Thursday, 5 November 2015

Shimmering Inks

There have been a number of shimmering inks appearing recently. These are inks that have particles of metal dust or other fine particles that will catch the light.
There was the much announced Emerald de Chivor by J Herbin (green with gold) which joined the other inks in their 1670 range - stormy grey (grey with gold), ocean blue (blue with gold) and rouge hematite (red with gold).

Then a few weeks ago, Diamine announced their new Shimmertastic range which has ten different colours - Magical Forest (green with silver), Night Sky (black with silver), Blue Pearl (dark blue with silver), Brandy Dazzle (cognac colour with gold), Purple Pazzazz (purple with gold), Golden sands (deep yellow with gold), Sparkling Shadows (dark grey with gold), Blue Lightning (turquoise with silver), Shimmering Seas (purple-blue with gold) and Red Lustre (red with gold). The picture below is taken from their press release at Goulet Pens (apologies for my watermarking obscuring their logo!).

Anyway, despite already possessing more ink than I can possibly get through in a lifetime, I decided to treat myself to some of these shimmering inks. I've got six in total - three by J Herbin and three by Diamine. I reviewed the three J Herbin inks (see here) but I thought it was high time to do a compare and contrast.

The three J Herbin versions I have are: Emerald de Chivor, Ocean Blue and Stormy Grey. The Diamine inks are: Blue Lightning, Blue Pearl and Night Sky.

The J Herbin sparkling inks are on sale at Cult Pens at the moment at £14.59 for a 30ml bottle (no affiliation, just a happy customer). The Diamine Shimmertastic inks are £8.95 for a 30ml bottle (also at Cult Pens) - about 60% of the price of the J Herbin inks.

I have three pens inked up with shimmering inks but I wanted to compare all six that I have. I have a glass dip pen and so I did the same thing with each ink - shook the bottle for 20 seconds to ensure the sparkly bits were well distributed, dipped the glass pen in to the same depth, then wrote the name of the ink and the ubiquitous The Quick Brown Fox... sentence. All the samples were written on Original Crown Mill white vellum paper. I tried to photograph each sample from above and from the side.
Man, these were hard to photograph!! Not helped by it being a grey day in Scotland, but even so...
Each ink sample is shown photographed from above and then from the side. Click on pictures to enlarge.

I also tried the three pens that are inked up and wrote (pretty much) the same thing:

So, what do I think? Let's take them brand by brand and then ink by ink.

J Herbin v Diamine:
The J Herbin are more expensive than the Diamine and the quality does show through to some degree. I don't know what it is about the J Herbin inks though, but they creep everywhere! I think that they must have a different surface tension to other inks, allowing them to climb surfaces and just generally get everywhere! I'm not the only one who found this - I sent a sample of the Emerald de Chivor to a good friend and he said it got everywhere too! That's not just a disadvantage because you get inky hands when the pens are refilled, but also the inks penetrate through (some) paper quite significantly - even paper that has been pretty resistant with other inks and never shown a problem before. They also have a tendency to feather more - you can see it to some degree in the samples written with pens - and lay down a thicker line.
Diamine ink doesn't seem to have the same property but the disadvantage seems to be that after not using a pen for a while, it is resistant to start writing. The Night Sky in the Sheaffer calligraphy has been fairly problematic with variable feed and drying out, whereas the Ocean Blue (also in a Sheaffer calligraphy) has started first time, each time. There's no getting around it - the J Herbin inks are wet to the point of sopping whereas the Diamines are on the dry side (at least in my pens).

Ink by ink:
1. Ocean Blue
I like the density of the colour but to me, the sparkliness of the ink seems quite limited on the Crown vellum. I would be hard pushed to spot it, even when using a calligraphy nib and a litre of ink is being laid down with each stroke (okay - I exaggerate, but it seems a bit that way!). However, when I reviewed my J Herbin inks a while back, this looked incredibly sparkly! I think all of the inks are paper-dependent for showing off their true values. (The previous reviews used Tomoe River paper)

2. Blue Pearl
Again, a lovely depth to the colour and more sparkle to it than the Ocean Blue on this paper. I also slightly prefer the silver and blue combination as opposed to the gold and blue combo, but that's personal taste.

