Ink Review: Diamine Ancient Copper

Diamine Ancient Copper

Diamine Ancient Copper

Diamine Ancient Copper is one of an elite group of inks that seems to be universally respected. It is artistically interesting -- in broad nibs it shades dramatically. It is easy to read, providing sufficient contrast on white and cream colored paper without being hard on the eyes. It is also a very lovely color that one does not often see in ink formulated for fountain pens. Acrylics, oils, metallic markers, yes - but not fountain pen ink.

It also has gravitas of a sort that is not usually present in inks that are not black or blue - a sort of quality that makes one see it and think, “the person that uses this ink must be sophisticated." It’s similar in this way to Diamine’s Oxblood and Damson, red and purple inks that are equally substantive, and are good choices for those with needs that are more traditional, but who tire of black and blue.

In my experience, Diamine ink performs consistently across the different colors of the line: it feathers a bit on absorbent, un-sized paper, and it behaves admirably on coated, ink-resistant paper. Ancient Copper behaved as expected on the six paper types I used to test it: cheap, office copier paper; Staples Bagasse notepad; Rhodia Bloc pad; Midori MD notebook; Canson XL Mixed Media notebook; and Leuchtturm1917 notebook. It took anywhere between one second to dry on copier paper to twenty seconds to dry on Midori paper.

Diamine Ancient Copper Water Tests

Diamine Ancient Copper Water Tests

Diamine Ancient Copper is not a water resistant ink. It smudges and runs when exposed. In the smear test, in which I run a wet finger across the page, it left a coppery smudgy mess. In the drip test, in which I drip water and then blot it up, much of the ink lifted from the paper. In the soak test, in which I run the page under water, the ink nearly washed away completely. A ghost of the image remains - enough to still read it - but not much else.

Diamine Ancient Copper Bottle

Diamine Ancient Copper Bottle

Diamine ink is available in 30ml plastic and an 80ml glass bottles, both of which are utilitarian and slightly boring in appearance. The 30ml plastic bottle has a neck that is very small in diameter, and I found that some of my larger pens would not fit all the way in, which made getting to the ink a bit of a challenge. Though you may wish to go with the smaller volume to try out a new color, my recommendation would be to go for the larger bottle due to its superior usability.

Diamine ink is generally a very good value for the price -- similar to Noodler’s Ink. You get a lot for your money and the quality is very high, but one doesn’t buy it for the bottle. To me, Ancient Copper is a no brainer, in the same category as Noodler’s Black or Lamy Blue. It’s a classy, quality ink that looks good in almost every circumstance, behaves well, and is priced competitively.

Review notes: the handwritten portion of the review was created on 160 gsm, acid free, mixed media paper from Canson’s XL line. All lines, broad and thin, were made using a Pilot Parallel pen with a 3.8mm calligraphy nib.

Ink Review: Diamine Blaze Orange

Diamine Blaze Orange. Click to embiggen.

Blaze orange is well known to Americans as the color of construction barrels, traffic cones, and hunting caps. It’s a color designed to provide significant contrast to the environment – critical when dodging traffic during rush hour on a busy highway or when creeping through the woods with dozens of other hunters, all of whom have high-powered rifles in hand. In those contexts, the color is aggressively monotone, obnoxious, and prosaic, but when embodied in ink form by Diamine, it becomes delightfully dynamic, engaging, and lyrical.

Its most laudable characteristic is its extremely high degree of shading, which is evident even in fine nib pens. It creates the impression of a flickering flame that dances directly off the page. My one quibble with the ink is that it is low in saturation, which, combined with the color, makes it hard to read on cream-colored paper. It looks good, though, on off-white paper and really comes to life on bright-white paper.

Blaze Orange is generally pleasant to write with. Like most Diamine ink, it is neither especially dry nor especially wet. It writes very easily on fountain pen-friendly paper like Midori, but doesn’t do much to make paper with a bit of tooth feel smooth.

In my experience, Diamine ink performs consistently across the different colors of the line: it feathers a bit on absorbent, un-sized paper, and it behaves admirably on coated, ink-resistant paper. Blaze Orange behaved as expected on the five paper types I used to test it: cheap, office copier paper; Staples Bagasse notepad; Rhodia Bloc pad; Midori MD notebook; and Canson XL Mix Media notebook.

Paper Dry Time Bleed-Through Show-Through Feathering
Copier 1 second Yes Medium Low
Bagasse 3 seconds Yes Medium Low
Rhodia 15 seconds No Low None
Midori 10 seconds No Low None
Canson 15 seconds No None None

Diamine Blaze Orange water test. Click to embiggen.

Blaze Orange exhibits very little in the way of water resistance. When I ran a wet finger across the page for the the smear test, I left a giant orange smudge behind. In the drip test, where I let a drop of water soak on the paper before blotting it up, the ink fared no better – the affected ink lifted cleanly from the page, leaving only a soft, orange haze behind. During the soak test, in which I ran the page under a stream of water for 30 seconds, the ink almost completely washed away, fading to a ghost of its original self. This is not an ink that one should use to address an envelope or anything else that might be exposed to the elements.

