Ink Notes: Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red

Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red bottle

A garnet is a “precious stone consisting of a deep red vitreous silicate material.” Another definition is simply a dark red color. So, while Graf von Faber-Cstell Garnet Red may have a redundant name, it does accurately reflect the ink’s color.
I have a thing for Maroon and Burgundy inks so I’m predisposed to like GvFC Garnet Red. The ink falls into the category Graf von Faber-Castell calls “Light Fast” which means the color hold will be consistent long after exposure to light. This isn’t something I can really test in a short time, especially with the recent overcast and rainy days. So I’ll take Faber-Castell’s word for it.
At $30 for a 75 ml bottle this puts the ink in the luxury category. Bit with a per ml price of 49 cents it’s less expensive than Pilot Iroshizuku inks. GvFC inks are now listed on Fahrney’s website in addition to Pen Boutique in the US. But both still sell the ink for full list price. Other than Cult Pens has the ink in the UK no other sources turn up in an internet search.
The ink leaves the pen in a dark red color, true to its name, and dries with the same color. The exception was a wet Noodler’s nib on cheap copy paper where it went on the paper redder and dried to the darker color. The ink reminds me of Diamine Oxblood so I pulled out that ink for a comparison. It’s very similar as shown in the photo of the swabs. But there is significant variation in the color depending on how wet the nib is. The Diamine Oxblood keeps its color better with drier nibs so it would be a better choice for a consistently darker red across different nibs. The GvFC Garnet Red tends to be more of a Bordeaux with a drier nib. Since I tend to like drier nibs this means the ink is more of a bordeaux when I use it.
The box and bottle design fit the luxury branding. While still just cardboard, the box colors give it a classy look as does it’s matte, non-shiny finish. The heavy glass bottle also telegraphs luxury. The wide opening makes it easy to insert the pen and the heavy weight makes it stable. But once the ink level gets low enough it becomes difficult to immerse the nib. There no indent or filling assist mechanism to keep the ink level high enough around the nib. The weight and shape of the bottle make it difficult to tilt when trying to fill a pen.
As shown in the writing samples, the ink is not in the least bit water resistant and it doesn’t claim to be. Drying is fast so there’s little chance of accidental smudges.
The ink flows well and I didn’t have and hard starts or skipping. The ink did cling to one convertor which reduced the flow to the nib and resulted in a lighter color.

Bottom Line

I like the color, especially in a wet nib. The ink performs well and dries fast. But I’m not sure I like it better than Diamine Oxblood which is significantly less expensive.

Pens Used

I used the TWSBI Vac 700 with extra fine, fine, medium and broad nibs for the writing samples. The ink flushed easily from the nibs and the pen,
My Sheaffer Balance Aspen was used as a daily writer for a couple of days. The pen’s nib and feed was adjusted by Mike Masuyama and all inks have consistently flowed well in it. The GvFC Garnet Red clung to the convertor which reduced the flow rather quickly (after about a page) so the ink was more of a bordeaux color. While I could force ink into the feed it would soon thin out so this would become tedious. The ink never went dry, it was just drier with this nib than any other ink I used in the pen. While the ink was only in the pen a couple of days it flushed out easily.
The Monteverde Impressa also had the ink for a couple of days This pen is a wet fine nib, All inks cling to the convertor in this pen and the GvFC Garnet Red was no different. But unlike the Aspen the flow was good until the ink level became low at which point it needed help saturating the feed. Like the other pens, the ink flushed easily from this pen. Like every other ink it was necessary to take apart the convertor to remove all traces of the ink.
I gave the ink a try in my Pelikan M101N “Lizard” SE. Flow was good, without the problems I had with a convertor since it’s a piston filler. Flow was good and the line was dark despite being an extra fine nib. The ink was easy to flush from the piston filler without needing to remove the nib,

2 thoughts on “Ink Notes: Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red

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