Sunday, March 28, 2010

Five Diamine inks

5 Diamine inks in ink journal, I

Here we have a very unscientific comparison of 5 fountain pen inks by Diamine: Majestic Purple, Imperial Purple, Delamere Green, Marine, and Steel Blue. They are done with toothpicks in the ink, except that the bottom example of Steel Blue also has a writing sample with the ink in a pen.

5 Diamine inks in ink journal, II

These samples are in my Clairefontaine ink journal, and they were taken with no flash in natural sunlight. I turned the journal three different directions on the table, so you'll see a slightly different angle for the lighting. Some people don't care, but I do - I like to see the subtleties, especially when I'm trying to make judgments on a computer screen.

5 Diamine inks in ink journal, III

Diamine is an English maker of fine fountain pen inks, and I recently purchased a whole passel of smaller 30ml bottles directly from them. Shipping from the UK wasn't all that bad, all things considered, and I like trying out the colors in the smaller bottles. I knew that I'd be getting some similar colors, and I am pretty fascinated by the results of how similar Imperial and Majestic Purple are, as well as Steel Blue and Marine.

The Delamere Green is sort of the odd duck - it's not similar to any inks on the page, but it is a gorgeous dark green with a deep hint of blue.

Warning: I'm about to get geeky about ink, so if you're a general letter-writer reader, you might not dig into this next bit. (Maybe I've lost you already.)

I am really in love with Diamine inks these days. The color variety is beautiful, the saturation is excellent, the shading is almost always pronounced and fabulous, and the behavior is near-perfect: good flow and VERY fast dry time. I've bemoaned the fact before that I am right-handed, but I write like a lefty: I'm an "overwriter" which means that I curl my hand around, and my hand sits on top of the lines I've written above. For a slow-drying ink, this means almost certain smudging unless I place a very careful blotter on top of the paper. With Diamine inks, this is almost never necessary.

In a separate post I will show off Diamine Violet, which I only got as a sample - that is the one bottle I am certain I will buy in a larger size. As for the purples, I have a slight preference for Imperial because it is more blue, and Majestic is more on the pink/magenta end.

I shall almost certainly acquire a larger bottle of Delamere Green.

Marine or Steel Blue? They are just too similar to buy both, but I'm undecided. They behave differently in pens, of course, and I'm just going to have to try them both out in different pens. So far I tend to lean towards Marine, because Steel Blue is so similar to another color I love: Private Reserve Blue Suede.

So many inks, so little time...


  1. Do you have any fountain pens with cartridges, or are they all those which you fill from bottles? You know that I'm just starting to get familiar with fountain pens, so everything is new to me. The few fountain pens which I have are only with cartridges. How do you fill the other kind of pens, is it very messy? I can guess that there really are much more variety in ink colors if you don't need to use cartridges. And I love colors so I can imagine that I could get excited of all the choices.
    Diamine ink sounds good, if it dries fast. Is it also water proof, or at least so much water proof that you can use it on an envelope?

  2. Sirpa - I prefer bottled ink, but a few of my pens only take cartridges so I use cartridges in them. I do not find the filling of pens to be messy in most cases, but I do exercise caution since I am rather clumsy - I fill my pens near the sink, and always have the bottle on top of a plate in case anything spills. Diamine makes a few waterproof inks, but most of them, sadly, are not waterproof. None of the ones I listed above are waterproof at all.

  3. I love Steel Blue. I got a bottle of it as a gift from a penfriend in UK and I use it in my Pilot Vanishing Point pen. It is my favorite pen (so far) and my favorite blue ink. I was surprised at how much I love Steel Blue since I am usually not a big fan of blue ink at all.

    I'm going to be buying lots of little samples from Pear Tree next week, and that syringe system you recommended. I have a few cartridge pens (cheapo but oh so much fun Pilot Petit1) that I would love to refill with bottle ink.

  4. clairefontaine! i love those journals i bought a bunch of them while i was in france and i must say theyre fantastic! i use them for taking notes but what i really like is the thickness of the paper in them :)

  5. The Imperial definitely has more "Royal blue" in it, at least from your photos though I guess I didn't see that much of it when I wrote with it the other day... I think I like the steel blue better than the marine - the latter is more like an aqua and the steel has a little more green in it...but then again I just have a preference for green in general.

  6. i love all those color inks. i love the one that has the hint of deep blue.actually i would write with all of those colors.

  7. Thank you Ilona for your answer! I should just find a shop in Internet to order a fountain pen good enough and not too expensive. In Finland it seems to be very hard to find fountain pens. And the Internet shop should be one which also could send to Finland in acceptable price. Do you remember when I said that inspired by you I made an order to Paper Source? I then got an email from them that for the order of 35.45 USD, which already contained 7 USD for shipping, I should additionally pay at least 93,75 USD to be able to get my stuff to Finland!! - That was too much for me and I had to cancel the order.

  8. I really love the ink you are showing here. But I guess I will stay with my normal pen. My boyfriend is already angry for buying so much letter paper and so, so I can't do this to him ;)!

    I would prefer Marine :)

  9. Sirpa, how AWFUL about postage! I can't believe it cost that much to ship things to Finland!!!

  10. i love all those shades...b/c of you, i'm the proud owner of 7 pilot varsity disposable fountain pens. you were right, it's a totally different writing experience! :)

  11. Oh cool, bklyn76 - so glad to spread the love of fountain pens! I know you're a letter-writer, too. :-)

  12. I haven't tried any Diamine inks yet. Maybe it is time too.

  13. I have been ordering stuff from American Internet shops for reasonable price, but 93,75 USD really was Paper Source's lowest price to send stuff to Finland, though I wasn't going to order anything too heavy. And this was for the slowest delivery time, so there were even higher prices for shorter delivery! They explained that they are using third party for shipping to foreign countries and that makes the cost.

  14. Love the Marine! And the purples.

    By the way, shipping to Canada is also usually expensive ($30), which is ironic when the company charges standard rates for Alaska shipments. Must be something to do with import/export duties.

  15. Wonderful! I love Diamine inks, and you've shown two of my absolute faves here; Steel Blue and Imperial Purple. They're just fantastic in every way. Great write-up, and you've hit the nail square with your discussion of the inks' shading and saturation. It's hard to find both in the same ink, but Diamine inks seem to do this brilliantly.