3. Stormy Grey
In contrast to the Ocean Blue, there's almost too much gold coming through in this one and it makes the grey look yellow. Others may love that, but I'm less of a fan. Unless the light really catches the gold and makes it sparkle (which, I note, it did in my earlier review), the grey can look a little jaundiced.

4. Night Sky
The black and silver combination (with a hint of purple in the right light) is just gorgeous. The downside (but it might be pen-specific) was that when I filled a Sheaffer calligraphy with this, it took an age to get started, then had pretty poor feed, before finally getting into its stride. I then left the pen alone for a day or two and it's dry and reluctant to start. The level of shimmer on it is good and there aren't the feathering and bleed-through issues of the J Herbin.

5. Blue Lightning
I used this to write to a friend and neither of us were overwhelmed by the sparkliness, although both thought that the turquoise was a very pretty colour. However, it might have been the paper that I was using (airmail) as when I wrote on different paper, the silver shimmer was much more evident. It's still subtle, but with the right paper this is a very pretty combination.

6. Emerald de Chivor
I do love this ink! It's a wet to sopping ink but that allows the depth of colour and shading to show through as well as the sparkles. There seems to be more colours in the ink, beyond merely green - blues, reds, yellows - depending on the line thickness and amount of ink laid down. It's probably my favourite of the six sparkling inks, even if it has a tendency to bleed right through normally ink-resistant paper.

In summary:
Both sets of ink are great. The J Herbin are perhaps a slightly better quality - I would like to compare and contrast them with chromatography tests; I think there will be a bigger range of pigments in the J Herbin inks - but for the price, the Diamine are fabulous value. To get the full effect seems to be somewhat paper-dependent, with a glossier paper (such as Clairefontaine, Tomoe River etc.) giving a better result than more matt paper. Emerald de Chivor looks good on any paper but the others do seem to need to be on a paper where the ink sits for a moment, allowing the ink to dry and the gold/silver to end up on the top.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Review of the Conklin Durograph in Forest Green

As a combination of a treat for my birthday and to commemorate me leaving work, I bought myself a Conklin Durograph in Forest Green.

Conklin Durograph in Forest Green

It arrived packaged in a card slip cover containing a navy box.

Box in slip cover

Inside the box was the pen and some instructions and two standard (short) cartridges and the converter. I prefer bottled ink (and have LOTS of bottles of ink) so I screwed the converter in. Yep, you read that right - the converter screws in, rather than pushes in. A couple of reviewers have said that they have found that screw-thread to be tricky and that it doesn't thread properly without being really careful, but I can't say that that was the case for me. It's threaded in okay every time I've used it, so far.

Box open

The exterior of the pen is gorgeous. The body is made of resin with a good depth of colour and pearlescent flecks. At the base of the barrel is a solid black end piece, separated from the rest of the barrel with a chrome trim. The cap has a similar end piece, with Conklin Est. 1898 on it. I suspect that this writing will wear off in time as it is just painted on. Again, the black end piece is separated from the rest of the cap with a chrome trim which is part of a VERY sturdy clip. There is another chrome trim further down the cap which has Conklin Durograph etched on it. The cap screws on.

Cap removed, the body of the pen is black with a fairly substantial looking nib. The stub nib has entirely polished chrome finish; other nibs have a two-tone nib.

Dismembered and still beautiful!

I'd thought, when I'd been using it, that it was a heavy pen, but when I compared how much each of my pens weigh, I was surprised to find that the Conklin wasn't much heavier than most of my pens at all! Both the TWSBI 540 and the Conklin (unposted) come in at 14g; a Sheaffer calligraphy pen is 12g and the Platinum PTL-5000 is 13g. It is chunkier in its girth though at 12mm for the barrel.

