One of my favorite things to do at pen shows is to check out the Franklin Christoph booth to see what kind of new model pens they have on display. It's hard to get a good look since most of the unique stock sells out pretty quickly. Either way, if you end up purchasing a pen from the fine folks at Franklin Christoph, they offer to fill it with an ink from their own line. There's roughly a dozen colors to choose from, and I've enjoyed every one that I've tried. My most recent experiment was Terra Firma, a delightfully shade-happy red-brown ink.
Normally, I don't pay much attention to brown inks — they've never been something to catch my eye when ink shopping. This particular ink caught my eye because of the pronounced shading it exhibits. I love an ink that shades well, regardless of the color.
A few weeks later, I've determined that I like a bit more red in my inks of this color, but Terra Firma is a solid, respectable ink even if it's not my favorite color.
First off, this is an extremely well-behaved ink with surprisingly good dry times. The ink consistently dries in 12 - 15 seconds in the 1.1mm stub I've been using. Not bad at all. When it's time to clean out a pen, this ink only requires one flush to clear out all the color from the pen. That's about as easy as it gets.
The color of this ink screams "earth" or "dirt" as soon as you start writing. The Latin for Terra Firma is "solid earth," which probably wasn't a coincidence when the ink was named. Due to the red shades in this ink, it reminds me a lot of the soil in the area I grew up. Everyone calls it "Alabama clay," and it is almost identical to the color of this ink. Based on comparisons, it's somewhere in between a standard medium brown and a brown-red like Oxblood or Ancient Copper (both from Diamine). It looks good on paper, and it's deep enough to pass as a "business-friendly" shade.
Now, my favorite characteristic of this ink is the shading. This ink loves to shade. I highly recommend putting this ink in a broader nib (preferably a stub or italic) so that you can see the full range of color hidden inside the medium brown top layer.
The ink comes in a 2 oz. bottle in either a traditional screw cap or a eyedropper cap. The eyedropper cap has a nozzle that makes it a piece of cake to fill eyedropper pens without any mess or an actual eyedropper or syringe.
Franklin Christoph inks are $12.50 a bottle from their online store.