Notes: So, I’ve found my new favorite ink…this one. J. Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor is an awesome shade of teal with the signature 1670 gold flakes. In addition to the gold, there’s an incredible red sheen seen around the edges of each letter and where the ink pools – resulting in an ink with intense depth. The ink flows well, if anything a bit on the wet side in my Lamy 2000’s broad nib. There’s so much depth to this interesting ink and I absolutely love it. Even my friends who have seen it (who couldn’t care less about fountain pens and ink) commented on how cool it looked. I think the ink looks best in a broad nib, and even better in a folded nib dip pen. On top of the gold flakes, the red sheen, and the high saturation, the ink has a nice degree of shading. J. Herbin really hit it out of the park with this intensely complex ink!
Be on the lookout for Emerald of Chivor in stores later this summer!
Check out this video I produced for J. Herbin for the new ink:
All photos are uploaded in hi-res, click to enlarge!
OMG GOLD FLAKE
Disclaimer: I received this bottle of ink pre-release for purposes of product photography and video production. I was not compensated for this post – all opinions are my own.
There are hundreds of inks out there from dozens of different brands. There is sure to be a color already made to suit everyone’s individual tastes. Different brands have different characteristics and properties, including dry time, flow, smoothness, saturation and the ability to shade. While an ink like Noodler’s Apache Sunset is fun to write with an stunning to look at when in a flex nib, it’s not overly practical. I’ve put together a short list of my top 5 favorite inks for every day use. In the list, you’ll see a blue, a black, a blue-black, a red and a green. Read on to find out what made the list!
1. Diamine Asa Blue Even though I’ve only recently acquired a bottle of this ink, it’s fast becoming one of my favorites. I have had great experiences with Diamine ink in the past – it’s easy enough to clean out, no staining, it’s well behaved on a lot of different paper types, and it’s reliable. This ink is a lovely shade of medium blue. It reminds me of Iroshizuku’s Kon-Peki, an ink I also love. I think the Asa Blue slightly edges it out of the top list because it is slightly more appropriate for everyday use due to the more subdued color.
2. Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano Black Sailor’s Kiwa Guro Nano Black is one of my favorite inks. When I first got into fountain pens, I set out on the quest to find the perfect black. In my opinion, Sailor really did an excellent job with this ink. The color is super dark and it’s glassy smooth to write with. This is a pigmented ink, meaning that it will have a higher permanence than other inks, but be careful about leaving in a pen for extended periods of time. I’ve never had an issue with the ink, but it’s still worth a mention. Kiwa Guro is great for everyday use because it performs well on both regular copy paper and more premium pads like Rhodia. If you’re looking for the darkest, smoothest black ink out there, definitely consider giving this one a try!
3. Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai Not quite blue, not quite black, Shin-Kai is an excellent ink for those who can’t make up their minds. While regular black ink can get boring, this cross between blue and black adds a bit of color to the page while still maintaining a serious, professional look. If the bright blue color of Asa Blue is inappropriate for your line of work, consider going for a blue black like Shin-Kai. In case you were unaware, Iroshizuku is Pilot’s premium line of inks. They all perform very well on a wide range of papers and come packaged in a beautiful glass bottle that will look great on any desk.
4. Diamine Matador For the teachers and editors out there, this list had to include a red ink. This offering from Diamine is as bright as they come. The vibrant red ink goes on the page without any shading, which helps increase legibility. Load it up in a 1.1mm stub for bold lines that will stand out amongst an entire page of words with ease. While it may not be the best for regular writing (imagine trying to read a whole page of red ink!), it’s great for pointing out something that needs to be seen.
5. J. Herbin Vert Empire Sometimes blue, black, blue-black, and red just don’t cut it. I like to keep a pen loaded up with a dark green ink to add some diversity to my notes. J. Herbin’s Vert Empire is a perfect green ink that’s both dark enough to read and colorful enough to be different.The color is easy on the eyes and a pleasure to write with!
I’ve given some suggestions on what inks make great daily drivers. Leave a comment below with your go-to everyday ink!
When I saw that J. Herbin now offers small sample size bottles, I had to jump at it! Thanks to JetPens for sending over the bottle for review! As vibrant and nice as the color is, the performance of the ink is rather poor. The wet flow writes nicely, but results in some pretty bad feathering and bleed through. I haven’t had this issue with other J. Herbin inks, making this atypical. There are plenty of other blues out there, lots very similar. Unfortunately, I’d recommend passing on this one. If you like what you see and you absolutely have to have it, it does work well on Rhodia paper.
Check out JetPens for tons of awesome Japanese pens and stationery. Free shipping on orders over $25, and hitting that is always an easy task!