So, never mind what it looks like, how does it write?

Beautifully. There isn't much (if any) spring in the nib, but then, it's chromed steel so why would there be? It lays down a lot of ink (depending on the ink/paper combination, sometimes too much), giving great shading with inks. The nib is smooth and glides easily across paper, without skipping. It 'starts first time' - i.e. if it's not been written with for a few days, it writes immediately. The only disadvantage is that if I'm writing on some papers (like the Leuchtturm A4+ notebook, which seems to encourage LOTS of ink to flow), it can fairly rattle through the reservoir of ink! On other paper (such as Original Crown Mill vellum) it lays down much less ink.

I love the pen. It's special because it marks a major change in my life (not just my birthday), it's drop-dead gorgeous (to me, anyway!) and it's also a great pen to write with. Which, after all, is what matters!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review of the Platinum PTL-5000

I treated myself to this to celebrate something special, but I will tell you more about what that was in the future! For now, let me just review the Platinum PTL-5000.

Platinum PTL-5000

I got this because although I do own quite a lot of fountain pens, I didn't have one with a gold nib. I also don't have thousands of pounds to spend on gold-nibbed fountain pens but this one came in at a very decent price. I got mine from Cult Pens (no affiliation; I paid for it!) and as ever, it arrived the day after ordering. No, I'm not paid by Cult Pens but I have only ever had fantastic service from them and I can recommend them very highly.

The pen arrived with a card slip cover containing the pen box.

plastic box with pen and bits and bobs in

This is an entry level pen and the bulk of the costs have gone into the nib, so it was no great surprise that the box was slightly less than classy. But I don't keep my pens in their original boxes - the boxes go in a cupboard and the pens sit in a pen-tray on my desk, so I don't really care that the box wasn't too special.

Inside the box was the pen, a converter, a cartridge and an instruction booklet.

Contents with the converter out of its little box

The instruction manual was a little superfluous.

The body and barrel of the pen are glossy black plastic. It feels a little flimsy but that might be because I've been using the Conklin Durograph so much recently and that feels like a real chunky monkey. However, when I weighed the pens, the Conklin was 14g and this Platinum came in at 13g so barely any difference at all. With the cap posted, it weighs 17g, but I never post pens because it always feels as if the weight is too far back in my hand.


I have bottles (and bottles!) of ink, so I put the converter in. It has a very positive click/feel when fully engaged. It took a couple of fill-empty-fill-empty routines to get it to fill fully but then it was all primed and ready to go. I filled it with Pelikan Topaz.

The nib I ordered was a medium, but it has to be noted that a Japanese medium is finer than a UK medium. I would describe it as closer to medium-fine. Interestingly, the feed is see-through!

Clear feed

The nib
The gold nib has a bit of  spring to it. Not too 'boingy' but there is a nice amount of give/flex. It felt a tiny bit toothy/scratchy but this may be because it's not a stub nib and that's what I've been writing with for yonks. It may also smooth up with writing. Ink flow was great and there was good shading with the lines. It felt light in my hand, but this may be because it's slimmer than the Conklin (and the TWSBI which are the two I've been using a lot recently).

Writing sample on Original Crown vellum

After doing the test on Original Crown vellum paper, I've used the pen in the Leuchtturm A4+ notebook (reviewed here) and can say that the pen feels much better - a lovely feel to it and nowhere near as toothy as on the Original Crown paper. It's fabulous.

The pen was bought as a work-horse pen -something I can write and write with and not have any issues. I'm sure that it will fulfil this role wonderfully. It wasn't bought as a drop-dead gorgeous, "ooh, isn't it pretty!" pen (and it meets that expectation too).

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review of Leuchtturm A4+ notebook

[Sorry for the absence of posts... who knew 'retiring' was going to be busier than being at work??]

