(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
It was inevitable, of course, that Pen Addict should do a review on Diamine's line of shimmer inks. But what to say, now that everything's been said? Diamine Shimmer inks shimmer! That about covers it.
When Diamine announced the new line last fall, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook went crazy. Everyone was talking about the new inks. J. Herbin offered some limited edition inks with glittery particles. But Diamine introduced ten glittery colors all at once.
As soon as the inks were released, reviews began popping up everywhere. The word "Shimmertastic!" inundated the pen community's ink vocabulary. Pictures of glittery ink appeared all over the web accompanied by whoops of excitement. Ink with all the magic of unicorns!
At first I resisted. I had purchased three of J. Herbin's shimmering inks (Rouge Hematite, Bleu Ocean, and Emerald of Chivor), and I wasn't all that impressed. The glitter fell so quickly to the bottom of the ink bottles after shaking, I had to rush to fill my pens. I never felt I could suck up enough glitter. Then I had to keep shaking my pen. And, unfortunately, the best examples of the inks' glitter and sheen were brought out in ink blobs, not writing samples. I also worried about what the ink might do to my nibs and feeds. Those bottles languish at the back of my ink drawer.
So, I waited until the initial buzz wore down before I ordered Diamine glitter ink. I purchased three bottles: Blue Lightning, Purple Pazzazz, and Golden Sands. I chose these three colors because I had seen photos of Blue Lightning and loved the color. The purple looked like it would be great for Christmas cards (though, admittedly, I only sent one Christmas card this year). And the gold looked spectacular for any special occasion. At $20.00 per 50 ml bottle, these aren't cheap inks, but they are a little less expensive than J. Herbin ($27.00).
Here are writing samples of each color:
The only color I've used frequently is Purple Pazzazz. This is mainly because I put it in my TWSBI 580, which is my industrial strength pen. I wasn't worried about glitter particles ruining this pen. Although I have not heard people say that the Diamine Glitter ink is clogging their nibs, I'm not ready to leave it for long periods in my really expensive pens.
Right now I have Blue Lightning in my Sailor Pro Gear with a Cross Point nib. This nib really shows off the ink because it has such a broad stroke.
I put Golden Sands in my Conid Minimalistica, but after writing a few pages with it, I dumped it out. The ink leaked everywhere, and it didn't work well with the Conid's nib. I may try it in a different pen, but it seems like a paint brush might work better.
So far, I've been impressed with the shimmer capabilities of Diamine's inks, even in finer nibs. With the J. Herbin inks, it seemed that only wider, wetter nibs could really bring out the fantastic colors and shimmer. But, the Diamine inks glitter even with medium and fine nibs (though I doubt you'll see much glitter with extra-fine nibs). After writing in my journal with my TWSBI (medium nib), I could see the glitter when I held it in the sun.
What's interesting to me about the three bottles of Diamine I own is that each ink behaves differently. Blue Lightning seems a bit dry compared to the other two inks. Purple Pazzazz is wet, but not overly so. Whereas Golden Sands seems downright watery and difficult to control.
If you like glittery ink, then you'll like the Diamine Shimmer line. They seem to have gotten the formulation right in that the glitter particles are tiny and flow more easily through feeds and nibs than the J. Herbin inks (this is my very unscientific opinion). You'll still have to shake the bottles well before inking your pens, and shake or roll your pen before writing to get the glitter flowing.
- Diamine Shimmer Inks come in ten colors and they aren't limited edition.
- The glitter is quite visible in sunlight and bright indoor light.
- The glitter particles do not seem to pose a problem for feeds and nibs, but it's always smart to exercise caution with specialty inks. I wouldn't advise leaving these inks in pens (especially vintage pens) for long periods of time.
- Both wide and narrower nibs produce glitter.
- The glitter shows only in bright light.
- You have to remember to shake the bottle well before filling your pens and to shake or roll your pens before writing.
- Glittery inks have their uses (invitations, seasonal cards), but they do evoke visions of unicorns and teenage girls (at least in my mind). I probably won't be grading papers with these, but, after a crazy semester like this one, purple glitter might be just the thing for writing 30% on someone's exam. Who knows?
- These inks are definitely not water resistant.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)