Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Beaker Pen Cup

by Tony Thomas

I decided that I wanted to put some of my frequently used fountain pens in a cup on my desk for quick access.  But what kind of cup did I want to use?  A coffee cup?  A Ball jar?  Something else?

After thinking about it a bit, I decided it would be cool to put them in a lab beaker made of borosilicate (thermal shock resistant) glass.  After checking the measurements, I settled on a 250 ml beaker and placed an order on eBay.  The price was a bit more than $7 with shipping.

I think it has a high-tech look and the beaker is perfect for that purpose.  Where do you keep your frequently used pens?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Favorite Pen Dealers

by Tony Thomas

As many of us look for places to shop for gifts this holiday season, I thought I would take a few minutes and share some of my favorite pen dealers:

The Goulet Pen Company: I have followed Brian and Rachel since they were selling fountain pens, paper, and ink out of their house. In recent years, Goulet has grown become the one of the premier fountain pen dealers in the United States, with a strong emphasis on customer service and education. They have a You Tube channel with an exhaustive library of videos on fountain pens, ink, paper, accessories and tips. Goulet also has one of the broadest ranges of products of any fountain pen dealer.  Their website is top notch with plenty of custom tools to help you find the best pens, paper and ink for your needs.  In addition, they offer great service with a personal touch. 
I only wish they offered free shipping options and faster fulfillment when they are backed up with orders.

Jet Pens: Jet Pens is another great dealer that offers all kinds of writing instruments (fountain pens, ball points, roller balls, dip pens, pencils, etc.) as well as paper, ink and more. Most of their products come from Japan, and I have a great affection for Japanese products. I love the fact that they offer free shipping for all orders over $25. I also really like their online product guides and have found them to be helpful. Jet Pens offers prompt shipping and most of my orders ship the same day or the next.

iPen Store: I have probably done business with iPen Store longer than any other dealer. They sell a wide variety of writing instruments, including ballpoints, rollerballs and mechanical pencils. Aside from the brand names, they also sell their own line of quality pens under the "Rosetta" brand name. IPS has an ebay store under the name "Streetfair" and I believe that is where I bought my first Lamy Safari many years ago. As they are in the next state (MI) and they ship First Class USPS, I have found them to be a quick and reliable source.

Pen Chalet: Pen Chalet has also become one of my go to dealers for fountain pens, although they also sell rollerballs, ball points and mechanical pencils. Their web site is easy to navigate, their prices are very competitive and they offer fast and friendly service.

Anderson's Pens: I have only placed one or two orders with Anderson's, but Brian and Lisa are well known and respected in the fountain pen community. They have a brick and mortar store in Appleton, WI with a wide range of products and I have found their customer service and shipping speed to be exceptional. They also have a lot of knowledge about vintage pens, especially Esterbrook.

I hope you will check out these dealers and give them a try.

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

TWSBI Eco Review

by Tony Thomas

I know I am late to the party, but I finally bought a TWSBI Eco fountain pen, made in Taiwan. Due to its amazing popularity, the Eco has been a difficult pen for me to score. Every time I was ready to pull the trigger, it was on backorder. Now I see why.

To their credit, TWSBI is company that puts a lot of thought into the design of their pens. They are always experimenting with new and innovative designs, building prototypes and getting feedback from the fountain pen community. You can always see what they are working on by checking out their Facebook page. A pen like the Eco is the result.

"Eco" is short for "economical", and at less than $30, this pen is pretty amazing. Aside from some cheap fountain pens from India, this is the least expensive piston filler you can buy. The main advantages of piston filler pens are their large ink capacity and ease of use and cleaning.

In the case of the Eco, it is easy to disassemble and clean using the handy plastic wrench provided with the pen. (The only caveat is that you need to be careful not to completely disassemble the piston assembly when you remove it because it can be a bear to reassemble correctly.)