Anyway, LONG overdue is this review of a Leuchtturm A4+ notebook. I've just started using it for writing more notes about the latest book and then realised I hadn't actually reviewed it!

Leuchtturm A4+ notebook

It's larger than A4, measuring 315mm x 225mm (page size = 313mm x 222mm; c.f. A4 = 297mm x 210mm) with a hard cover with leather-effect vinyl. There is a ribbon marker and a vertical elastic closure. There is no pen loop. According to the label, the paper is 100gsm.

Info on the label

When you open it, there is space for your name and address. I never fill that in but tend to write what the contents of the notebooks are (e.g. notes on book x). Inevitably, that name/address page is stuck to the page behind, but as that's another sheet of plain paper, it's fine.

Then comes the table of contents. It's got 30 lines per page and 3 pages, so 90 spaces to list the contents of 233 sheets (or more than 2.5 pages per index line). Maybe that will work out for me, but given the enormous size of each page, I'm not sure it will. I would have liked to have seen 4 pages of index rather than 3.

Table of contents layout

Each of the pages in the main part of the book are numbered (1-233) and have a top margin, labelled Date, then a broader line space, then 32 lines, with a margin to the outer edge of the page. The sizes of all of these are in the figure below.

Page layout

detail of the page numbering

I like the prompt to write the date on each page. I'm terrible for forgetting to date things and then years later, looking at them and thinking, "I wonder when I wrote this?" The broader first line/space below the Date margin is handy for titling the page/section.

The side margin hasn't been used yet, but I know I will use it for flagging where notes continue, or where I might need to cross-reference.
The line spacing, at 8.5mm, is a bit broad for me, though it has worked well with the two 1.1mm stub nibbed pens I have. When I've shifted back to a regular medium nib, my writing has looked a bit swamped by the line spacing.

The paper is lovely and thick, and very smooth to write on. With most of my pens, there is no feathering, no bleed-through and no show-through. That said, a couple of my 1.1mm nibs have bled through to the other side, which considering the paper is 100gsm and allegedly 'ink-proof' was a bit disappointing. But, it was an especially wet ink/nib combo and there was no feathering or show-through. Less wet combinations have been absolutely fine. A good friend of mine had said that he'd experienced issues with the paper in that the lines on the page had been almost glossy and been quite ink-resistant with the pen skipping on them but I haven't found that, so maybe we've experienced different batches or they've changed the paper at some point.

The last 8 sheets (pages 219-233) are perforated so that you can remove them. The perforations are very fine and there would be no chance of the paper becoming loose if you didn't want to remove them.

The ribbon marker is okay, but is thin and light and gets a bit drowned by the size of the book. I'm tempted to thread a charm or bead on to it so that it doesn't wriggle back into the book so easily. The elastic closure is fine - firm enough to keep the book closed but no use for trying to trap a pen with. This is a book that stays on my desk though, where there is a glut of pens!

As described on the label, the book lies pretty flat. The pages tend to spring up a bit, but the spine does open to a full 180 degrees.

At the back is a pocket which will take A4 paper, though the gusseting does get in the way a bit. There is a sheet of labels - two lined (92mm x 72mm), two plain (92mm x 72mm) and three for the spine (187mm x 17mm). The sheet says "Please use these stickers for labelling the spine of your Leuchtturm 1917 book when you want to archive it" which feels a bit bossy to me! But that's just me! I tend to write on the spines with a silver pen because I think the stickers look tacky and might peel off.

Other than the usual embossed Leuchtturm1917 on the back, there is no other branding on the outside.

I really like this book. The paper is fantastic and the acreage feels wonderful! It also makes me keep my desk a bit tidier, otherwise I can't open the book out! The line-spacing is a little wide for me but I do like the prompt on each page to date the notes. I'll reserve judgement on the index but I sense I will run out of lines in it before I've filled the book.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Moleskine soft cover lined notebook - review

I should know by now... I really should. But I'm such an optimist that I still carry this hope that a Moleskine notebook will be good.


