Grant Macdonald London | Albany Adder Letter Opener


“On the very same day that I ordered an iPad 2, I went shopping to buy myself a letter opener. I like to cover all my bases.’’

— Susan Orlean

 There are few things more exciting than receiving a letter. A real one. Stamped, addressed by hand, sealed with a loving kiss. There’s something undeniably elegant about the art of letter writing, and to really set off the romance of the experience, a letter opener is just the thing.




Although perhaps we’re biased. We’ve been making fine silver letter openers since the 1970s, and over the years we’ve become devoted to the elegant form of a beautifully balanced blade.

Then again, they’ve had centuries to grow on us. These stylised, blunted knives have been in circulation for as long as people have been sealing their missives in envelopes, but they were first mentioned in writing in the middle of the nineteenth century. Originally used to slice through or cut away wax seals, the elegant tools became a mainstay in desk sets as literacy rates soared following the medieval period. These status symbols held a practical use, but they were often beautifully designed, often resembling small swords and ornate daggers that occasionally featured a family crest - acknowledging the fact that the owner was wealthy, and able to read.

As time went on, the letter opener rolled through stylistic trends, from neo-Gothic to neo-Baroque, and by the time Grant Macdonald began to create his own designs in the 1970s, he had a rich heritage of letter openers to draw upon. 

Since those early designs, we’ve refined the art. Our SCRIBE collection adds distinction to any desk, marrying cutting edge technology with traditional craftsmanship to establish unique and complex forms whilst keeping the design beautifully functional. And our latest paper knife is a love letter to our craftsmen’s skill. 



The Albany adder is one of the world’s rarest snakes, a species of dwarf adder with only seventeen known records. Under threat from open cast mining, wind turbine and road developments, the Albany adder hovers at the edge of extinction unless urgent intervention takes place. We’re drawing attention to the plight of this beautiful snake through the sterling silver design of our latest letter opener. With a silver,  24ct gold plate or an oxidised finish, these limited edition paper knives will bring a little danger to your desk.  Look out for these on our website soon.

Share this post