Two very dark Diamine inks – Eclipse and Denim

Two months between posts is really not acceptable. It is not as if I have a shortage of un-remarked-on pieces of stationery. On the other hand it is a huge cliché of infrequent bloggers that they pop up to say how awful they are for not having made an entry, and then don’t make any entries for the next year, so I’d best not do that. Whoops!

…anyway, I got some ink recently. (“What ink did you get?”) I got four inks from Diamine, out of their new range. Diamine is a terrific company, by the way. They don’t make inks with extreme chemical qualities that allow them to stop bullets and raise the dead; they do, however, make nice inks in a huge range of delightful colours that behave well in any pen at reasonable prices, and they release new ones as well rather than sitting around with a traditional range. (They also make Diamine Registrars’ Ink, which is one of the best iron gall inks one can buy.)

Here are two of the inks. The other two were Graphite – a greyish green – and Wild Strawberry – yet another red. I have no idea why I keep buying red inks, but I think that I have more of them than I have blues, which is another colour that I pretty much never use.

I have made these scans at 300 DPI, but note that, on the page, in anything less than intense direct sunlight, the inks seem much darker than they do here. One of the frustrations of writing about ink, rather than with ink, is that photographs and scans just never properly demonstrate what the ink looks like. Photographs are mostly too dark, except in the best of light, and it is quite late here at the moment. Scans are always too bright. It’s a tragic injustice if you ask me.



This is an extremely dark and muted violet. Regular readers may be aware that I am fond of purple inks, and am keen on the J Herbin “Poussiere De Lune”. If you liked that but thought “you know, it isn’t all that dark really, and perhaps it could be a little wetter because it feels very dry to the page” then you should immediately buy some Eclipse. It is a very nice writer, with excellent flow yet not being too wet, and works well on even fairly rubbish paper. This would, I think, be a good ink if one were in a professional situation but wished to show a little bit of individuality, though really, just using a fountain pen at all marks you out as “fascinatingly artistic and eccentric” and/or “bit bloody odd, quite frankly, do they ever talk to customers? have you run a CRB check?”



This is another dark ink, though not quite as dark as the Eclipse, and also blue instead of purple. It is not amazingly muted but is not a bright blue, and perhaps leans towards the indigo end. Again, like the Eclipse it is very well-behaved and a lovely practical writing ink. I used both of these inks in this years aborted NaNoWriMo and produced thousands of words with both without having any smearing or flow issues.

With blue inks I either like them to be quite dark and low colour saturation (J Herbin Bleu Nuit, R&K Salix) or absurdly bright (Bay State Blue, Waterman South Seas Blue). Denim falls into the former category. I think that it behaves better than the Bleu Nuit and is also a better colour, slightly darker – I would do you a colour comparison but unfortunately my bottle of Bleu Nuit fell to the dread plague of SITB1, and I am unwilling to load up a pen with Quorn.

A return to form

As a note, I have been a bit annoyed with some of Diamine’s “New Century” highly-saturated2 inks which take forever to dry and don’t even have the justification of some of the Noodler’s inks that they can survive in volcanoes. If you, too, have been annoyed by this, you will be happy with both the Eclipse and the Denim, which are both proper shading inks with distinctive colour that actually dry in less than a minute.

They are not waterproof, but then, you could always not spill water on your writing. I have increased respect for water-soluble inks after knocking over a bottle of Herbin Eclat De Saphir on Sunday which splashed all over the carpet of my rented flat. Not that it has disappeared, but it is gradually disappearing, with the application of water, paper towels and swear-words.

Where can I buy these wonderful inks?

Well, I am glad you asked me that. You can order them directly from Diamine in either little 30ml plastic bottles (which I prefer to test things) or big Art Deco 80ml glass ones by going to the Diamine inks site. It is not the nicest-looking site in the world, but it works. For foreign types, I believe that some other sites do distribute Diamine inks and may charge you less in postage.

  1. Stuff In The Bottle – a mysterious fungal infection that means that clumps of rubbery crud grow around and within ink. Not something that one really wants to get within a pen. Since the Nanny State banned certain biocidal chemicals from use in ink for pathetic reasons like “they give factory workers cancer”, the risk of this has increased from “effectively none” to “basically none”. However, it can happen to small manufacturers. 

  2. Saturated in writing terms, relating to colour shading and variation, rather than HSB-type colour saturation, though the two often go together. 

Diamine Majestic Blue ink

majestic blue nano pagemajestic blue ciak journal I have had some believable recommendations for Diamine Majestic Blue, so I decided to try a bottle. You can see the results to the right, there; the full page is with a Lamy 2000 B nib, as part of my NaNoWriMo effort, and the other is part the same pen and also another Lamy 2000 with an M nib.

