Ink Notes: Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite Cartridge

Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite cartridge tinFor the second week in a row I’ll be reviewing an ink cartridge. It’s another Edelstein ink – Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite. The cartridges for this review were provided by Goulet Pens.

I’m not a fan of blue inks, but blue-blacks can get my attention and even make my favorite 5 inks list. My first reaction when I used this ink was “meh”. It performed OK but just one of many blue-blacks. It’s grown on me over time. Like the Edelstein Aventurine ink it’s well behaved so it starts off with a likeable personality.

An ink called Tanzanite might be expected to have a violet look to it but I don’t see any in this ink. Although there is some purple dye on the paper towel when cleaning the pen. The ink color is growing on me and I like it better on some papers than others. Personally I like it’s looks better on non-white papers.

There’s just a little bit of shading. This isn’t really noticeable with my typical thin nibs unless I look closely.

In addition to the color varying based on the paper it also varies based on the nib. Wider nibs have a bluer color while the thinner nibs have more grey. Considering I like grey but not blue it’s not surprising I prefer the ink’s color with thinner nibs. This is most noticeable in the swab where all that ink looks more blue than I’ve ever seen when the ink comes out of the pen. It’s no wonder I didn’t really like the color at first since I started with the wettest, widest nib so the ink was on the blue side.

The ink dries quickly, especially on the Doane paper I use most of the time. Smooth Rhodia paper takes longer to dry but it’s still acceptable. It’s not really waterproof but it wasn’t completely washed away. There wasn’t any noticeable feathering and no bleed-through on any paper I used. The line it puts down is consistent and true to the nib size.

Pens Used

The pens used for the writing samples where used just long enough for the sample, then the cartridge was moved to the next pen. The Edison Collier with an extra fine nib was used for a couple of days as was the Franlkin-Christoph Model 25 with a medium stub nib. Both pens wrote flawlessly, no skipping or false starts. The Franklin-Christoph sat unused for an enforced five days and wrote immediately when the nib touched the paper.

The cartridge went dry earlier than expected due to a leak in the Faber-Castell eMotion. After writing the Rhodia sample about half the ink leaked into the cap. The problem was completely unrelated to the ink. But the end result was the cartridge was only in the Collier for a few days.

Wrapping Up

The R & K Blau-Schwarz Limited Edition remains my favorite blue-black ink although it is limited. Second place has a lot of contenders, depending on my mood (my current mood has MB Midnight Blue in second place). Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite is a little faster drying than most, so it will probably get some use and would be a good choice if drying time is a priority. It really is a nice ink but I don’t see it kicking any of my other blue-blacks to the curb. It is fun seeing how the color varies depending on the paper or nib.

Thanks again to Goulet Pens for providing the Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite cartridges.

Additional Reading




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Ink Notes: Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine Cartridge

Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine cartridge tinThis review is a little different in that I used cartridges for the review rather than bottled ink or a sample. I wanted to try some Pelikan Edelstein inks, but I didn’t want more bottles of ink but wanted more than a sample. So when the cartridges became available I took advantage of the opportunity. Cartridges cost more per milliliter but are less money out of pocket. Cartridges will also dry out over time, unlike bottled ink (at least ink in glass bottles). I picked Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine as my first cartridge since I’ve been itching to try a new green ink.

The Edelstein cartridges are long international so at 3 ml per cartridge that works out to about $0.44/ml. The six cartridges come in a nice tin and are protected by tissue paper inside the tin.

Aventurine is a nice bright green that has enough saturation to stand out with my preferred thin nibs. With wider or wetter nibs there’s some very nice shading. Pelikan is known for dry writing inks but Aventurine has good flow and I wouldn’t consider it a dry writing ink.

The ink is pleasant to use. I didn’t encounter any noticeable feathering or bleed-through with my common nibs and paper. With the wet Retro 51 medium nib I did encounter some feathering with cheap copy paper. There was also some show through with this nib and paper but no bleed-through.

The ink also dries fast. Considering how wet the ink looked when it hit the paper I was surprised it dried so fast. It was especially fast on Doane Paper (Jotter and writing pads) which is great for me since that’s what I use most. Drying time was longer, but very acceptable, on Rhodia paper.

I did notice that the ink as noticeably darker every morning when I first used the pen. The color returned to normal after a sentence or two. It remained darker even after the ink dried. Normally the ink brightens up just a bit as it dries.

I realize green ink is a negative is some countries and green isn’t a business ink. Despite that, I find the ink pleasing to look at when writing all day and used it as my daily driver for several days. I quickly ran through about 3/4 of the cartridge in my Franklin-Christoph Model 25 with a medium stub nib.

The ink barely leaves a trace after the water test, but it did leave a trace. But if you spilled a beer on your plan to make millions you could probably read enough to make about half that.

I show some swab comparisons in the gallery. While not an exact color match, I would use this ink the same way I would use Montblanc Irish Green. MB Irish Green is my bright green of choice although Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine would replace it if I didn’t already have a bottle of MB Irish Green. I don’t like it so much more that I would buy a bottle before the Irish Green is gone. I’ll have no problem using the cartrisges before they dry up.

