J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor Ink Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

When J. Herbin first announced their newest 1670 collector's ink, the Internet went crazy–well, the fountain pen Internet went crazy. The photographs of the ink revealed a spectacular teal green with gold flakes and stunning red/pink sheen. I certainly had never seen anything like it before. Of course J. Herbin had already produced other 1670 inks with silver or gold flecks (Stormy Grey and Rouge Hematite), but Emerald of Chivor stands out because of its special sheening qualities.

As soon it was available, I bought a bottle from Anderson Pens for $26.00 plus shipping. I honestly didn't have high expectations for this ink. I bought the original formula Rouge Hematite and sold it. My bottle of Stormy Grey sits unused. The speckles just didn't show up consistently enough. Plus the red and grey colors weren't my favorites. But I'm a nut for blue and teal inks, so I knew I would like Emerald of Chivor even if the gold specks disappointed me. Plus, that fantastic sheen was so unique.

I've been writing with the ink for several weeks. It flows smoothly from my Pilot 912 with an FA nib. If I shake the pen gently before writing, the speckles appear pretty consistently. I'm impressed with how well the ink's sheen and flecks appear even with my fine FA nib.

I've also used calligraphy nibs to test the ink. Obviously broader nibs show off the ink even better than fine ones.

The ink is heavily saturated and it takes time to dry. So you have to be careful not to smudge it while you write. It isn't water fast, but it's so saturated, water doesn't completely erase it.

I haven't experienced any nib clogging. I've left the ink in my 912 for several weeks, and the nib writes perfectly each time. I wouldn't leave it in vintage pens for any length of time, however, just to be safe.

The thing that surprised me most about Emerald of Chivor is that the paper you use makes all the difference. On Clairefontaine Triomphe and Rhodia Dot Pad paper, the gold specks show up just fine, but there's no pink sheen.

But on Tomoe paper the ink shines like neon light. This is what made everyone go "Wow!" when they first saw this ink. I'm not sure why the pink sheen shows up on Tomoe but not on the other paper. You'll need to experiment the paper you use with Emerald of Chivor to find what brings out both the sheen and the sparkles.

Of course, to see these marvelous properties, you have to view the ink and paper in bright light, particularly bright sunlight. In ordinary light, the ink is a beautiful teal, and you can see some shimmer. But if you want an explosion of color, you need bright light.

The gold specks fall to the bottom of the bottle. You need to shake the ink well before filling your pen.

The gold specks fall to the bottom of the bottle. You need to shake the ink well before filling your pen.

Perhaps this ink is best used for special things like invitations and envelopes where calligraphy nibs best express its beauty. It's certainly terrific for every day use in finer nibs, but to fully appreciate this glamorous ink, you'll have to take your writing into the sunshine to see it sparkle. And that's not a bad thing. Everyone can use a little sunshine.

Posted on September 18, 2015 and filed under J. Herbin, Ink Reviews.