Ink Review - J. Herbin "Emerald of Chivor"

Uffda, it feels like I've been working on this post forever!  Of course, that's not entirely true, but with how far it got pushed back due to my illness last week, it has been on my mind longer than most.  So let's get to it, shall we?

Emerald of Chivor, henceforth referred to as EoC, is the latest in the 1670 line of inks from J. Herbin.  The really special things about these inks are that 1) they all contain shimmery particulate, and 2) they have bottles that are quite pretty to look at but impossible to fill a pen from.

I'm quite sure that this is because I am becoming curmudgeonly in my old age (I turn 26 this week, so it's a downhill slide from there), but I am so over the shimmery ink trend.  Everyone loses their bananas when a new 1670 ink comes out, and with the new Diamine Shimmertastic inks it feels like I'm back in middle school and everyone has those awful glittery gel pens.  I get that these inks are pushing boundaries and can produce some really cool effects when used artistically, but my experience has been that shimmery inks are pretty underwhelming when used like normal ink with a nib on the finer end of things.  If you want to read my reviews of other 1670 inks, you can find Rouge Hematite here and Stormy Grey here

I'll stop ranting now and talk about the ink itself a bit.  For EoC I did not test highlighting, since I figured that very few people would be highlighting an ink like this.

Shimmery-ness notwithstanding, this is a very pretty ink.  The base is a pleasant, dark teal that exhibits a decent amount of shading and would be appropriate even in a professional setting, as it is fairly inoffensive.  As you can see in the image above, there is no gold sheen visible in my normal writing, and the full effect for the swab is only achieved under direct sunlight at certain oblique angles.

I found the dry time to be very fast, but of course that will vary with nib size and wetness of a given pen.  I also didn't notice any bleeding or feathering with this ink, but I primarily used it on premium papers like Clairefontaine Triomphe and Tomoe River, with a small amount of writing in a Field Notes Workshop Companion notebook.

In terms of water resistance for EoC, there is none.  I'm not too surprised by this because my experience is that the other 1670 inks are not terribly water resistant, and this ink is also not exactly marketed to the crowd that is using their pens to label important documents for archiving.

Based on my rant at the beginning of this post, you will probably not be surprised to hear that I am not telling you to go buy this ink immediately.  If you really want to try it, I definitely suggest picking up a sample or even going half-sies on a bottle with a buddy.  But, unless you are an artist or you plan to use this ink to write out holiday cards (hey, there's an idea...), I doubt that this will be an ink that will be consumed by anyone at an appreciable rate.  If you enjoy the base color but don't really care much about the sparkles, you can check out similar inks here and see if one tickles your fancy for probably a decent amount less cash.

This ink was provided to me for the purpose of use and review and I am not being compensated for this review in any way.  All opinions above are my own and you are free to disagree with them if you like (especially this time, since I know I'm in the minority on shimmery inks).

Ink review - J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis

This might be hard to believe for some of the newer blog readers, but I used to be a pretty prolific ink reviewer.  I am working on getting back up to some sort of reasonable speed, so hopefully you'll be seeing a higher frequency of ink reviews to come...

This ink came in the form of a cartridge that I purchased in a large group of single cartridges and samples from a member on FPN.  The collection was mostly blues and I had written off quite a few of them simply because I am not a lover of blue inks unless they have some sort of other interesting quality, but after seeing this one I am thinking I should reevaluate my position and try out some more of them.

Bleu Myosotis, or "Forget-Me-Not Blue" is not really a pure blue ink, but more of a dusty indigo.  I find that most of the J. Herbin inks I try are not super saturated, which usually lends them to some pretty spectacular shading.  That was not so much the case here, though I think that shading was lacking because the flow was sooooo generous in my pen.  J. Herbin inks tend to be pretty free flowing anyway and I had just disassembled my ink testing pen for cleaning prior to loading it up, so I think that perhaps my nib and feed were not quite seated correctly.

I assure you that I did actually drip water on the scribbles to the left, but it is not super noticeable.  I would put this ink up there with Poussiere de Lune as being water resistant enough to not worry too much about my writing being destroyed by errant raindrops, but not waterproof enough that I would address an envelop with it.

Overall I think this is a solid performer, though I'm not all that interested in getting a full bottle anytime soon.  I would, however, pick up a pack of more cartridges, since I think it would be a good ink to use in my Kaweco Al-Sport, that is if I ever get it back from my older brother.  (I kid - he is in Rome for the summer and is borrowing the pen so that he can have a reliable writer that will fit in his pocket.  I have no doubt it will come back and be better for the journey.)

Has anyone else tried this ink?  How do you like it?  I know that my writing looks a lot darker than other reviews I've seen, so take the examples above with a grain of salt.

Ink review - J. Herbin Rouge Hematite

Rouge Hematite is a bit of a legendary ink - as far as I know, it was the first to have those pesky little metallic particles in suspension so that we can have sheen any time we want.  It's also a bit legendary for having a super inconvenient bottle to fill out of, but that's a whole other story - I find that the most practical bottles are often not the best looking and the Rough Hematite bottle is definitely a looker.


For me, this ink is a bit meh.  My bottle was received as a Christmas gift last year, so as of right now it's the latest formulation (there have been a few versions).  I think that there is less gold particulate this time around, and I have not noticed the layer of gold along the bottom of the bottle that I saw with Stormy Grey.  To me, that layer of gold is a sign that the solution has been over saturated and that's never a good thing.

Overall, I don't love this ink.  It's a nice red, but the gold sheen doesn't come out on every paper.  On Tomoe River paper, this ink is gorgeous.  On regular copy paper or even the 24 lb paper that I used for this review, the ink soaks in a bit too much and it loses what makes it special.

On the other hand, this is a pleasant ink to write with.  It has good flow and I've never had any problems with pen clog-age.  Still, this is sort of a pigmented ink, so you need to exercise really vigilant pen hygiene here.  Don't leave this ink in a pen that you plan to use infrequently - in that case, ink up with just what you need, use it, clean it, and repeat as needed.  And if you are going to be using an entire fill of this ink, probably best to use a pen that can be disassembled so you can really scrub the feed clean.

It annoys me that the ink is not very water resistant.  Especially if you are using it on paper that really shows off the sheen, it will disappear when hit with moisture.  True story, I have a page in an old journal where I wrote a quote in this ink and then left it sitting a bit too close to my kitchen sink.  Let's just say that it's not quite as pretty anymore...

Overall, I think this is an ink that would be best experienced via a sample.  Then you get a chance to get the special experience without spending the money and space on a full bottle.  But hey, I could be wrong!  Let me know if you use this ink a lot, and if so, how do you use it?

Here's a scan of the full review sheet:

This ink was given to me as a gift and I am not being compensated for this review in any way.  All opinions above are my own and you are free to disagree with me if you like.