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

Ink Review: Faber-Castell Garnet Red


Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red
Pen: Lamy Safari (M)
Paper: Rhodia 80gsm Dotpad
Shading: high
Saturation: low-moderate
Flow: good flow
Dry Time: 15 seconds

Faber-Castell is a company that has been around since 1761, and is one of the oldest manufacturers of writing utensils and supplies in the world.  If you've been around your local hobby store recently, you've probably noticed their name on non-fountain pen tools such as colored pencils, erasers, india inks, etc.  Fountain pens and inks are just a small portion of their business, but if this ink is any indication, they're definitely doing something right.

Faber-Castell Garnet is the second ink in their line that I've used.  So far they've yet to disappoint me.  A nice mid-burgundy color, Garnet is an amazing shading ink.  Even with the folded nib, the ink displays an amazing variation in saturation and color, which really appealed to me.  On typical fountain-pen-friendly papers, it failed to feather or bleedthrough at all, and the dry time was respectable for a medium nib at 15 seconds.

One of the best things about this color, is how unique the shade is.  Though I haven't used a ton of burgundy inks, I really couldn't find anything close to this color.  De Atramentis William Shakespeare and Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses were closest in my collection. 

Chromatography was typical of most pinks & reds, with mostly a magenta color.  There is a yellow spot where the swab started, with a tiny bit of purplish color at the bottom.

Although I don't typically gravitate towards inks of this color, I really enjoyed using this one.  The shading really makes it pop on the page, especially when used with the folded nib.  I really think I'll have to try out some more Faber-Castell inks in the future.  If you're planning on giving them a try, you may want to pick up a sample first, as the bottles sell for $30 for 75mL.  For the size, it's not too bad at all, but it is a big investment and a lot of ink if you decide you aren't a fan of the color.  Let me know in the comments what your favorite Faber-Castell ink is!

Thanks for reading!
- Lori

Ink Review: Levenger Cardinal Red


Levenger Cardinal Red
Pen: Levenger True Writer
Paper: Rhodia 80gsm
Shading: moderate to high
Saturation: moderate to high
Flow: wet
Dry Time: LONG - 45+ seconds depending on the nib

It's been a while since I've used a red ink, so when I was loaned the Levenger Truewriter with a converter full of Levenger Cardinal Red, I was anxious to give it a go.  The ink behaved well on all of the usual ink-resistant papers I typically use, and has a nice balance of high shading and good saturation.  My page was never starved for ink, as this one flows quite well, even in drier pens.

The one problem I experienced with Cardinal Red is that it takes forever to dry.  I had to sit my page aside after finishing, as the ink took anywhere between 45 to 60 seconds to completely dry, making it bad choice for hook-handed lefties.

Despite the dry time issue, I wouldn't count this ink out just yet.  It had one feature that I absolutely love: it sheens like crazy.  In researching the ink, I didn't find any official statements about its sheen, so it would seem it's just a happy side effect.  In even the faintest light, the ink has a bright greenish-gold sheen.  It rivals that of J. Herbin's 1670 Rouge Hematite, without that actual gold fleck.


Of course if you're not a fan of sheen, this ink may not be for you as the sheen tends to drown out the actual red color; especially if you're in a setting with a light overhead.

Chromatography shows a bright red with a hint of magenta at the top.  The ink compares well to Pelikan Edelstein Garnet and Diamine Scarlet.

All in all, I really enjoyed using this ink.  I still tend to lean more towards darker reds, such as Diamine Oxblood; but for a mid-range red with an insane amount of sheen, Levenger Cardinal Red is just the ticket.

You can pick up a bottle for around $12 on Amazon.  I had trouble finding it on some of the usual pen vendors, but it still seems to be easily obtainable.

Thanks for reading!

Ink Review: Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses


Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses - May 2015 Ink Drop
Pen: Lamy Al-Star 1.1 stub
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: moderate to high
Saturation: high
Flow: wet
Dry Time: 20 seconds

The name 'Black Swan in English Roses' is one of the coolest ink names I've seen.  One thing that Nathan Tardiff of Noodler's doesn't lack is creativity, and that shows in this second May Ink Drop sample from Goulet.

Black Swan in English Roses is a deep cherry red that quite aptly resembles the pedal of a red English Rose.  What I love about this ink is that it doesn't sway maroon or pink, but is a true deep red.  Being a Noodlers, is it very saturated and wet flowing, making it rich and eye-catching on the page.

There is quite a bit of shading with my 1.1 stub, which adds to this ink's character.  Dry time was a bit on the high side, though not terrible at 20 seconds.  With a regular F nib, it is right around 11 seconds.  Aside from the ink's awesome deep red color, it is also partially bulletproof, completely forgery resistant, and also partially waterproof.

Compared to some of my other red ink swabs, Black Swan in English Roses most closely resembles Noodler's Antietam, with Diamine Oxblood in close second.  It a bit dustier in swab form, but shows up more brightly on paper.

I really enjoyed Black Swan in English Roses.  I think I would prefer this color over its sister ink, Black Swan in Australian Roses - an ink which has been surrounded by a bit of controversy when it's color formula was changed.  The bulletproof and forge-resistant properties are another big draw.  If you're interested in a bottle for yourself, you can pick it up for $12.50 from Goulet or similar retailers.