Ink Review: J. Herbin 1798 Amethyste de l'Oural


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.

Lovely silver shimmer!

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.

J. Herbin logo

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.

Heavy drops caused some feathering.  Fortunately, only with the folded nib, and not with the actual fountain pen.

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).

Fountain Pen Day 2016 Giveaway!

Other ink bottles not listed below, and various desk accessories not included

Other ink bottles not listed below, and various desk accessories not included

The Desk has gotten cluttered once again! In honor of Fountain Pen Day, and as a thanks to all of my amazing readers, I'm doing another giveaway!

The winner will receive:

1) 1 bottle of (almost new) Noodler's Nightshade - I've taken maybe one filling out of the bottle.
2) Tons of ink samples in various volumes that I've reviewed on the blog - some may require syringing to fill a converter.
3) A Kaweco Skyline Sport in Grey w/ a Fine nib - this has been gently used a few times, and was reviewed on the blog.  It's been cleaned and will come with a Kaweco cartridge and the box (box says EF, but it's been fitted with a Fine nib).

Ink Samples List:
Faber-Castell Garnet Red
J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor
Platinum Pigmented Rose Red
Iroshizuku Ina-ho
Iroshizuku Chiku-rin
Sailor Kobe #3 Sepia
Platinum Mix-free Sunny Yellow
Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
KWZI Green Gold
KWZI Iron Gall Green Gold
Diamine Bilberry
Private Reserve Avacado
Diamine Shimmertastic Magical Forest
De Atramentis Cucumber
Noodler's Squeteague
Noodler's Saguaro Wine
KWZI Foggy Green
De Atramentis Mint Turquoise

So what do you have to do?  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget above - the only requirement is that you answer the question "What are you doing to celebrate Fountain Pen Day?" If you would like an additional 2 entries, follow @thedeskoflori on Twitter, and for an additional 2 entries per day, tweet about the contest.

Fine Print: Contest will end Friday night/Saturday morning, November 5, 2016 at 12:00AM EST (midnight). Winner will be announced Saturday morning! Open to continental US Residents only - unfortunately shipping ink bottles outside the US is insanely expensive, and since this is out of my own pocket, it's not practical for me to ship overseas. My sincerest apologies for this!  The package will be shipped via USPS - I will not be responsible if the package is lost in shipping.  Please provide a valid email address for your entry so that I may contact you if you win - I assure you that your email address will not be sold, traded, given away or used in any way other than to notify you that you've won.  If I do not receive a response in 1 week from the close of the contest, I will draw a new winner.  I will validate your entries, and any invalid entries will be disqualified.  Thanks for entering!

This contest is not sponsored by any of the retailers/companies related to the products included - these are just products that I enjoy and that I've bought for review.  You should definitely go support these companies though, they make great products!

Ink Review: Kaweco Smokey Grey

Kaweco Smokey Grey
Pen: Lamy Safari (M)
Paper: Rhodia 80gsm #16 Blank
Shading: high
Saturation: low to moderate
Flow: medium
Dry Time: 14s in Lamy M

If you've followed the blog for a while, you know how much I love a good grey ink.  Everytime a new one comes out, chances are I'll be trying it.  Smokey Grey covers a spectrum of grey that not many other grey inks match.  Kaweco is really doing a great thing with their ink line, and I think it's far superior to most any other pen brand's ink line.

Smokey Grey is a nice medium grey ink that varies quite a bit depending on what pen you use it in.  In a dryer writing pen it's a pale light grey like Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun, and in a heavier writing pen it puts down a nice dark charcoal grey line like Kiri-same or Faber-Castell Stone Grey.  Both "colors" have really nice shading, and the ink behaves really well on typical fountain pen paper.

Water drop - just for fun!  I see a hint of red in there..

Pen characteristics aside, the ink itself is about a medium on the wetness scale.  It flows nicely, with no hard starts; it doesn't dry too easily on the nib.  Dry time is moderate at around 14 seconds in medium nib Lamy Safari.

I really dig Kaweco's ink bottles.  The lid has a nice foam insert which keeps it from drying out in storage, and the ink bottle itself can lean on its side to assist with filling when the ink bottle gets low.  Just as I mentioned in the Kaweco Sunrise Orange review, the lid has a very satisfying "seal" when it closes, which I very much like.

As far as comparisons, this ink has a couple that it matches up with.  Depending on the pen you're using, it can be as light a Fuyu-syogun or J. Herbin Gris Nuage.  For most pens out there, however, it's going to be closer to Graf von Faber-Castell Stone Grey or Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same.

Chromatography is...anti-climactic to say the least; but still very interesting - an olive green and a little bit of blue.

I can safely say that I'll be adding Smokey Grey to my list of favorite grey inks.  It doesn't overtake the top spot for greys for me, but it definitely ranks up there.  It's a very well behaved ink with no frills - it just works and it works well.  I'm excited for Kaweco to release some new colors, as their latest have been fantastic.  Thank you so much to Kaweco in Germany for sending me this ink for review!

(Kaweco has 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).

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Ink Review: Diamine Terracotta


Diamine Terracotta
Pen: Lamy Safari (M)
Paper: Rhodia 80gsm #16 blank
Shading: high
Saturation: moderate
Flow: wet
Dry Time: 20s in Lamy M

Spoiler alert: I LOVE this ink.  I had been wanting to try my sample of Diamine Ancient Copper for a long time now, but then I saw Goulet Pens' swab of this ink and I had to try it first.  The colors are very similar, so I may do a shootout of these two at some point.  Diamine have been producing some of the most unique fountain pen inks on the market, and have been around since 1864.  They very recently celebrated their 150th anniversary.  To commemorate, they produced the 150th anniversary ink set, which Terracotta is a part of.  Other popular inks in the set include Silver Fox, Regency Blue and the much loved 1864 Blue Black.

My ink was from a sample, but if you've not seen the 150th Anniversary Diamine bottles, you should definitely take a look.  Each bottle is a triangular wedge, and when you own the entire set the bottles fit together to make a nice circle for your desk.  Terracotta is a warm reddish-brown with an intense amount of shading.  The color variation is wide, and ranges from a dark red-brown, to a lighter brownish-orange.  The ink flows wet and lends to a smooth writing experience.  The dry time in my medium Lamy Safari was about 20 seconds on Rhodia; so not terrible, but not fast either.

Chromatography was very neat looking; it goes from a orange-red and leads up to a medium brown.  For comparisons, honestly, there aren't a ton of inks out there that match this perfectly.  Diamine Burnt Sienna is the closest I could find. Diamine Ancient Copper and Diamine Autumn Oak are darker and lighter inks respectively that are both very nice as well.

I have to say, I'm not typically a fan of brown inks, especially reddish browns.  Terracotta really changed my mind on that.  The ink just has so much character and I have already put my email on the notification list for when this comes back in stock at Goulet Pens.  I highly recommend you give this one a try!  You can snag a 40mL bottle for $15.95 at most retailers.

Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite brown ink is!
Thanks for reading!
- Lori