It isn't.

Do I need to say more? Maybe someone out there only writes in pencil/biro. Though they possibly don't follow a blog in which fountain pens and ink feature quite so frequently.

Okay, so, once I stopped being petrified by the humongous writing to-do list, I thought I should contemplate which of the many hundreds of notebooks in my possession would be a good one to do further planning of 'book 6' (it does actually have a title... honest!). I've been doing all the planning up to now in A5 Ciaks but wanted something a bit bigger for the next bit of planning. One of my previous books was planned in a hardback Moleskine and that seemed to have stood up to fountain pen really well. Amazingly, I didn't have all that many notebooks that were bigger than A5 in 'the emporium' (as hubby calls it). I had a Leuchtturm 1917 A4+, a Grandluxe A4 notebook (uh oh... see here...) and 2 large(ish) Moleskines, both in their wrappers. I thought I would give them a go and see how they stood up to fountain pens (as I rarely use anything else in book planning).

I've not had great success with Moleskines recently but was prepared to put it down to "it's just the cahiers and diary that are so rubbish". Wrong. The notebook would be great, apart from the really quite major aspect of not being able to cope with fountain pen. At all.

The size is a decent size - 192 pages and 19x25cm (7.5x10") with narrow ruling of 6mm. The elastic closure on this one was a bit floppy but manageable. It's stitch bound and lies flat with no bother. There's a ribbon page marker and a pocket in the back cover and the usual twaddle in a leaflet, making preposterous claims about the history of the Moleskine brand... So far, so good.

But then... oh, then I did a fountain pen test. The pages aren't numbered so I pulled a page out in the middle of a set. Okay, several of my pens are in the 'lay down a lot of ink' group and some of the inks are a bit challenging (Emerald de Chivor, we're looking at you here...). Even so... Let's play fountain-pen bingo...
  • Feathering?
  • Bleed-through?
  • Show-through?

Full house.

Ugh. I'm embarrassed to have to show you quite how awful it is.

But I will...
[click on any picture to zoom in on how horrible it is]

1. Feathering
Maybe not so obvious here but...
...feathering on each ink
...more feathering
...even with the rollerball!

2. Bleed-through

Er... unusable!
another close-up

3. Show-through
Almost irrelevant as the bleed-through is so horrific, but...

Bleed-through at the top, slight show-through below

Okay. I'll try the Leuchtturm next.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Overwhelmed by my to-do list

I don't mean the 'stuff that I should do today like laundry, shopping, paying bills' list. I mean the enormous, terrifying list of about three years' worth of stuff I need to do with my writing. It's now so huge that I don't even really know how to start. It's so overwhelming that I've been stunned into inaction (which isn't helping!).

I could break it down into smaller chunks, but then it would be even longer and no less terrifying. I know. I tried that.

It's not helped by the fact that some of the list is 'writing' and another fairly large chunk is 'stuff that also needs to be done but which isn't anything like as much fun'.

I'll get through it. Probably. Possibly. I'm hoping that once I leave work purgatory then I will stop ending up so demoralised and exhausted by it that I'm too tired to do the things I want to do (write). I'm hoping that I will be able to spend some of my week doing the more fun stuff (writing) and also devote time to doing the stuff that's less fun (everything else). I do know that I may never get to the end of it all. I won't have written all the books that are in my head right now before new ones pop up in there, clamouring to be written! It will take me at least three years to do what is currently on my list. In that time, another three books could have come along and started getting all demanding on me!

Any advice guys? How can I start to feel on top of a list that will take me several years to clear? And which in many ways never 'ends' because there will always be more things added to it before I've cleared even a fraction of it?


Monday, 21 September 2015

Birthday delights!

