I’m a fan of Iron gall inks, especially the more modern varieties like this KWZ Gummiberry from Vanness Pens. Iron gall inks can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with them, but the way companies manufacture ink these days helps keep your pens safer as long as good fountain pen hygeine is used.
KWZ is a brand I have heard of in passing over the last few years. Made in Poland by Konrad Żurawski, the inks are made in small batches. This allows for experimentation with a wide range of colors that I personally haven’t seen before, especially in the iron gall realm.
Lisa Vanness asked me which color of the lineup I wanted to sample, and Gummiberry jumped off the page at me. I have enough blue and blue black inks to last a lifetime, and I’m a fan of Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa, so I figured I’d see how another purple iron gall ink would compare.
Gummiberry is a grape-colored purple. It hits the page similar in color to the juice found in a grape jelly jar and dries into a color as deep as the deepest recesses of the jelly itself. From a distance, the aged color is nearly black, but a closer look shows that the deep purple color is retained. It has a wonderful look on the page.
Iron gall inks are generally quick drying, and this one is no exception. Even on slick Rhodia paper there was little smudging after 10 seconds, which puts it ahead of most standard inks. The ink is also waterproof, forming a bond with the paper after drying that is not able to be washed out. This is why iron gall inks were the historical standard for important documents and signatures.
As much of a fan of iron gall inks as I am, I am concious that without proper pen maintenance and cleaning I could be opening up myself to problems in my pens down the line. As I mentioned earlier, most iron gall inks these days are tamer than their predacessors and I have no problem keeping them inked in my modern pens for weeks, if not months, at a time. KWZ has an excellent page set up for fountain pens and iron gall ink maintenance that you should read prior to getting into these great inks.
I’m anxious to try more of what KWZ is offering, if nothing else for the colors offered (turquoise iron gall anyone?) My thanks to Vanness Pens for sending me this ink at no charge for review purposes. I’m hooked, and will definitely be purchasing more at the DC Pen Show next month.