Diamine Blaze Orange bottle

Diamine Blaze Orange bottle

Diamine ink is available in 30ml plastic and an 80ml glass bottles, both of which are utilitarian and slightly boring in appearance. The 30ml plastic bottle has a neck that is very small in diameter, and I found that some of my larger pens would not fit all the way in, which made getting to the ink a bit of a challenge. Though you may wish to go with the smaller volume to try out a new color, my recommendation would be to go for the larger bottle due to its superior usability.

Blaze Orange isn’t likely to be an everyday ink for most people, but it is a pretty amazing one. I highly recommend it if you’re the kind of fountain pen user who keeps several pens inked at once, or if you just happen to be in a vibrant state of mind.

Diamine Blaze Orange is available from multiple sources, including:

Review notes: the handwritten portion of the review was created on 160 gsm, acid free, mixed media paper from the Canson XL line. The broad lines were made using a Pilot Parallel pen with a 3.8mm calligraphy nib. The fine lines were created using a Visconti Homo Sapiens fitted with an EF palladium nib.

Ink Review: Diamine Meadow

I’m not a connoisseur of green ink. I’ve reviewed J. Herbin’s Vert Olive and Vert Empire, and I have Iroshizuku Shinryoku sitting on my shelf, but none of them have spent much time in my pens. Over the years, I’ve reviewed plenty of red and blue ink, and I love a good purple, but green isn’t a color that captured my imagination – until I tried Diamine Meadow.

There’s no mystery in the inspiration behind the name of the ink – no foreign (to English speakers) language to parse or obscure tidbit to research – only the verdant, vibrant, green of an English meadow. The ink is a lovely, moderately saturated yellow-green that exhibits a very high degree of shading. Like most Diamine ink, it is neither especially dry nor especially wet. It is pleasant to write with, but doesn’t go out of its way to make the pen glide across the page.

In my experience, Diamine ink performs consistently across the different colors of the line: it feathers on absorbent, un-sized paper, and it behaves admirably on coated, ink-resistant paper. Meadow behaved as expected on the five paper types I used to test it: cheap, office copier paper; Staples Bagasse notepad; Rhodia Bloc pad; Midori MD notebook; and Canson XL Mix Media notebook.

Paper Dry Time Bleed-Through Show-Through Feathering
Copier 1 second Yes Medium Moderate
Bagasse 3 seconds Yes Medium Moderate
Rhodia 8 seconds No Low None
Midori 15 seconds No Low None
Canson 20 seconds No None None

While an actual meadow is invigorated by a healthy rain, growing bolder and more verdant as a result, Diamine Meadow is affected in precisely the opposite fashion. The smear test, in which I run a wet finger over the paper, produced a lovely yellow-green smudge, obliterating the lines on the page. In the drop test, in which I leave water on the paper for 10 seconds before blotting it up, the ink lifted easily from the page, leaving a ghostly haze behind.

The soak test, in which I run water over the paper in an attempt to wash the ink away, completely obliterated my writing; only a hint of color remained. In fact, I cut the test short for fear of washing the ink away entirely.

Diamine ink is available in 30ml plastic and an 80ml glass bottles, both of which are utilitarian and slightly boring in appearance. The 30ml plastic bottle has a neck that is very small in diameter, and I found that some of my larger pens would not fit all the way in, which made getting to the ink a bit of a challenge. Though you may wish to go with the smaller volume to try out a new color, my recommendation would be to go for the larger bottle due to its superior usability.

Diamine Meadow is gorgeous and I’ve had a fantastic time using it. It looks phenomenal flowing from an extra-fine nib, a flex nib, and a super-wide calligraphy pen. It’s a tremendous value for the cost – 80ml for about $15 – which is good, because the shading that it displays seems to compel serious amounts doodling.

Diamine Meadow is available from multiple sources, including:

Review notes: the handwritten portion of the review was created on 160 gsm, acid free, mixed media paper from the Canson XL line. The broad lines were made using a Pilot Parallel pen with a 3.8mm calligraphy nib. The fine lines were created using a Noodler’s Konrad fitted with a steel flex nib.

ink review: diamine damson

(click to embiggen)

Diamine Damson is the color a ninja fruit would wear when trying to sneak into an orchard under the cover of darkness. Named for fruit it resembles, Damson is a dark, dusky plum that turns nearly black when used in a wet-writing pen. In a dry-writing pen, it produces a washed-out gray-purple line. It's a moderately saturated ink - neither as rich as other Diamine inks, like Imperial Purple, or as light as J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune, which it closely resembles. When written with a broad nib, Damson produces some nice shading, but delivers a fairly consistent line in a fine nib.

