ink or paper review

Shimmering Inks …

 

Since may be 2-3 years shimmer inks became more visible in the fountain pen and ink “scene”, I would say. I never had a huge like for these inks but I tested one exemplar. It was the J. Herbin ink 1670 Bleu Ocean, ca. two years ago. Actually, I was not satisfied at all with this ink. Neither it shew (and still shows) a well behavior on the technical side (it bleeds through) nor has it a well shimmer effect. I was disapointed. But may be I got a bottle from an extremely bad production day – I don’t know. Lateley, I got aware of Diamine Shimmer Inks. I was sceptical in the beginning, but from that what I saw in the web I was very excited. Well, that happens quite often. I see all the well prepared ink tests, showing copper plate tests or writing samples with very nice and adorable exceuted hand writing – very, very nice, indeed but in practice … well.

I bought 2 bottles and since I was quite happy, I got 4 more bottles, afterwards.

Today, I want to show you 6 shimmer inks from Diamine and the above mentioned J.Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean ink:

  • Diamine Sparkling Shadows (grey ink, with golden flakes)
  • Diamine Golden Oasis (green ink with golden flakes)
  • Diamine Blue Flame (dark blue ink with golden flakes)
  • Diamine Blue lighning (turquoise ink with silver flakes)
  • Diamine Shimmering Seas (blue-black ink with golden flakes)
  • Diamine Golden Sands (light-brown ink with golden flakes) – my absolute favorite
  • J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean (very dark blue with little golden shimmer)

All in all, none of the Diamine inks are disapointing (to me). Quite the opposite, they have very good properties in terms of show through and bleed through, but I checked only on Rhodia White, 80g/m2 which is a quite well performing paper and suitable for fountain pen inks. However, the J.Herbin ink is actually bleeding through. The darker inks do show through quite visible but for me it is no big deal. My favorite ink is in any case the Golden Sands ink followed by the Golden Oasis.

Apart from the esthetical perspective, I didn’t run into problems with the ink flow or with congested feeds, at all! This is a good sign. The Golden Sand ink contains very much of the glitter (accordong to my feeling). I filled one of my pens with it over one month and it has shown no issues in this period. Also, after one week of not using it. Hence, I trust these inks in this respect. What I anyway not dare to do is filling such an ink into a Montblanc whose guaranty (2 years) has not yet expired, because the people from MB are so picky in this respect. I heard if one encounters feed-related issues the guaranty is no longer valid for these parts of the pen. It is obvious, that it is easier to find remnants from shimmer inks than from regular inks in a feed and MB does not produce shimmer inks (per September 2017). But ok, this is for many people a no-brainer, anyway.

I can summarize actually here all pros and cons because at least the Diamine inks show the same behavior. All inks are quite wet (for me it is a plus), the darker inks are highly saturated, no bleed through, a level of show through in accordance to their brightness (quite normal, I would say), a strong shimmerimg effect – here it turned out, the brighter the ink, the stronger the effect. Also, all inks show a good to phantastic shading – the brighter/lower saturated, the stronger. Everything else is a matter of taste, so enjoy the photographs and scans (individual issues worth to be reported you will find in the figure captures.

I find, shimmer inks adding a graet value to the handwriting if used for letters or birthday cards and stuff like this – may be not to a signature under an employment contract or a peace treaty … but hey, its peace, man …

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Photographs of shimmer inks under daylight. Phone was placed directly above the paper, the shimmer effect becomes quite low. Even lower in case of a scan.

Diamine Blue Flame

Diamine Shimmer ink - Blue Flame
Diamine Shimmer ink – Blue Flame
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D.  Blue Flame. A quite dark ink with not very strong shading in the used pen at least. The glitter/flakes are golden and may be also show further colors. The ink shows quite visible through the Rhodia paper but does not bleed through

Diamine Golden Oasisdiamine_golden_oasis_2-

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D. Golden Oasis.  Very pleasing green ink with very strong glitter effect. Great shading. Visible show through, negligible bleed through (only under pressure of the nib).

 

Diamine Golden Sands

Diamine Shimmer ink - Golden Sands
Diamine Shimmer ink – Golden Sands
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D. Golden Sands. Nice light brown tone, lots of shading and strong glitter effect. Just phantastic …

Diamine Sparkling Shadows

Diamine Shimmer ink - Sparkling Shadows
Diamine Shimmer ink – Sparkling Shadows

 

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D. Sparkling Shadows. A grey ink with golden flakes. Good shading as well as good other properties. Just for me the least pleasing Diamine ink I show here, but that is just my taste. Nothing wrong with it, otherwise.

 

Diamine Blue Lightning

Diamine Shimmer ink - Blue Lightning
Diamine Shimmer ink – Blue Lightning
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D. Blue Lightning. Silver glitter flakes! fitting very well to the cold turquoise color. Great shading.

Diamine Shimmering Seas

Diamine Shimmer ink - Shimmering Seas
Diamine Shimmer ink – Shimmering Seas
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D. Shimmering Seas. Like Golden Oasis and Golden Sands quite flashy effect und er the right light. The in itself is quite dark and saturated.

J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean

J.Herbin Ocean Bleu
J. Herbin, 1670 Ocean Bleu
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J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean.  Dark blue and quite shasingless ink. The glitter effect is very low! One can also say, quite decent. But for a shimmer ink too low to my taste. Bad behavior when it comes to bleed through. This ink feathers also quite strongly (at least on the Rhodia paper).
ink or paper review

Orange Inks – an update …

Hi folks. When I last week uploaded the report about orange inks, I was already sure, that I have missed at least one orange ink. After a while it was clear, which ink it was: Diamine Blaze Orange. Verdammt, god verdomde, fy fæn, dammit – those were the words which came straight to my mind in order to compensate my own stupidness. Because it came even worse, actually! Oh yes! I have forgotten also the more yellowish Rohrer & Klingner Schreibtinte Helianthus. The last one I found when I searched for the Diamine ink which is filled in one of the typical unpretentious 30ml-mini-plastic-bottles, which are easily to oversee in the cave I call my treasure chest of ink (or the other way round).

Well, I decided not to stuff the report from last week with the two new inks but writing an addendum. Since it was appropriate, I compared both inks (remember: orange and yellow) with its most fitting “counterparts” from the last report – just see the images. By the way, in the writing samples, I call the Diamine Blaze Orange wrongly “Blazing” Orange, I apologize for this mistake.

Diamine Blaze Orange

Pro:

  • good shading
  • wet but not very wet
  • going to be saturated
  • no bleed through on Rhodia paper and Oxford (I did not checked Ikea)
  • good properties in terms of show through on same paper mentioned above. But of course, the ink is higher saturated so you really see something on the reas side oft he paper.
  • Cheap! I had hope this ink would be very similar to the expensive Montblanc ink Lucky orange (remember: Diamine Amber does not differ so much from MB Golden Yellow), but my hopes were destroyed, both inks look different (not on the photographs I uploaded here).

Con:

  • Again, the narrow opening of the little bottle. It allows only converters or slimmer piston pens to slip into it. But bigger glass-bottles from Diamine do not show this kind of flaws (than again, these ones do not allow to incline (as Pelikan-4001-ink bottles do) to let pens get refilled more easily.
  • The ink itself is quite proper, I don’t see any issue. But I expect the same draw backs on cheap papers as for the other orange inks.

Rohrer & Klingner Schreibtinte Helianthus (Sunflower)

Pro:

  • very “flashy”
  • nice shading
  • no bad properties on Rhodia or Oxford papers
  • very wet (yes, for people who like it on the dry side oft he spectrum, this is a con)
  • although not very fancy, I like the design oft he bottle and the label
  • quite cheap ink

Con:

  • nothing very particular, but the ink dries out at the bottle (threads) so that an orange powder remains (see image). I recognized the same behavior at the Montblanc Golden yellow ink (without mention it in the last report). This is actually not an issue, but the powder may fall down on your clothes, so take care! I had no issues so far with congested feeds or so, but I use to clean the pens quite often. Thus, in case you get the ink dry out in your pen you might run into problems. I am not willing to test that out.
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Deposits of dryed ink on the threads of the ink bottles. To the left, Rohrer & Klingner Helianthus, to the right, Montblanc Golden Yellow. The almost same yellow ink from Diamine (D. Amber) does not show this behavior.

Writung samples

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Writing sample of Diamine Blaze Orange on Rhodia White paper (80g/m2), front side on top, and rear side on bottom. The comparison between This ink and MB Lucky Orange reveals stronger differences than could be shown by this photograph.
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Writing sample of Rohrer & Klingner Helianthus on Rhodia White paper (80g/m2), front side on top, and rear side on bottom. Diamine Amber looks in nature a bit more different than on the photograph. Sorry for the mistake I made, the inks name is Rohrer … not Rhorer … I blame it on the Rhodia paper 🙂
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Diamine Blaze Orange and Rohrer & Klingner Helianthus on Oxford Office Book (90g/m2). Front page and rear page.
ink or paper review

Orange Inks (Part I)

OK, I admit it, I like orange and yellowish inks! They give me the feeling of summer and the sun, which I miss so much here up north where I use to live. Seriously! However, I don’t use those inks very often, anyway … Why? Because I have seen it enough after a while. And because there are also other beautiful ink colors such as blue shades, red shades or brown shades (one can argue, the latter ones are just darker orange tones – that’s right … but then again, not entirely true: a cup of coffee, even if diluted with milk, has nothing in common with orange juice. OK, both are drinks).

I had a look on the following inks:

  • Montblanc Lucky Orange
  • Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
  • Diamine Amber
  • Lamy Orange
  • Montblanc Golden Yellow

and a roller ball pen from Mitsubishi (uni-ball orange with a fine tip)

Something general

Well, ok, this is my first ink review. And it will be very subjective. I don’t have the possibilities to test the ink with 5 different papers in five different pens (filled each ink, that is), or performing a chromatography, although it would be very exciting, but I don’t have, and will not get chromatography-paper here in Norway, either. Therefore, I will perform a “test” on the papers or notebooks I use to write on most of the time. These are paperblanks journals/note books, Rhodia paper (in white and ivory, i.e. 80g/m2 and 90g/m2) and Oxford or Clairefontaine. Ooops, that’s already five … Ok, but I won’t test 10 papers, basta!

I found it anyway interesting to see how these inks behave on cheap paper such as from IKEA. And since my interest has awaken, I also tried Leuchtturm paper as well as an Oxford office book which was laying around open a couple of weeks and caught moisture (I can tell you it behaves completeley different compared to “fresh” paper). Therefore, an ink-review is always also a paper review, at least partly.

First I tried to scan the writing sample rather than shoot a still of it, because the white balance is tricky to keep constant over several test episodes. But it turned out the scanner resembles the color, and shading of the inks very badly. Thus, I came back to still fotography – even though the white balance is going to hell … But then again, your screens, my honoured readers, will most likely be not calibrated, anyway.

I found some criteria to be important: shading, wetness, show through, bleed through as well as the subtle changes of the line width caused by different absorbency of the papers (I will show you examples).

Since I really investigated the behavior in depth I will devote a separate blogpost to this, afterwards (Part II). However, in order to keep the heads up of the readers so far (you are falling asleep, don’t you?), I come to the point right below.

The Results

In the order of my best liking.

Diamine Amber:

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Pro:

  • very good shading
  • low saturation (I like this feature, people who don’t, may put this into the cons-section)
  • quite wet (which I also like)
  • no bleed through and show through (strong decline for papers not suitable for fountain pens, though. But that is valid for other inks, too – that’s why these papers are not fountain pen ink friendly).
  • cheap

Con:

  • nothing, unless one loves dry inks or higher saturated fluids
  • ok, there is one more thing: the small 30ml plastic bottle does not allow thicker fountain pens to slip in.

 

Montblanc Golden Yellow

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Pro:

  • very good shading
  • low saturation
  • quite wet
  • no bleed through and show through (see the remark above)

Con:

  • very expensive
  • limited availablity – makes the prices on ebay even higher, when the inks are sold out in most shops – the good thing: Diamine Amber looks similar and is a cheap alternative.
  • ink bottle less proper to fill pens than the regular standard bottles (shoe-shape)

 

Montblanc Lucky Orange

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Pro:

  • quite good shading but far less pronounced than in the yellow inks
  • very “blazing” orange shade
  • wet (drying time is long, though)
  • behaves good to very good in terms of show through and bleed through on suitbale papers

Con:

  • very expensive
  • limited availablity – makes the prices on ebay even higher, when the inks are sold out in most shops
  • LE-ink bottles are less proper to fill pens than the regular standard bottles
  • the luminance fades a bit away right after drying

 

Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin

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Pro:

  • shading (diminishes very much on less suitable paper)
  • quite wet for an Edelstein ink (my experience is that the Edelstein inks are on the dryer side of the spectrum)
  • behaves good to very good in terms of show through and bleed through on suitable papers
  • standard ink (no limited availability)

Con:

  • not cheap but not extraordinary expensive, either
  • no particular cons, it does simply not flash me as much as the other inks do
  • ok, one con more: the ink bottle ist bad for refilling pens when the ink level is low. But the bottle itself looks very stylish

 

Lamy Orange

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Pro:

  • shading on most papers
  • technically ok
  • nothing very special here, it does its job
  • ink bottle contains blotting paper (if this ink is available in bottles – I use cartidges of this ink, only)

Con:

  • it really lacks shading and luminance (compared to the other fountain pen inks)
  • it s a bit dry to my taste, but some people will regard this as an advantage

 

Mitsubishi Uni-pen eye orange (fine) – non-competetive

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Pro (in terms of for what it is supposed to use):

  • dries quickly
  • quite luminous ink for what it is

Con:

  • surprisingly low eligibility on cheap papers or on those which are not made for fountain pen ink (eg. Paperblanks dayplanner). May be this is due to the fact of the fine tip, a broader tip would not cut out paper fibres so quickly.

 

The bottom line

The Diamine Amber is very similar to the Montblanc (MB) Golden Yellow in terms of color and shading – on all tested papers. It turns out that the Diamine Amber has the nicest shading (i.e. the most pronounced) of all tested inks. Also technically, in terms of show through or bleed trough it shows the best behavior, followed by the yellow ink from Montblanc. This is most likely the effect of the brightness (it is obvious, the brighter the ink the less it will shine through the paper). All inks loose their “capabilities” on “bad” paper such as the paper from IKEA but also expensive ones used in the paperblanks dayplanner. This paper is thinner and a bit more smooth compared to the remaining journals from this manufacturer – thus, even though the paper used in the dayplanner might be qualitatively very good it is simply unsuitable for the use of fountain pens, though. I did not check it out, but it might be much more useful for ball pens.

Whereas the Diamine ink plays out its best properties on the suitabe paper types, behaves the MB Golden Yellow best of all inks on the less suitbale papers. Anyway, serious fountain pen users won’t pay too much attention to unsuitable papers, don’t they?

The Edelstein Mandarine ink behaves more averaged, comparable to the MB Lucky Orange which is a bit more saturated and more “flashy” due to its intense brightness. On less suitable paper both inks loose their nice properties (shading and brightness).

Lamy Orange is somewhat the weakest ink in the list without beeing bad at all. Just to my taste it has no fresh looks and technically it is more prone to show through or even slightly bleed through some papers. The shading of the Lamy is quite well and not worse than Lucky Orange or Edelstein Mandarine, but is outcompeted by the more yellowish inks on the list (Diamne Amber and MB Golden Yellow).

One aspect I found out is, that “aged” paper, that lie about on a desk for a couple of weeks and might had caught moisture (not rain!), looses dramatically in quality so that the aging kills somewhat the performance of the ink (or the paper …).

For the sake of fun I also checked out a Japanese ball pen, the Mitsubishi uni-ball Orange. Well its ink is quite boring (e.g. no shading at all) but without claiming to be fancy, of course. Well it does its job quite ok, but is surprisingly prone to show through and bleed through on both types of papers, the suitable ones and the less suitable ones for fountain pens.

The writing samples

Here, still shots and scans are shown. Note that scans do not resemble the luminousity and the shading of the inks properly. Photographs suffer from unsteady white balance, though. I only give here some examples of the numerous papers I checked out).

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Writing samples of all tested inks on Rhodia white 80g/m2 and ivory (90g/m2) – foto

 

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Writing sample (scan) on Rhodia white.
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Writing sample on Clairefontaine Triomphe (90g/m2), scan.
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Writing sample on Offord Office Book (90g/m2, scan image)

 

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Writing sample on IKEA paper (scan)
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Writing sample on an “aged” Oxford office book (same as mentioned above). “Aged” means the book lies open a while and paper was exposed to the ambient conditions (air moisture etc.). The effect is, that the inks lacking shading and luminousity to a certain degree. The paper itself react with stronger show through and bleed through, also the lines getting thicker.

 

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Line thickness variation on different papers (dependent on adsorbency).
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Rear side of both Rhodia papers (to the left: Rhodia white, to the right: Rhodia ivory. No bleed through is visible. Show through is stronger for the Rhodia White.