Sunday, April 3, 2016

J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor Review

by Tony Thomas

I received a nice box from Exaclair, the U. S. distributor for J. Herbin containing the four 1670 Anniversary Edition inks.

For those of you who have been out of touch for a while, J. Herbin 1670 is one of the most sought after ink collections currently available.

For a bit of background, from the J. Herbin website: "The 1670 Collection celebrates the rich life and adventures of J. Herbin, an enterprising French sailor of the mid-17th century. He made a number of voyages to India, collecting ingredients and formulas for his sealing wax and inks. He began making pen inks in his Paris workshop beginning in 1700 with the 'Ink of Ships' and the 'Jewel of Inks.' Today, Herbin inks are widely used and internationally renown."

When I opened each individual box, I was quite impressed with the bottles and the elegant metallic cord and wax seal attached to each one -- an extremely creative and elegant design. At a bit over $25 a bottle retail for 50 ml, this is definitely a "luxury class" ink that would probably be reserved for the most important correspondence or writing tasks. Even though I am frugal (just look at the name of this blog), I could definitely see splurging on one or more of these inks for special occasions.

First up is the Emerald of Chivor (or "Emeraude de Chivor" in French), a rich green ink with a touch of blue and a few surprises.  I used my Conklin Duragraph "Cracked Ice" with a 1.1 mm Conklin nib to test this ink.  I just dipped the pen into the ink rather than filling the cartridge converter (I will tell you why later).  Let me say at the outset that this is one of the most concentrated and saturated inks that I have ever used.  It has a rich bluish green color that is definitely reminiscent of a beautiful emerald.  I noticed a bit of subtle shading.  Flow and lubrication were good and dry time seem to be a bit long on Rhodia paper.  Photos don't really do justice to this gorgeous ink.

I had heard that there are gold flecks in the ink but I did not see them in my initial writing samples.  I turned the bottle over a few times and then dipped my pen again.  This time the ink was much darker and appeared to be more textured.  Upon close examination, I could see the gold flecks.  If you look closely at the writing sample below, you can see that the words "Beautiful" and "Rhodia Paper" are certainly darker.  So, you can really get two different color variations from the same ink depending on whether you shake the bottle or not.

You probably are wondering why I did not fill the converter.  Each ink box has a warning that tells you not to leave this ink in your pen's ink reservoir and to carefully clean the nib.  I decided to err on the side of caution, especially since it contains metallic particles.  When cleaning the ink out of the nib and feed, it took quite a bit of effort to remove every trace of the color due to its intense saturation.  I removed the nib from its collar and cleaned them separately.  Although I did not test it, this is probably a good ink to dilute to see if you can get even more color variations.  And you may want to confine use of this ink to pens that can be completely disassembled for thorough cleaning.  

All in all, this is a spectacular ink that will definitely impress the recipient of any correspondence that you choose to create with it.

I will do reviews of the other colors in the near future.

For more information:

Full Disclosure: In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255. I hereby disclose that the manufacturer or retailer mentioned in this article provided the product for review purposes with the knowledge that I would provide a full, unbiased and impartial review.


  1. I've not experienced clogging or other issues with these inks. I've had them in C/C pens for weeks without issue. I'll not use them in vintage pens nor those not easily disassembled for thorough cleaning.

    J. Herbin inks are amongst my favorite brands. I've never had a cleaning or staining issue with any. I consider them to be amongst the finest on the market.

  2. Hi Glenn,

    Thanks for the comment. That is great information!


  3. Hi Glenn,

    Thanks for the comment. That is great information!