Speaking of plastic, TWSBI reduced the price of this pen by reducing the number of metal parts of the pen to just three: the nib, the clip and the metal band at the base of the clip. The rest of the pen is made of plastic, although I do not think that this fact diminishes its quality in any way.

I find the pen to be very attractive. The Eco I selected has a black hexagonal cap, red finial with TWSBI logo at the top of the cap, silver-colored clip and matching ring at the base of the cap, transparent body for monitoring the ink level, and black filling knob at the base of the pen. It sports a 1.1 mm italic nib that writes a bit thinner than other identically-sized italic nibs in my collection.

I found the nib to be very smooth and well adjusted right out of the box. This is unusual, as I find that many stub nibs need a bit of work on a micro mesh pad to write as smoothly as I would like.

Bottom line: I think the Eco is one of the best low-cost fountain pens that you can buy. This pen will be in my EDC arsenal for the foreseeable future.

For more information:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Platinum Preppy 2mm Extra-Fine Fountain Pen

by Tony Thomas

While I have reviewed the standard Platinum Preppy previously, I wanted to check out and review the extra-fine 2 mm version as well. To my knowledge, this is least expensive Japanese extra-fine pen that you can buy.

As with the standard Platinum Preppy, this pen is easy to hold and very comfortable. Because it is molded from light plastic, it is certainly more fragile than more expensive fountain pens. It comes in black and blue-black and can be used with standard Platinum ink cartridges or a Platinum converter (that costs more than the pen.) I found the nib to be very smooth and a pleasure to write with.

If can be found for as little as $4, and it really is a bargain for those who are like to write very small or very fine text.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Canson XL Marker Paper

by Tony Thomas

As I am always on the lookout for fountain pen friendly paper, I like to hang out at art supply stores and check out what they have. I have heard good things about paper used by artists to create layouts and sketches with markers, so it became the object of my attention during my most recent visit.

Upon examination, a paper that has intrigued me is Canson XL Marker paper. It is somewhat light at 70 gsm (18 lb.) and semi-transparent. What really impressed me is its amazing smoothness. It is also made in France, and the French are known for making quality paper. (Clairefontaine is a great example.)

Although it is someone expensive at around $10 for one hundred 9” x 12” sheets, I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. This paper is ultra smooth and does not feather with fountain pen ink. There is also no bleed through, although a bit of show through is evident due to its light weight.

My plan is to cut it down to smaller sheets so I can use it in my leather notebook. A very impressive paper!

Update: After doing some more testing, I have found you can only get optimal results on one side of the paper only.   The other side seems to have a different finish and does not accept ink as readily.  Of course, this depends on the pen, ink and nib you are using.  So, make sure that you test both sides of the paper and label which side is up if you remove the paper from the pad.

Note: A similar paper called Canson Pro-Layout Marker paper is also available for the same price but the pad only contains 50 sheets.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Recharging Your Dried Out Fountain Pen

by Tony Thomas

It is hot outside and you know what that means: Your fountain pens will be more prone to drying out.

What do you do with bone dry pens? Conventional wisdom says that you clean them out and refill them with fresh ink. But I have another, more frugal, solution.

When two of my less expensive pens dried out suddenly, I just reached for a syringe and a bottle of distilled water and filled the cartridge or converter up with water. I then dipped the tip of the pens into some water and they wrote perfectly again.

What you have to realize is that ink is nothing more than dye suspended in a water solution. When the water evaporates, the dye is still there in much more concentrated form. When you add water, it dilutes the dye and the pen will write again. Depending upon how much water you add and how much dye is left, it may be more or less saturated than the original color of the ink. But it will write and you will save a bit of money on ink.

And, for me, that is a good thing!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Peyton Street Pens Ranga 3 Duofold Flat Top

by Tony Thomas

I just bought a Ranga 3 Duofold flat top from Peyton Street Pens.

Although I own Ranga 3 eyedropper pen, I always wanted to get one with a Jowo nib and feed so that I could use it with a converter. 

 As you may or may or not know, Ranga is a pen manufacturer in India that makes unique handmade pens in ebonite and acrylic. Peyton Street Pens has a distribution agreement with Ranga and also offers several models that they designed. They offer reasonable prices and fast service.  I received my pen from PSP in a few days.  If you order direct from Ranga, you typically have to wait at least 3 weeks to receive your pen.

And even though the pen is described as being orange and blue ebonite, I found that it is more of a medium brown with blue-black stripes. It is a great contrast and the color is growing on me. The fit and finish of the pen are top notch and I noticed that the breather hole that Ranga typically drilled in the cap their eyedropper pens is missing. That means that this pen should not dry out as easily.

I ordered mine with a silver clip and the nib is a fine Jowo dual-tone. It needed no adjustment out of the box and is a great writer. The only issue that I have with the the Jowo nib unit is that mine will not unscrew. It is firmly attached to the section. This isn’t a huge problem for since it is easy enough to pull the nib and feed for cleaning or if I would like to change nibs.   (Per Teri at Peyton Street Pens, the nib unit should screw in and out and silicone grease is applied to the threads before assembly.)

It is a big pen--about 6” long capped and 5.5” uncapped. It is comfortable to hold and has a nice section. As I have large hands, this pen is a great fit for me and will certainly be a daily writer. 

The PSP Ranga 3 and writing sample

Peyton Street Pens Gift Box
Dual-tone Jowo Fine Nib

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Problem Pilot Prera

by Tony Thomas

I bought a Pilot Prera demonstrator fountain pen three months ago.

I've always liked Pilot pens and I thought it was time to try one of their mid-priced offerings. The pen itself is great and sports an italic nib. It is a great writer and it's up to the quality that I have come to expect from Pilot--except for one small thing. Ink tends to collect in the cap and finds its way into the space between the opaque cap liner and the cap.

Brian Goulet of The Goulet Pen Co. documented this flaw and found an ingenious way to remove the cap liner using a common tool. You can watch the video here:

I tried his method and discovered that, on my pen, the cap liner was attached very securely and would not budge. I contacted Jet Pens (the dealer I bought it from) and they suggested I contact Pilot directly since it was a warranty issue.

I e-mailed Pilot customer service and the rep I dealt with (Holly) was very nice. She told me to send the pen back to them and they would repair it under warranty. The whole process took about three weeks from the time I mailed it to the time I received it back. From what I was told, they replaced the cap.

Fast forward a few months. It happened again. More ink under the cap. Not nearly as bad as the first time, but it still detracts from the pen’s appearance. And, again, the cap liner was tight and would not budge. I contacted Holly at Pilot again and told her that is definitely a design flaw and is something that Pilot needs to address. She forwarded my e-mail to her repair department.

I received this response:

“This is not a defect. If ink is getting under the cap then most likely there is too much ink pushed out from the converter and is on the nib neck when he puts the cap on or possibly he is not cleaning off the nib neck after filling the converter and before putting the cap on. Unless the nib is leaking so bad that it fills the cap and ink goes past the sleeve there really is no reason why ink would get under the sleeve. He should make sure there is no ink on the nib neck and that he is not over filling it before he puts the cap on.”

What? Pilot is blaming me for what is clearly a documented design flaw?

Needless to say, I am not happy with their response. I did receive an apology from Holly for what I consider an insulting response. She told me that I could send the pen in again for repair, but I already paid for postage to send it back once and I don’t want to do it again.

The moral of this story is to steer clear of the Pilot Prera demonstrator. Warranty repair isn’t the solution to this issue. The pen design needs to be be revisited. Caveat emptor!

Update: Received this message from Pilot USA via Twitter on 6/28: "We want to apologize for your negative experience. We've recently heard from other users of the Prera as well, and the issue with the leaking caps has been referred to our parent company in Japan. We wanted to let you know that we have addressed the problem and hope to have updates and design changes soon."

