Comparison of 73 Bottled Fountain Pen Inks

I don’t consider myself an ink person…I like ink but I like pens much more.   Boring old Waterman Serenity Blue (FKA Florida Blue) has been my go-to ink for vintage pens for a good while now but I have been finding that with dryer and finer nibbed pens it isn’t the best match.  I had to find a safe blue ink with good lubrication and Diamine (with all inks in a pH range of 6-8) was the brand that came to mind.

I ordered 14 Diamine samples from the Goulet Pen Company (no affiliation) and to narrow it down I put the samples on Maruman Mnemosyne Word Book cards as I had first seen on The Pen Addict (again no affiliation)…well one thing led to another and I decided put all of my bottled inks on the Word Book cards and here is the result:

Fountain Pen Ink Samples

The blues:

Blue Fountain Pen Ink Samples Blue Fountain Pen Ink Samples

Blue Fountain Pen Ink Samples

Blue Fountain Pen Ink Samples

The greens:

Green Fountain Pen Ink Samples

The purples:

Purple Fountain Pen Ink Samples

The grays and blacks:

Black and gray Fountain Pen Ink Samples

The browns and reds:

brown Fountain Pen Ink Samples

The orange and pinks:

Orange and red Fountain Pen Ink Samples

I haven’t picked a new blue yet but Diamine Majestic Blue and Diamine Asa blue are the ones catching my eye.

Fountain pen ink samples

Diamine Ancient Copper Fountain Pen Ink Review

Writing sample on Maruman Smooth To Write loose leaf paper.
Writing sample on Maruman Smooth To Write loose leaf paper

I have improved my review format for the writing sample to make it more informative.  I am now including a rating system for four key areas; the ratings are from one to five (five being the best).  Please let me know what you think.

I love red/orange brown inks and Diamine Ancient Copper is my new favorite.  My two other (now former) favorites in this category are Montblanc Red Chalk and Noodler’s Antietam.  Unlike Noodler’s Antietam, there are no issues with feathering and long dry times (on the papers I have tested) and unlike Montblanc Red Chalk, the flow is generous.  Ancient Copper shows excellent shading; it doesn’t get much better.   Dry time on this ink is on the faster side and it is not waterproof.

This ink changes quite a bit with different nib sizes; if you look at the writing sample you will see that with the Italix (1.3mm nib) the color is lighter and more orange, then compare to the Pilot (M nib) it looks darker and more red.

Overall, Ancient Copper is a beautiful, well behaved ink.  I highly recommend it.

Please note: this product was provided to me at no charge by JetPens for review purposes.

Here are some great reviews of Diamine Ancient Copper:

(I have no affiliation with the sites linked below)

Pens! Paper! Pencils! – Diamine Ancient Copper Ink Review

Inkdependence – Diamine Ancient Copper

Vertical Paper – Ink Review: Diamine Ancient Copper

J. Herbin Refillable Roller Ball Review

J. Herbin Roller Ball

J. Herbin is the oldest ink manufacturer in the world and was established in 1670.  The J. Herbin roller ball is special because it is designed to use fountain pen ink.  It takes short standard international cartridges which gives you a very wide variety of inks to choose from.  I have been able to fit a Monteverde mini ink converter and now the ink possibilities are endless.

When I received the pen the first thing I noticed was that it was quite small at 4.5″ capped and about 5.5″ posted.  The translucent demonstrator body is decently made.  If you look closely you can see some seams but you cannot feel them.  The metal clip feels pretty sturdy.  I don’t like the “J. HERBIN” in red along the cap; I would have preferred something more subtle. There are three little holes on the bottom of the body so this pen could not be used as an eyedropper.  The cap snaps on to the body to close and posts securely.  Due to the small size of the pen, some people will need to post the cap to use this pen comfortably.

J. Herbin Roller Ball

I filled the pen with Diamine Turquoise and the roller ball wrote quite well.  Nice clean lines no skipping or any other bad behavior to report.  It is not as smooth as a hybrid gel ink roller ball but that is to be expected.  The line is about a medium width.  The Monteverde mini converter does not hold a lot of ink so the standard international cartridge may be a better choice for some.

J. Herbin Roller Ball

Overall I really like this little pen; it’s well-made, a good writer and can use all my favorite inks but if you are willing to put up with the hassle of fountain pen ink and cleaning the feed when changing colors why wouldn’t you use a fountain pen instead?  I can’t come up with any reasons.

Here are some great reviews of the J. Herbin Roller Ball:

East West Everywhere – J. Herbin Rollerball

Paper Pens Ink – Review of the J Herbin rollerball

The Well-Appointed Desk – J. Herbin Rollerball Fail

Life Imitates Doodles – Review of the J Herbin Rollerball Pen and Ink Cartridges

Ink of Me Fondly – J. Herbin Refillable Roller Ball Pen

The Goulet Pen Company Ink Drop October 2013

I purchased a Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen and thought I would test it out on the lastest. For those that don’t know, Ink Drop is a subscription service through The Goulet Pen Company (no affiliation) that consists of monthly shipments of 5 ink samples.  Each shipment is $10.  It’s a great way to try ink without making a full commitment to an entire bottle.  More than once I have paid $10+ for a bottle and ended up hating it.  Last month I bought J. Herbin Gris Nuage and I know I wont be using it again…no idea why I thought a grey ink would be appealing.

Ink Drop Oct 2013

The Noodlers Qin Shi Huang and Noodler’s Antietam are my favorites.  You can read my full review of Antietam here and Qin Shi Huang here.