t either. Turns out that it’s used in electronic resistors and the turbines of jet engines. Somewhat more interestingly — and applicably — though, it’s also used to create letter openers.
And some letter openers they are, too. This sleek knife from Montblanc may be the best-looking on the list, with its wooden inlay and subtle branded badge. Or, if you want to keep things traditional, Elsa Peretti’s Padova opener features a ruthenium coating over copper, and is available from Tiffany & Co.
Tackle your envelopes with pure sterling silver
Nothing will take the sting away from opening your monthly bills as much as a decadent sterling silver letter opener. Sophisticated, smart and highly-shined, these silver offerings are the gold standard of office accessories.
From Aspinal of London, this elegant sterling silver letter opener features a diamond cross-section blade and rattail pistol grip handle. Or, from Patrick Mavros, the Shangaan Arrowhead paperknife is named for an ethnic group native to South Africa and southern Mozambique.
Aspinal of London Sterling Silver Letter Opener
Patrick Mavros Shangaan Arrowhead Paperknife
Upgrade your office game with a multipurpose paperknife
As we said, not many of us really need a letter opener — it’s just a nice traditional touch to bring our wirelessly-charging, futuristic touchscreen offices back to reality. But what if your letter opener also doubled up as another handy office accessory?
Take Studio Carta’s measurement letter opener; gold-plated and engraved with inches so you can also use it as a ruler. Or Carl Auböck’s brass offering, complete with looping grip on the end so it can also function as a bookmark.
While we’re feeling sharp, why not take a look at the best subscription razors to buy…