It's my birthday and although I am dismayed by the passing of another year (how have I got to this age?? When did that happen???) I am having a delightful afternoon with a pot of tea and a heap of new stationery to play with! I have some new pens, ink and paper to play with! How well people know me!
Here's some of the haul:
  • a Conklin stub nib pen
  • a selection of Iroshizuku inks
  • a little leather-bound notebook with Tomoe River paper
  • a writing set made from recycled elephant dung and recycled paper (no, it doesn't smell!)
Thank you everyone!!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Circling back almost to where I started...

Life is about to change enormously for me as I leave work purgatory in a week. I'm wondering what system will work well for me once I am pretty much in charge of my time. In trying to help me to decide, I thought I would run through what I've used over the years and what has or hasn't worked for me.
Basically, I have chopped and changed almost as many times as I've had hot dinners, and wasted huge amounts of money on trying to find the 'right binder' (when I was probably hunting for the right system), but a few things have become apparent: I like week+notes and a DPP. Pocket doesn't work for me, however cute the binders are. And I'm rubbish at turning the page so in fact, I don't need to carry both W+notes and DPP around with me; just the W+notes will do!

How did I get to this point of realisation? Read on (if you're suffering from insomnia) and I'll take you through the disasters of the years!

In the beginning (a.k.a. 2011)
January: I used an A5 at work and an A5 at home and was struggling to get my head around using a personal for my day to day carry around. I was also debating whether or not to buy a personal size filofax! Scoot forward to April 2011 and I was faffing over A5 or Personal and wrote this post about what I needed in a carry-around. It's really interesting (at least to me) that what I needed then is exactly what I need now! Even then I found it nigh on impossible to turn a page to see what I was supposed to be doing and liked the thought of a week plus notes. Plus ├ža change and all that.

By the end of April 2011, I had moved wholeheartedly into the pink Baroque and was loving it. It functioned as my wallet as well as a planner and I loved it. I then bought a turquoise Baroque. And then a green Portland.

It's now beginning to get embarrassing reading over these old posts as, in August 2011 I was pondering personal or pocket and deciding to stick with personal (see the post here) but by the end of August 2011 I had bought my first (of many!) pocket filofaxes - a pocket Cavendish (see here for the post saying I'd bought it and here for more details on the binder). However, I stayed in the personal size (and the pocket went into the drawer of my desk and tried to have a party on its own) and even bought a Cavendish (see here and here for details).

2012 was a year of faffing about, BIG TIME! Though I do note that I realised even then, that a month to view did not work for me!
February: I was wondering about moving into pocket size (see here); I bought the pocket Aston (see here) and moved in (see here).
April: I'd bought a personal Holborn (see here) and was wondering if I had planner fail (see here).
May: I was still in the pocket Aston and had shifted to week + notes for the diary (see here)
By June, I was in the personal Holborn; by July I had bought two A5 Mulberry binders (admittedly not as carry-arounds!); by August I'm on about the current carry about being the pink Baroque again, but had bought a Mulberry A6 and a pocket Baroque... In September, I moved into the A6 Mulberry (Indie). My old foe, the desire for colour had struck again by December and I was out of Indie and had bought a scarlet Mulberry AND a wine Holborn.
So, in 2012 I had used: personal, pocket, personal, A6. Would 2013 be any more stable?


I bought:
January - Green pocket Mulberry (Loki)
April - pocket Classic in red (see here)
August - pocket Portland in red (see here)
September - personal Portland in blue (see here)
December - another A5 Mulberry (see here)

System-wise, I was all over the place!
January - A6 Mulberry (Red)
April - pocket Baroque
May - personal Holborn (wine); August - personal Baroque
Most of the rest of the year I was havering over personal or A6.

I think my favourite post of all time summed it up>>>> Siren songs
Despite those siren songs, I spent the whole year using personal size paper. Admittedly there was still some binder chopping and changing: turquoise Baroque to wine Holborn to navy Portland and then to slimlines - the red de Villiers (my most successful binder ever!) and then compact Cavendish.