Drying time is well within the realm of acceptability: on Rhodia paper, it was dry to the touch in 8 seconds, while on Staples Bagasse and cheap copier paper, it dried in 3 seconds. Feathering, too, I had no trouble with when using an extra-fine nib; the ink exhibited low feathering relative to each of the papers on which I tested it.

Purple, at least in the United States, isn't typically considered a standard ink color. Our conservative business standards are boring blue and black. Diamine Damson, though, is subtle and subdued enough that you might be able to get away with it - particularly in a wet-writing pen, like the Visconti Homo Sapiens. When used with an instrument of that sort, the color is nearly indistinguishable from black at first glance.

Diamine inks are available in a 30ml plastic bottle, which is utilitarian in appearance, and an 80ml glass bottle, which is slightly less so. The smaller plastic bottle has a neck that is very small in diameter. I found that some of my larger pens, like a Lamy 2000, would not fit all the way in, which made getting to the ink a bit of a challenge. My recommendation would be to go for the larger bottle.

Damson is an interesting ink that behaves well on a variety of paper - something I've come to expect from Diamine inks. While it's not quite vibrant enough to make it into my daily rotation of inks, I could certainly see it being exactly what someone in a more conservative business environment is looking for. If that describes you, then consider this a recommendation.

Review notes: I used a Pilot Parallel 3.8mm pen with a steel nib for the widest lines, a Lamy Joy Safari with a 1.9mm steel nib for the medium lines, and a Lamy Safari with an EF steel nib for the narrow lines. The paper is bright white 80 gsm from a Rhodia Bloc No 18.

ink review: diamine midnight

Rating: 4.5

(click to embiggen)

When I first put Diamine Midnight to paper, I thought to myself that it was a nice, but not particularly interesting dark blue ink. Then I looked closer, and closer, and closer – and got drawn right in. For those willing to pay attention, this ink has a wonderful sense of depth that captures the variability and mystery of the nighttime sky. In fact, in the more saturated sections, there's a hint of red that peeks out, giving it an almost sinister look. This is the dark blue of a steampunk starscape – of Victorian London, where Dracula and Jack the Ripper lurk in the shadows.

It is a moderately saturated dark blue with a hint of indigo. In a fine nib, it exhibits a modicum of shading – just enough to give it a rich, complex feel. In a calligraphy nib, one can see significant areas of high and low saturation, and a mysterious red border between the two. The color is not particularly affected by the color of the paper – on both the bright white Ecosystem and off-white Rhodia webbie, the color remained consistent.


Midnight is a well-behaving ink, a characteristic that I've found in each of the Diamine inks I've reviewed so far. On both absorbent paper, like Ecosystem, and resistant paper, like Rhodia, feathering was not noticeable. Show through was noticeable on thinner paper, like a Moleskine cahier, but otherwise very low. I noticed only one very minor issue of bleed-through with any of the paper and pen combinations – the 6mm Pilot Parallel calligraphy pen caused a tiny spec to peek through.

(click to embiggen)

As with the other Diamine inks I've reviewed, water resistance is not an included feature. The smear test, in which I rub a wet finger across the page, obscured the lines and left a blue smudge behind. The drip test, in which I let droplets of water sit on the page for about a minute before blotting them, left ghostly, pale blue impressions of the lines behind.

The soak test, in which I run the paper under a faucet for half a minute, did a great job of washing the ink right off the page. Midnight is not a waterproof ink – it doesn't even achieve the "addressing an envelope" level of resistance – so I'd recommend leaving it for journals or other things that have a low risk of encountering moisture.

(click to embiggen)

Diamine inks are available in a 30ml plastic bottle and an 80ml glass bottle, both of which are utilitarian in appearance. The smaller plastic bottle has a neck that is very small in diameter. I found that some of my larger pens, like a Lamy 2000, would not fit all the way in, which made getting to the ink a bit of a challenge. My recommendation would be to go for the larger bottle.

Blue inks are one of the mainstays of the corporate environment, and Midnight would fit in quite nicely. It's a dark blue that's easy to read on both ivory and white paper, and isn't bright enough to offend anyone's sensibilities. It is also a great choice for personal correspondence, having a nice, warm, rich tone. Finally, it's also a great candidate for calligraphy and other artistic endeavors – that mysterious red aura that it develops adds an unexpected depth of character to the work.

Diamine Midnight doesn't quite knock Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng out of the top spot on my list of blue inks, but I think it easily took second. If you like dark blue inks, this is an easy choice to add to your collection. Now I just have to buy an 80ml bottle to replace the sample I was sent in order to make sure I've got enough on hand to last a long time.

Review materials: For the wide strokes, I used two calligraphy pens: Pilot Parallel 6.0mm and 3.8mm pens. For the "by comparison" line, I used a Noodler's Creaper Flex Nib pen. All three have steel nibs. For the fine strokes, I used a Lamy EF steel nib on a Lamy Safari. The paper is Rhodia 80g.

Note on this review: a sample of this ink was provided for review purposes by Diamine Ink.

Diamine Midnight is available from: