If you buy fountain pens, then you’ve probably stumbled across the term “iridium-tipped” at some point in regards to fountain pen nibs. But do you know anything about iridium? I knew it was used to harden the nibs of pens but I did not know it was one of the hardest metals in existence. I have also noticed recently that some pen manufacturers are describing the material they use to tip nibs as “iridium alloy”. I also didn’t know that its also one of the most expensive metals in the world. As of today, iridium is selling for upwards of $925 per troy ounce. For some scale, gold is at about $1300. Crazy.
Nibs.com has a detailed article about the iridium and alternatives used for nibs.
(via Wired 21.08, article is not currently available online but is the current Aug 2013 issue on newsstands today)