Pens Used

The Franklin-Christoph Model 25 with a medium (0.9 mm) stub nib was inked up for a couple of weeks and was used as my daily writer for several days during that time. Except for the previously mentioned starting off dark each morning the ink was problem free. There wasn’t any skipping or false starts. I didn’t have any problems flushing this pen when I was done. This is one of the fastest and easiest ink flushes I’ve had in a long time.

The other pens shown in the writing samples were inked only long enough to do the writing samples. I moved the cartridge from pen to pen and gave the ink about 5 minutes to reach the nib. The Retro 51 was the only one that needed a little more time but it found the nib with just gravity.

Since there was still a little ink in the cartridge I decided to move it to my Franklin-Christoph Model 29 with a fine nib rather than waste the ink. Like the other pens flow and color depth is good.

Wrapping Up

Like I said, if I didn’t already have a bottle of MB Irish Green then Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine would be my bright green ink of choice. I like the colors equally but the Aventurine wins based on drying speed and shading.

Additional Reading

Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine – Handwritten Ink Review |

Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine – The Fountain Pen Network

Pelikan Edelstein Fountain Pen Ink – Office Supply Geek

Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Overview Ink – Goulet Pens Video overview of six Edelstein inks. Aventurine is shown at 7:40


Ink Notes: Caran D’Ache Chromatics Infinite Grey

Caran d'Ache Chromatics Infinite Grey boxCaran D’Ache recently replaced their entire fountain pen ink line with new, considerably more expensive, inks called Caran d’Ache Chromatics. Or as the box says – Caran d’Ache Chromatics INKCredible inks. These are the most expensive regular production fountain pen inks that I know of. At $32 for a 50 ml. bottle that works out to a whopping $0.64/ml. Pilot Iroshizuku inks top out at $0.56/ml, although it is sometimes on sale on Graf von Faber-Castell, another recently reformulated luxery ink lin is just $0.40/ml. I see Montblanc special edition inks for a penny per milliliter less than Caran d’Ache. OK, I think I hammered the cost enough. This stuff is pricey so I expected a lot.

Caran d'Ache Chromatics Infinite Grey open bottleDespite the cost I decided to buy a full bottle rather than a sample. The bottle design is unique and I wanted at least one bottle. I’m currently enjoying grey inks so went with Infinite Grey since it was the most likely to please me. The bottle is different, maybe gimmicky, but I like it. It stands up straight in the box and sits at an angle when sitting on my desk. This makes it a little easier to see into the bottle to fill the pen. But I’m concerned it may make things harder when the ink level is low since the bottle starts off tipped.

The first pen I inked up with this liquid gold ink was my Franklin-Christoph Model 03 with an extra fine (but a wide extra fine) nib. It was heaven. I thought the ink was worth every penny. If that had been the only pen I used the ink in I’d be proclaiming it as the best ink ever and worth the cost. It’s the only ink that’s ever been in the pen so I can’t compare it to anything in that pen. There was some nice line variation and shading. Despite appearing to go on the paper very wet it was a quick drier. This may be the only ink I’ll use in the pen, at least until the bottle is empty.

Then I used it in other pens. In the Sheaffer Custom Legacy with an extra fine nib (and this one being a real extra fine) it was pretty bad. I ended up flushing it from the pen. I did a quick Waterman ink fill to see if maybe I had screwed up the pen. It wasn’t the pen, it was the ink. The nib is on the dry side and the ink did not like that one bit. There was a lot of skipping. A grey ink with a thin line starts off in a hole as far as visibility goes and the result was a disaster. The writing sample in the photos below look pretty good but was the best the ink did and it was a anomaly.

The Faber-Castell eMotion, a medium nib, also had some minor flow problems which is most visible in the horizontal and vertical lines. This pen has a smooth nib that is not a dry writer. It masks itself as line variation in the samples, but there was brief skipping when doing regular writing.

The Retro 51 Lincoln is one of the wettest medium nibs that I have. The Caran d’Ache Infinite Grey did well with this nib.There was some nice line variation and shading. I typically find this pen much too wet a nib to be pleasant for me. But the Infinite Grey was dry enough to be pleasant for me.

The Taccia Staccato resulted in some nice variation and shading. The pen did well with the ink, no complaints.

The properties of the ink are good, but not great. It washed almost completely away in the water test. Feathering was non-existent on all the papers I used. Bleed-through was nearly non-existent on the papers I used. The only bleed-through was minor and on some cheap, unknown office paper I tried. There wasn’t any bleed-through on the papers I typically use (such as Doane, Rhodia, and some Staples copy paper.

It’s hard for me to pin down the flow of this ink. It depends on the fountain pen. Flow was perfect with the F-C Model 03, terrible with the Sheaffer and OK with the Retro 51 although other inks are wetter in that pen. So I’d say flow is a little on the dry side.

