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).

Ink Review: Noodler's Saguaro Wine

Noodler's Saguaro Wine - June 2015 Ink Drop
Pen: Lamy Al-Star Silvergreen (F)
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: low to moderate
Saturation: medium
Flow: wet
Dry Time: 17 seconds

The third ink in this month's Goulet Ink Drop is Noodler's Saguaro Wine.  The ink gets its name from a red fruit from the Saguaro - a cactus that grows tall over many years and is native to the western united states.  The fruit is prized by the locals, and is often made into wine - hence 'Saguaro Wine.'

The ink is nicely saturated and wet flowing.  On my Rhodia pad, it behaves quite well with no feathering, bleed or ghosting.  The ink doesn't spread either, which is a plus.  Shading is minimal because of the high saturation, but you can get some.  Noodler's doesn't list the ink as waterproof, but after a decently long soak, a faded pink line still remained on my test.

Chromatography shows a light pink which makes up most of the color, and then bit of magenta.

The closest swab in comparison that I have is Noodler's Socrates - though it differers quite a bit on paper than it does in swab form.

If you're a fan of purply-pinks, then you'll definitely like Saguaro Wine.  If you're interested in a bottle for yourself, you can get 3oz for $12.50.

Thanks for reading!

Ink Review: Diamine Bilberry


Diamine Bilberry - June 2015 Ink Drop
Pen: Lamy Al-Star Silvergreen (F)
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: low
Saturation: high
Flow: wet
Dry Time: 19 seconds

Next up for this month's Goulet Ink Drop is Diamine Bilberry.  With this month's theme being "Farmers' Market," Bilberry must have been an easy choice.  I honestly wasn't sure what a Bilberry was, so Wikipedia came to the rescue!  On first glance you might thing that a bilberry is the same thing as a blueberry, but it is actually distinct from the blueberry, but in a similar family.  It is native to Europe & the British Isles, so naturally with Diamine being a European brand they chose the name Bilberry for this deep, rich blueish purple ink. (As a side note, I think Goulet's swab of this is a little deceiving - I found it to have a little more blue tone than what their swab (or even my swab) shows).

One of the coolest things about this ink is its amazing gold sheen.  If you lay it on thick you will notice right away that there is a nice halo effect that shimmers like gold flakes that you'd see in a J. Herbin 1670 ink.  Don't get me wrong, it's not nearly that pronounced, but it's definitely there.

Bilberry is a heavily saturated ink, so you don't get a ton of shading, but the heavy saturation seems to make the ink flow nicely.  It runs smooth as silk out of my Lamy F nib, and produces no feathering, bleedthrough or ghosting on typical fountain pen paper.  Dry time is a bit on the high side at 19 seconds - left handers beware.

Chromatography is just blue with the faintest hint of purple.


Depending on your light source, this ink in swab form can look both blue and purple.  It honestly looks like you'd taken De Atramentis Hyacinth, or a similar royal blue that really pops, and mixed it with a color like Noodler's Purple Martin.

All ink all, if you love blues and purples you'll love this ink.  As an added bonus you get an incredible sheen as long as you're using a heavier writing pen.  If you're interested in a bottle for yourself, you can grab 80ml for $14.95 or 30ml for $7.50.

Thanks for reading!

Ink Review: Noodler's Socrates


Noodler's Socrates
Pen: Lamy AL-Star 1.1 stub
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: none
Saturation: high
Flow: wet
Dry Time: 17 seconds

Noodler's Socrates is part of the UK Series of inks from Nathan Tardif.  It's a dusty, pinkish-purple that claims the bulletproof, eternal, forge-resistant and water-resistant associations from the Noodler's ink property list.

Named assumedly for the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates didn't speak to me much as far as the color.  It was surprised by how the ink behaved on the paper when writing with it.  It seems to almost instantly seep into the paper and loose almost all of its vibrancy as it dries.  In looking at the ink itself in bottle form you'd think it would be a nice vibrant purple, but that's oddly not the case.  Despite that, it's still a very unique dusty purple.

Socrates behaves quite well on good paper.  It does have quite a bit of spread, which can be bothersome for some - I'm not a big fan of that myself.  It doesn't feather, though, and I didn't notice any bleedthrough or ghosting even with my 1.1 stub.

No ink that I've seen so far compares to the color of Socrates.  In swab form, it looks more vibrant than it does on paper.

I can't say I'd ever buy a full bottle of Socrates, but that doesn't mean it's a bad ink.  If you're interested in one yourself you'll get 3oz for $12.50.

Thanks for reading!