The colour of this ink is extremely pleasant – and this is speaking as somebody who doesn’t generally like blue inks. It’s distinguished, vibrant and noticeable without being garish. The ink has a lovely metallic reddish sheen as it dries, too, which shows when the light is at certain angles. It flows extremely well, generously and reliably.

It would be pretty much a perfect ink if it wasn’t for the fact that it smears not only just after it has been written with, but for literally days afterwards, even with a dry finger. For my NaNoWriMo I was writing on 90gsm Oxford paper, which is relatively “shiny” though not amazingly so; no other ink I used had that problem to anywhere near that degree. I did try it on several other papers, for example my Habana journal, with the same result. The ink seems to sit on top of the paper forever instead of properly drying and settling in.

I’m afraid I can’t use an ink that smears to that degree. You can see the smearing on the NaNoWriMo page – that wasn’t due to any sort of effort on my part, just opening and closing the book, moving my hand across it occasionally while counting words perhaps. It’s a shame, since apart from this smeariness it’s pretty much perfect, with a gorgeous colour and a lovely feel when writing. I may experiment in the future with diluting it, which might possibly help the smearing issue.

A comparison of Sundry Reds

Having recently received (a) a number of nice new red inks and (b) a nice new scanner, I thought I would combine the two and compare a few different reds to each other.

Red ink comparisons

A selection of different red inks, next to each other.

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Diamine Amazing Amethyst vs some other purples

“Amazing Amethyst” does sound a bit like a type of chewing gum, but Diamine’s Amazing Amethyst ink is really quite a pleasant one, if not truly amazing. For reference I compared it to a couple of other purplish inks – J Herbin Poussière de Lune, and Diamine Imperial Purple. Unfortunately the pictures don’t really show very much difference, but you might as well see them, considering I took them.

P. de Lune shades well and dries to a greyish mauve, which while pleasant and easy to read might be a little too muted for some people. On the other hand, Diamine Imperial Purple is a very vibrant ink with a strong purple colour. I found that the Amethyst was between the two in a very usable way – not so bright that it looks like paint or a gel pen, but slightly more colourful than P. de Lune. If you’ve tried the latter and thought “hmm, this is just slightly too grey for me, I’d like a little more colour” then you should get hold of some of this. I could certainly write quite a bit with this ink without it annoying me.

Ink vs water

Going through my loose papers just now I noticed a little comparison of the water-related durability of some assorted inks that I performed a while ago. With a few different pens, I write on a piece of Rhodia notepaper, waited a while for the inks to dry (a couple of hours I think) then cut that page into three columns. The left hand column was not exposed to water at all. The middle was dipped into water, but then removed quickly; the right column was dipped in and enthusiastically slooshed about. Here are the results:

In order, we have:

  • Diamine Grey. Slightly water-resistant, in that it is visible afterwards and almost readable, but not pretty.

  • Sailor Sei-Boku – the greenish blue “nanocarbon” Sailor ink. As befits an ink by a company called “Sailor” this ink remains identical no matter how much it is dunked into water. Sei-Boku is termed “archival quality” so really should be able to cope with being dunked in a sink.

  • Waterman South Seas Blue, which is really a turquoise. Here we see the difference between a sailor and the sea. South Seas Blue, when exposed to water, is overjoyed and leaps off the page in ecstasy, to join its brother and sister molecules.

  • A black Sharpie marker which I happened to have lying around. No nonsense here. Water? Why should it care about water? Try bleach or napalm to erase this sort of thing.

  • Diamine Monaco Red which surprised me a little (though Diamine inks are not noted for water resistance generally). Monaco Red just vanishes with barely a trace. I’ll grant that that example of Monaco Red was likely contaminated with a lot of J Herbin Rouge Caroubier, since it normally dries to a brownish “there’s been a murder sir” colour, but even so… evidence has been eradicated.

  • And then I had run out of inked pens so decided to try a pencil, specifically a 3B lead in a Caran d’Ache clutch pencil. Pencils have something of a reputation (in my mind anyway) for being impermanent, given that they can be erased with a piece of rubber, but graphite particles embedded into the surface layer of paper are apparently entirely non-bothered by the presence of water.

Minimal Ink Experiment

I am really quite bad when it comes to Ink Philandering. I just am not made to stay with just one ink; I refill pens at least once a day with some other colour which I feel will suit whatever paper it is I am writing on more, or suit the pen more, or because I feel more in a Diamine Dark Brown mood than a Noodler’s El Lawrence… it is striking me as a little pathological.

So. I have picked one ink – Waterman Black, a reliable and fast-drying ink, good for all sorts of paper – and I am planning to use that for the next… well, I had originally thought “month” but that might be a bit too long. Fortnight, let’s say. I have loaded all of my normal pens with it, apart from the Kaweco Sport that I have loaded with red and use to make corrections and annotations after the fact (this does not count; this piece of asceticism is only for writing pens). The idea is that I will concentrate more on the actual writing. Let’s see how effective this actually is, in practice.