(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
I don’t have much experience with De Atramentis inks. I recall receiving a sample of their scented inks a long while back. I took a whiff, and threw them away. I am not a scented-ink lover.
But Vanness Pens sent The Pen Addict several bottles of De Atramentis, and I received two of them (Florence Nightingale and Louis XIV of France) for review. I’ll be honest. When I first opened my bottle of Florence Nightingale and saw the color, my first thought was “baby diarrhea.” I know this is terrible. But, as it turns out, I fell in love with this ink after working with it. It’s actually an apricot color (not a hideous brown as I first thought). But it’s not like any apricot ink I’ve ever used—it has some surprises. Unfortunately, my photos make the ink look much more yellow-brown than apricot.
After making my swab card of Florence Nightingale, it looked like a rather flat apricot color. It doesn’t exhibit any sheen and I didn’t see much shading.
I did my testing page using a Pilot Heritage 912 with an FA nib. Again, the ink looks rather flat with very little shading and no sheen. It is quite wet (at least in the FA nib) and it is not waterproof.
But this is where I got my first surprise. When I squirted water on the ink to test its water resistance, it turned a fluorescent green. “That’s weird,” I thought. I didn’t see any green in this ink with my naked eye. But when I squirted some ink into a glass of water it also turned fluorescent green:
I don’t have any explanation for this, but I thought it was very cool. The chromatography test shows a range of yellow and orange, but before it dried the fluorescent green was there as well.
The more I write with this ink, the more I like it. It’s a beautiful gentle apricot color and it flows quite well in my FA nib.
In large nibs, the ink shows much more color variation, with splatters looking slightly more brownish. Again, there’s no discernable sheen, but there is some shading, especially where the ink pools.
What makes this ink unique, though, is how it fluoresces with water. Unfortunately, that vivid green dies down to a soft yellow once it dries. It’s still a beautiful effect.
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