Caran d'Ache Chromatics Infinite Grey bottleThe intensity of the grey (can grey be intense?) depends a lot on the paper and the pen which is why I like it. The shade of grey varies greatly based on the paper. Not just the color of the paper but also on how quickly the paper absorbs the ink. Non-absorbent papers (Rhodia) result in a lighter grey while  more absorbent paper (Doane) results in a darker grey. Caran d’Ache Chromatics Infinite Grey in the Model 03 writing on a Doane Paper writing pad is trifecta. The Doane Paper Jotter is nearly as good. This ink is very enjoyable on absorbent papers, less so on so-called “fountain pen friendly” papers like Rhodia.

This doesn’t make me want to run out an buy some of their other colors. I can’t justify the price difference compared to other inks but it was worth the cost to satisfy my curiosity and I really do like this grey. The bottle will provide several years supply for my Model 03.

Additional Reading and Viewing

Reviewed on FPN

Goulet Pens has a good comparison video showing all the Chromatics inks along with some comparisons.


Ink Notes: Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro

Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro ink bottle and penThe English translation of Pilot Irooshizuku’s Syo-ro name is “Dew on Pine Trees” which seems to be an apt name, at least when the ink is wet. I got the ink hoping the greens in this ink would stand out more than in the pictures I’ve seen, especially since I’m not a fan of blue inks.

Syo-ro is a teal ink that looks pretty good when it’s wet. It’s more teal on the blue side when it’s wet and then the green does come out as the ink dries. So by the time I took the writing sample photos there’s more green showing through. Luckily (for me) it only looks full on blue when it’s in the bottle and pen.

Like other Iroshizuku inks, Syo-ro is well behaved. It dries fast enough so I don’t accidentally smudge it. While not completely waterproof it’s water-resistant enough that I can read what was written after the water test. Plus, it’s easy to clean from my pens.

There is some nice shading with wider, wetter nibs. I can’t complain about the ink properties and while it does enhance the green color as it dries my reaction is still “meh”. If I was someone who used broad nibs I would probably like the ink more. It’s completely subjective but the color of Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro has too much blue showing, even after it dries, so it’s just middle of the road for me. I can’t say I like it, it’s more accurate to say I don’t dislike it.

Pens Used

I used my usual array or TWSBI nibs for the writing samples. The extra fine nib was used as my writer for a day and performed flawlessly. There wasn’t any skipping or hard starts. The ink was in the pen about a week and flushed out easily.

Additional Reading

Ink and Nibs

Reviewed on FPN




Ink Notes: Montblanc Mystery Black

Montblanc Mystery Black bottle and Vac 700

Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of Montblanc inks. Despite not owning any of their pens. But I’ve ignored Montblanc Mystery Black because there are so many other blacks I like – Aurora, Sailor Kiwa Guro Nano Black, Platinum Carbon Black and more. But I decided it was time to give it try and ordered a bottle a couple months ago.

If memory serves, Montblanc changed up their inks in 2010 but the Mystery Black ink remained similar to the Black it replaced. I never used the old black ink so I can’t compare them.

Montblanc is a luxury brand so it’s thought of as an expensive ink, but at $19 for a 60 ml bottle it’s $0.32/ml, which puts it well under some of today’s other luxury inks and competitive with many others.

It’s not a deep, dark pitch black and in fact some line variation can be detected at times, with wider or wetter nibs. The dry time is very acceptable with my preferred fine and extra fine nibs.

The flow is very good and the ink seems well lubricated. I prefer dryer nibs and found this pen to be near my “wetness” tolerance in them, although not a gusher.

I was especially taken by it’s performance in my Esterbrook #2668 Firm Medium nib. Despite my preference for thinner nibs I liked the ink in this pen. Drying time was longer than the TWSBI medium I tested with and I had a few accidental smudges since it was a wet writer. The line stayed true to the nib size despite being wet.

The ink is dark enough to contribute to some show through on papers prone to such things (but not on the Rhodia or Doane paper I used). I didn’t encounter any bleed through or feathering, even on cheap non-FP paper.

The ink didn’t wash completely away in the water test but it was close. I wouldn’t trust it if moister could be a problem.

Pens Used

The TWSBI Vac 700 with the usual nib selection (x-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1 mm) was used for testing. The ink didn’t remain in the pen very long so I didn’t expect problems cleaning it and there weren’t any.

I started using my Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black with a fine nib as a daily writer to test the ink. It was problem free and I didn’t encounter and skipping or false starts. The ink was in the pen just under a month and there wasn’t any problem cleaning it.

After I inked my Esterbook J with the #2668 medium nib with Mystery Black I enjoyed it so much it became my daily writer when I wanted black ink. Again, no problems and it was easily cleaned after being inked about two weeks.

Bottom Line

I like the performance of the ink. Unfortunately it’s not pitch black and I prefer grey inks over black. This puts the ink behind the eight ball. I won’t use it when I want a black ink since in those cases I want pitch black. And the color isn’t different enough to make me want to use it in daily writing. On the other hand, I was really taken by it in the Esterbrook medium nib so I’d like to say I may use Montblanc Mystery Black in some wider nibs from time to time and see if there are other nibs with which it gets along as well. But the reality is that Montblanc Mystery Black will probably be lost among the many other ink choices I have.

Additional Reading

Reviewed on FPN