J. Herbin nearly broke the fountain pen & ink internet when they released their first "shimmering" ink, Rouge Hematite. To my knowledge, this was the first fountain pen ink that contained glittering flakes, giving the ink a sheening quality beyond that provided by the ink characteristics alone. Since the release of Rouge Hematite, they added 3 more beautiful shimmering inks to the 1670 Collection, all of which were highly anticipated and sought after.
The company is now releasing a new line of shimmering inks, the 1798 Collection. These two dates are significant markers in the company's history. 1670 marked the year that J. Herbin, who was then a sailor, traveled through India to gather ingredients which he brought back to Paris for manufacturing sealing wax and inks. It was in this year that he established his trading and shipping business "Herbin." In 1798 as steel nib dip pens began to replace quill pens for writing, Herbin relocated and expanded the business into production & influence.
The first ink in this new 1798 line is called Amethyste de l'Oural, which translates to "Amethyst of the Ural Mountains." The name is inspired by the trading of gemstones in the 16th and 17th centuries. The ink is a nice mid-to-dark purple with a beautiful silver shimmer. Though I'm not a huge fan of shimmering inks from a practical everyday-use standpoint, I do appreciate their beauty, especially for artistic applications. They're fantastic for writing invites, or just a nice letter to a friend who you want to impress. I've seen some amazing calligraphy work on Instagram using these inks - admittedly something I could never pull off myself! I've always been a sucker for purple inks, so of all the shimmering inks that J. Herbin have released, I think this one may be my favorite.
The packaging on the 1798 Collection is similar to that of the 1670 Collection, though a few notable improvements have been made. Most notably, the opening of the bottle is much wider, making it easier to fill your pen when the bottle gets low. The cap also has a thicker wax coating on it which gives a nice grip when opening the bottle. The bottle shape is the same, but they've added a small label to the front to indicate the ink's name, which is a nice touch. They've also changed the ribbon that wraps around the mouth of the bottle to a nice silky silver string versus the somewhat cheap-looking gold string that was on the 1670 bottles. A nice hidden touch is the J. Herbin logo that's been embossed or stamped into the glass.
The ink itself is very well behaved, even in my heaviest of pens I got almost no feathering or bleed. There is a bit of show-through on my Rhodia pad with heavier nibs like a Broad or a 1.1 stub. Unfortunately, the ink does feather quite a bit if you drip or pour it on the page, which made my folded nib work a little difficult. If you're doing flex nib or folded nib lettering, you may want to use Tomoe River or a heavily ink-resistant paper. I don't have any BB or BBB nibs in my collection, but I'd venture to guess that those might cause a bit of feathering as well, depending on the paper. The silver shimmer comes through nicely on the page and it provides a nice contrast against the purple. The two colors go well together - I'm so glad they didn't choose a gold shimmer for this ink, the silver just looks really nice.
The ink is fairly saturated, so you don't get a ton of shading, but I think there's enough going on with this ink that shading would just distract from the color and shimmer. One thing that struck me as I was writing, is that the ink almost feels lubricated - similar to the Noodler's eel series of inks. My pen isn't particularly silky smooth, but the ink seems to smooth out the friction between the nib and the page, more so than other inks I've used. J. Herbin doesn't advertise the ink to be lubricated, but it does feel very nice.
Dry time was respectable, at between 18 and 20 seconds depending on how heavy you write and what nib you're using. My tests were done with a Lamy M nib. I had no trouble cleaning it out of my pen after about a week and a half of having it in there. In my experience, the Diamine Shimmertastic inks are tougher to clean out of pens than the J. Herbin 1670 Collection inks. That seems to hold true with the 1798 Collection as well.
Chromatography was very interesting - all of the silver shimmer stayed at the bottom with the tiniest bit of brown, and the ink itself shows a light pink tone throughout which ends in a tiny bit of medium purple. The ink's shade of purple sits somewhere in between Diamine Bilberry and Noodler's Purple Martin.
Overall I was very pleased with this ink. I think J. Herbin are doing awesome things with their special edition collections, and I'm very excited to see what the next color will be in the 1798 line. Amethyste de l'Oural will go on sale September 1st, and the recommended retail will be around $26 - check your favorite retailer on that date as I'm sure these will go fast!
Let me know in the comments what you think about the new 1798 Collection and Amethyste de l'Oural! If you have any questions, feel free to post them below as well. If you'd like to stay up to date on the latest reviews at The Desk of Lori, feel free to join my mailing list! Thanks for reading!
(The lovely folks at Exaclair have provided this product at no charge to The Desk for the purpose of review. My opinions are honest and without bias - visit the About Me page for more details).