Ink under the cap liner again at the bottom

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rhodia Bloc R Series Pad

 by Tony Thomas

I recently purchased a Rhodia #12 Bloc R Pad. 

 It is a small top-stapled writing pad that is 8.5 x 12 mm. Unlike standard Rhodia pads, it contains 90 gsm (41 lb.) unlined ivory high grade vellum paper. Typical Rhodia pads contain 80 gsm paper.  Heavier paper means less show through.

It is a great little pad with typical Rhodia smoothness.  The  size is perfect for quick notes or for testing pens and inks.  The ivory paper definitely highlights the ink color. I look forward to purchasing more of the Bloc R pads in the future!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A New Milestone: 100,000 Pageviews

by Tony Thomas

I want to thank all of the readers of this blog for helping me reach a new milestone: 100,000 pageviews!

Writing "The Frugal Fountain Pen" is a labor of love and I look forward to continuing to serve the growing fountain pen community with my views and product reviews.

Again, many thanks!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Platinum Preppy

by Tony Thomas

The Platinum Preppy is one of the wonders of the fountain pen world. You can find it for as little as $3 and it is refillable. An amazing price for a decent quality fountain pen! 

You can get it in various colors and in fine and medium nib sizes.  A set of two refills can be found for less than $2 and you can refill them with bottled ink to save money.  You can also turn it into a an eyedropper pen with an o-ring and a bit of silicone grease. 

The nib quality of this pen is excellent for the price and can even be made better with a bit of smoothing. It is a pen that you can carry with you and is cheap enough to give away to anyone who is interested in fountain pens. 

It is a great little pen!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Using My Document Holder Notebook

by Tony Thomas

I have been using my new custom "document holder" notebook for almost two weeks and can say that I am still very pleased with it. 

As I wrote earlier, I constructed it from a 8.5 x 11 piece of tooling leather that I dyed and punched.

I really love the flexibility the notebook provides. I can use all kinds of paper in it (much of it custom cut or folded to fit). As I use fountain pens, pencils and gel pens, I can use better and cheaper paper as I desire.

Right now, I have Rhodia graph and lined paper, HP 32# laser, Georgia Pacific 24# laser and cheap 
Indonesian lined paper loaded. I can sort the sheets I have completed to fit my daily requirements. When I am done with a sheet of paper, I can file it or toss it.

It is absolutely perfect for my workflow!

For more information on the original notebook:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My New Notebook

by Tony Thomas

I have a problem with regular notebooks.  Unless they are dedicated to a singular purpose, I usually fill them up with information that has no long-term significance.  My initial solution was to use disc-bound Circa and Arc notebooks for everyday use but found them to be both bulky and heavy to carry around.

I decided that a better solution would be to create a notebook that would allow me to carry loose papers that could be easily rearranged and discarded when no longer needed.  These days, most of my important archival information is in Evernote and I either transfer the information from my written notes manually or take a quick photo of the written page with my tablet or phone and store it electronically in Evernote.

I ordered a nice piece of tooling leather from eBay, cut it down to 8.5" x 11" and dyed it.  I added an elastic band to hold everything together.  It is similar to a traveler's notebook and very quick and easy to make -- less than an hour from start to finish.  I custom cut the blank pages down to 8" x 4.75" so that they fit comfortably.

So far, I am very happy with the result.  This notebook allows me to use any kind of paper that I want and to mix and match lined paper, grid paper, and various weights of regular copy paper.  I can even include receipts, index cards or any other stray bits of paper that I encounter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nemosine Nibs

by Tony Thomas

I love Nemosine nibs.  They are inexpensive and come in a range of line widths including the unusual (and usually sold out)  .8 and .6 italics.  

They are reportedly made in Germany and compare favorably to the JoWo and Bock nibs I have used.  I have no idea who makes them as there are only a few nib makers in that country.

They are available exclusively from and on Amazon by their parent company, Paramount Goods, LLC.