Notes: Sailor recently made some changes to their ink lineup, including the addition of this one, called Miruai. The full name (get ready for it…) is Sailor Jentle Four Seasons Miruai – Seaweed Indigo. Nomenclature aside, it’s a great dark teal that is accurately described in the name. There is a tiny bit of shading, showing off the nice blue color in shallower pools of ink. On point with the rest of the Sailor inks I’ve tried, the flow is great and it is nice and smooth. I really like Sailor’s ink bottle design, it has an internal cone that collects ink when you flip the bottle upside down. This ink catcher makes filling any pen easy, even when you are at the bottom of the bottle. The color is much different from the other green Sailor ink I have (Epinard) and it’s dark enough to be used everyday without getting stares. Thank you to JetPens for sending over the bottle for review!
Check out JetPens for tons of awesome Japanese pens and stationery. Free shipping on orders over $25, and hitting that is pretty easy with all the great stuff they have. Stop by!
Disclaimer: This ink was provided to me as a review unit, free of charge, by JetPens. I was not compensated for this review, and this did not have any effect on my thoughts and opinions about the product. Thank you for reading!
I had a lot of fun doing the year-end roundup last year, so I figured I would do it again. Some pens have maintained their presence in the top 10 list and with good reason. Each of these posts got the most page views out of all of the posts I’ve made this year. The blog has continued to grow, and there were twice as many visitors and twice as many page views as there were last year. There were well over HALF A MILLION PAGE VIEWS and I want to thank you guys so much for checking out the site! Don’t forget to subscribe to the site using the “subscribe” box located in the right hand menu to get emailed every time I make a post!
So here we go, the Top 10 posts of 2014:
10. Buying a Grail Pen
One of my favorite posts, this guide to buying a “grail pen” ended up being very popular. I go through my system of deciding what the right pen is, the process of freeing up some funds, slimming down my collection and obtaining the pen.
9. and 8. Rotring Rapid Pro Ballpoint / 800 Pencil
This is the first of three Rotring posts that made the top ten list. The Rapid Pro Ballpoint is a slimline pen with a metal body and a knurled grip that looks and feels great. Admittedly, it didn’t see too much use following the review. The pen takes a Parker style cartridge and uses a click mechanism to deploy the writing point. The number 8 spot went to the Rotring 800 mechanical pencil. It’s of very high quality, also features a knurled grip – but has a retractable tip and gold accents.
The Lamy Safari was my first fountain pen, and it is still one of my favorites. It makes a great starter pen and really helped me in narrowing down what nib size I like due to the relatively inexpensive swappable nibs. The modern design still resonates with me and there is usually at least one inked up Safari in my arsenal. I picked up this discontinued Griso Grey model at the DC show for only $15!
The Mover and Shaker are two of my favorite machined pens. They take a huge range of refills and I love the grip pattern machined into the pen. They look and feel great, and they’re now available in a ton of different colors and materials.
The Rotring 600 Lava was an awesome looking pen. I say was, because I no longer have it. It wasn’t seeing as much use as it should and I’m more of a user than a collector. The pen was sold to help fund my Nakaya purchase and while it was nice, I don’t miss it one bit. The pen is long-discontinued and can be found on eBay.
The Seven Seas Tomoe pad remains on the list, and for good reason. The silky smooth, fountain pen friendly paper is some of the best out there. It’s impossibly thin and is a pleasure to write with. I photographed the Seven Seas Writer journal instead of the pad again. Both are full of the same paper, but this one has ruling and is bound like a book. Check them out at Nanami Paper.
3. Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black Fountain Pen
The stealthiest pen of all. When this was announced I knew I needed to have one. Don’t feel like spending $400? Do some homework and find a retailer in Japan. I got the pen for much less off of eBay straight from Japan than I would have had I purchased it from the States. I haven’t been using this pen as much, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. I got the fine nib adjusted at the Long Island Pen show to slightly increase the ink flow and smoothness. It’s a great writer, and this post makes me want to go ink it up now.
This post was another fun one to write and I’m glad it made it onto the top 10 list. The post outlines what “fountain pen friendly” really means when dealing with pocket notebooks. Check the post out to see the differences!
Once again, the top post is the Lamy 2000. It’s still my favorite pen and it is still always inked and within reach. I absolutely love the design and writing experience. The 2000 is one of the first “expensive” pens people buy and I’m not surprised that the review is as popular as it is. Look for an updated review of the 2000 in the coming months!
This was another great year for the blog. Thank you all for your continuing support and readership, it means the world. Even with a lower post count this year, the blog has still grown and continues to do so. I’d also like to thank the sponsors of the site – JetPens, Pen Chalet, and all of the independent retailers and companies that have sent me products to review for providing me with a steady stream of goods to review! I have a lot of great content in the pipeline, so make sure to come back and check it out!
Have a safe and happy new year!
A pen blog, focusing on high quality reviews of the best fountain pens, best fountain pen ink, the best mechanical pencils, and the best stationery.