Well, we're not done with it yet, but I've changed system dramatically once already!
I started the year still in a compact. My beloved red de Villiers was beginning to get worn, so I moved into the wine Holborn (briefly), tried the compact Cavendish and then I tried a compact Belgravia (see here for a compare/contrast between Cavendish and Belgravia). Mid April saw a red Traveller's Journal by The Stamford Notebook Company arrive but although I loved it, I didn't move in. Instead I bought a compact Holborn (see here) and then a slimline Adelphi (see here). Despite that ticking ALL the boxes, I still shifted into the TJ, partly because it was new and partly because I needed the page size.

So here we are, several years down the line and more binders than I want to think about, and I find I am back with a week+notes in almost A5 size and a DPP in my reporter's notebook. I realise that I need a colour pop (so no more black binders!) and I need cards and money to be catered for. Whether that's in the scarlet Adelphi or the Stamford Traveller's Journal in 2016 is yet to be decided. Let's see how the last quarter of 2015 goes, once I have left hell.

Thank you, everyone who has been on this journey with me!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Sparkly inks - J Herbin 1670 Collection

Those who know me will know I'm not a 'bling' kind of person, but inks with gold (or silver) in them? Oh, bring them on!

J Herbin do a collection of inks with gold dust in them (see their webpage here). There are occasionally new additions to the range and at the moment, there are four shades available: Stormy Grey, Ocean Blue, Emerald de Chivor and Rouge hematite. I'm not a huge lover of red ink, even if it does have gold in it, but I do have the other three. They are really difficult to photograph! All of the samples shown are written on Tomoe River white (really ivory) paper and photographed in the sunshine. Click on any picture to enlarge (and sorry they do not show the inks to their best!).

1. Stormy Grey
In some ways this is my least favourite of the three, though when I first tried it, I loved it. I do love the fact that it dries to a dark charcoal grey. What I don't like quite so much is the yellow overtones without the sparkle. It's lovely if it catches the sunlight and the gold glints, but otherwise the gold puts a yellow cast over the ink. When wet, the ink is even more jaundiced-looking, but as it dries, it darkens.

Taken in sunshine with
the camera directly above
Taken in sunshine with the camera at an angle to get the sparkles
Again, taken at an angle, in sunshine

2. Ocean Blue
This is a really lovely colour - a solid, dark blue and the gold highlights are superb. I adore it!

Taken in sunshine with the
camera directly overhead
Taken in the sunshine with the camera at an angle to show the sparkles
Again, taken in sunshine with the camera at an angle to show the sparkles

3. Emerald de Chivor
This is the one that people have been going nuts over, possibly because it is the newest addition to the collection. It is indeed a fabulous colour - dark green with a hint of blue and some really beautiful shading that I haven't seen quite so much on the other inks. I absolutely adore this ink!

Taken in sunshine with the
camera directly above
Taken with the camera at an angle to try and show the sparkle
Again, taken at an angle to show the sparkle

One thing that I have noticed is that I get huge amounts of the ink on my hands when filling up pens with any of these three inks! I thought it was just me, but I sent samples to a good friend and he said he was covered in ink when he filled his pens with them too. Anyone else finding that? Is it a particularly 'climbing' ink? i.e. does it have more capillary action than other inks and so climb the sides of things (bottles, pens etc.) more than others? I'd be interested to know if others are finding the same thing!

As well as J Herbin producing sparkly inks, Diamine is about to produce some too. They will be in a variety of colours and available from October. Some of the colours have silver in them and some gold. Goulet Pens blogged about it and have a great picture of the inks on this post. I've got my eye on Night Sky, Blue Lightning and Blue Pearl already! I'm hoping that the Night Sky version, with silver rather than gold, will be less jaundiced-looking.

Who else is a sparkly ink fan?

Bureau Direct are running a competition to win a set of the Diamine sparkly inks. Click here to enter.