Nemosine nibs can make inexpensive pens from China and India come alive.  As you can see, I have quite a few of them. Many others are installed in pens that I use frequently (like Jinhaos, Noodlers and other Chinese and Indian pens).  Highly recommended!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Quo Vadis Compact Habana Review

by Tony Thomas

I recently received a Quo Vadis Compact Habana notebook from Exaclair and decided to a quick review.  

First of all, it brings back memories of the Moleskine notebooks that I have used in the past but the paper quality is much, much better.  It uses 85 gram Clairefontaine paper which is the paper of choice for many fountain pen users.  I found the ivory paper color to be very pleasing and it looks good with most inks.  

The notebook has a faux leather cover, a bookmark ribbon, an elastic cover closure and a rear pocket. The Quo Vadis logo is embossed on the front cover, and on the back, the Quo Vadis name and logo appear at the bottom.  It is made in the USA with Clairefontaine paper from France.  The binding quality is excellent and the notebook has a very impressive fit and feel.  

As expected, there was no feathering or bleed thru when using the notebook with fountain pens, and it provided a smooth and enjoyable writing experience.   The line width is a bit narrow for my taste and the lined version of this notebook may not work that well for you if you have large handwriting and like to use really fat nibs (it is also available with blank pages).  Personally, I would like to see this notebook offered in narrow and wider-ruled pages as well as in dot grid and graph.  I would also like to have more pages available (perhaps 100).

All in all, this is a great notebook and a joy to use!


Leather-like cover
16 x 24 cm (6.25" x 9.25")
85 gram ivory Clairefontaine paper
Acid and chlorine free paper
80 double-sided lined sheets
Round Corners
5.56mm (.219") ruled
Sewn binding
Elastic Closure
Rear Pocket
PEFC Certified
Made in the USA

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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

by Tony Thomas

It seems that letter writing has become something of a lost art. E-mail is ubiquitous. Cursive writing, arcane.

However, there are some great reasons to write letters. Here are some I came up with:

1) Letters are personal: Unlike impersonal (and sometimes annoying) e-mail, letters add a personal touch that cannot be duplicated.

2) Letters are tangible: They can be held and folded. They can be stored and re-read. And, if kept out of direct sunlight and if archival paper is used, they can even be read by future generations.

3) Writing is therapeutic: I derive a great deal of comfort and enjoyment from writing in longhand. My thoughts flow naturally and easily. It is relaxing and mentally stimulating. I would say it is even therapeutic.

4) They will get read: Everyone's e-mail box is stuffed and every e-mail is just one button push from oblivion. How many times have you asked: "Did you get my e-mail"? By contrast, most people are pretty mail-starved these days and your letter will likely find the eyeballs of the recipient.

5) They will be appreciated: As it takes time and effort to write a letter, seal an envelope, attach a stamp and mail it, your intentionality will be admired and appreciated.

6) They allow you to make productive use of your FPs: What good is owning a bunch of fountain pens if you don't use them? Writing letters is a really good reason.

7) They help you to improve your handwriting: Before I started using fountain pens, I printed everything. Now, I am back to using cursive for the first time since high school and my handwriting is very legible and even somewhat attractive if I do say so myself!

So, pick up a pen and write someone!!

I found a cool Facebook page on this subject:

Karas Kustoms "Ink" Fountain Pen Review

by Tony Thomas

I have been an admirer of Karas Kustoms pens for a while now. 

In fact, I purchased a few of their rollerball pens previously (the Render K and Bolt in aluminum) to house the ultra-fine Japanese gel refills from Pilot and Uni that I love to use. Of course, I prefer to use fountain pens whenever I can, but as you probably know, ultra-fine fountain pen nibs are not a joy to write with. Plus, there are times when rollerballs are preferable.

