Clive Farrar and the Jubilee Pencil – June 2012


We’d like to introduce you to Clive Farrar, Production Services Manager here at Derwent.


He loves to make things, so we tasked him with a big challenge – to make a pencil for Her Majesty The Queen! The pencil, which included a stunning diamond and white gold top, was presented to The Queen in a beautiful handmade wooden box.



The making of the Diamond Jubilee Pencils was a challenge for all involved. The body of the pencils were handmade using archived Cumberland Graphite originally taken from the Seathwaite Mine in Borrowdale where graphite was first discovered in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. To make the pencils Clive had to revive traditional pencil making skills used by craftsmen prior to 1832 when the first pencil factory was opened in Keswick. ‘The biggest challenge’ said Clive ‘was to achieve an even thickness of graphite, just 2.6mm, from a single lump of material using a band saw!’ Once the time consuming job of fitting the graphite into the slats of incense cedar was complete Clive rigged up a small lathe to ‘turn’ the pencil barrels into perfect cylinders which were then sanded down by hand with very fine wire wool ready for painting with a black water-based paint.

The barrels were then embellished with elegant hand written calligraphy by master scribe Paul Antonio using the first new nib for dip pens designed and manufactured in 100 years. Speaking about the process Paul said ‘I used a script developed in England in the 17th century called English Roundhand; it is one of the most difficult hands to master and was made doubly difficult as the surface of the pencil was curved!’

Finally, the hand crafted pencils received their crowning glory, a sparkling white gold and diamond crown designed by jewellery designer Daniela Paladi and handmade by Mario Pietroluongo, a Master Goldsmith from Pforzheim, Germany’s gold city. The dazzling pencil crown is diamond shaped and holds 60 encrusted diamonds that sparkle in the light and are supported by white gold lilies to symbolise royalty.

Speaking about the pencil Clive said ‘I was honoured to make the pencil. It was certainly a challenge and is probably the most rewarding “special”” I have ever dealt with. The pinacle of my career? Oh yes!

To view the Diamond Jubilee Pencil visit the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick for details of opening times visit or call 017687 73626.