If you don't know anything about Karas Kustoms, they are a CNC machine shop located in Arizona that decided to get into the pen business. They achieved their initial visibility through successful Kickstarter campaigns targeted at the burgeoning EDC (everyday carry) crowd. 

What the company does is machine the pens they sell out of metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper. They do this on a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) lathe and then finish the pens by hand. If you would like to see how this is done, check out this You Tube video:

When I reached out to them and they agreed to send me an “Ink” fountain pen for review, I was jazzed. And when I received the pen, I certainly was not disappointed. To put it simply, their pens are a work of art. The level of craftsmanship and detail that goes into these pens is amazing. The one I received was made out of silver-colored polished aluminum with a Bock 250 medium nib.

Although I understand that the pens made out of copper and brass are very heavy, the aluminum pen that I received is comparatively light and well-balanced. The size of the pen appeals to me since I have large hands. The threads are perfectly cut and not sharp and the tapered section is comfortable. This pen also has the most “industrial strength” clip that I have ever seen and it works well (though a clipless version of this pen is also available).

An international converter is provided as well as five-pack of Monteverde ink cartridges. To fill the pen, you need to insert the converter into the bottle, wipe it off, and then put it back into the pen because the nib is slightly recessed into the section. You can also use a syringe with a blunt needle to fill the converter.

The Bock 250 #6 nib is very impressive. It is a very smooth writer and perfectly adjusted. I ordered a spare extra-fine nib unit and ground the medium nib into a custom stub to for letter writing and signatures. The fact that you can easily change nibs makes this pen very versatile, especially if you can’t afford multiple pens.

All in all, I am very pleased with the Karas Kustoms “Ink”. It is an impressive, high-quality fountain pen that is made in the USA. And it is certainly a conversation starter! 


Weight: 1.3 oz
Length capped: 5-3/8"
Length uncapped: 5"
Pen Does Not Post
Width: 9/16"
Section Width at Narrowest Point: 6/16"

For more information:

"Ink" Hanging Out With My Other KK Pens
Custom Ground Bock Stub Sample

"Ink" Capped

"Ink" Uncapped with Bock 250 Nib
EF Nib Sample

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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

J. Herbin Rouge Hematite Review

by Tony Thomas

This is my second review of the J. Herbin 1670 collection of inks.  Up next is Rouge Hematite.

For those who missed the last installment: "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."

J. Herbin Rouge Hematite is a beautiful, rich, shade of red.  It is saturated, but not nearly as dense as the Emerald of Chivor ink that I reviewed previously.  Again, I used my Conklin Duragraph with a 1.1 stub for the test.  The flow is excellent and the dry time is reasonable on Rhodia the 80gsm paper that I used.  I did not notice any significant shading with this ink.  It was a pleasure to write with and it is a glorious color of red.  Also, compared to the Emerald of Chivor, it was a breeze to clean it out of my pen after use.  Just like Emerald of Chivor, you get a different color if you shake the bottle.  You can see the flecks of gold if you look closely.  Highly recommended if you need a nice red ink.

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.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Jet Pens Chibi 2 Pocket Pen

by Tony Thomas

While filling up my shopping cart at Jet Pens, I decided to pick up a few of their Chibi 2 pocket fountain pens.  At less than $3 each, the price was right.  Plus, I noticed that they have received good reviews on their web site.

After testing it out, I have concluded that it is a great little pen.  It has a smooth IPG fine nib, it posts (but not all that securely) and is comfortable to write with.  It comes with a black cartridge and accepts a Monteverde converter (which, sadly, costs almost as much as the pen).  I have decided to stick with cartridges and re-fill them when they run out.

The Chibi 2 is a great snap-cap fountain pen to carry with you in your pocket or purse or to give away to people who would like to see what it is like to write with a fountain pen.  At $2.99, you really can't go wrong!

For more information:

Chibi 2 next to Kaweco Sport and Rosetta Napoleon

Cap, Section and IPG Fine Nib

Writing Sample Mnemosyne 192 Pad

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.