Diamine InkI heard quite about about this ink so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to try the ink.

I have created reviews by the following colour groupings:

This ink is now more readily available in the US and now in 2010 becoming more available in Canadian pen stores. I have been using the ink for a couple of years now and overall, it is a very good quality ink.

Stylus Pens out of Edmonton is a Canadian distributor. In Vancouver, Perks now stocks the line of ink.

Diamine inkThe history of the company dates back into the 1800's. It was in 1864 that the company was founded in London when the company was founded as T. Webster and Co. In 1925 the company moved to Liverpool. In was in 1964 that the company changed its name to Diamine. In addition to their own lines, they have been making ink for other company such as Yard-o-Led. It was in 2003 the company introduced the Diamine line under their own name in the US market.

Diamine inks are produced in the United Kingdom and company offers drawing, calligraphy and writing inks.

A year or so ago I ordered a few bottles and was pleased with the three colours that I selected. My first reaction was very positive in terms of the quantity of ink and as I have been using this ink, this has proven to be a consistent aspect of the ink. The bottles are 80 ml which means you are receiving about one-third more than the typical 50 ml bottle. The price is reasonable compared to other brands. See my Pen Views notes on the price of ink.

Diamine - new packagingThe bottle itself is very attractive. It looks good sitting on your desk. It is deep enough to handle the big nibs of the M1000 or OMAS Paragon pen. So you have a ink that can be used.

The only improvement would be the ability to tilt the bottle with more stability when the level of ink drops.

In 2010 Diamine changed the brand naming and packaging of its ink. Gone are the Old English and New Century designations. Now it is simply Diamine Fountain Pen Ink and the bottles and boxes have a gray/black colour scheme.

In terms of drying time and flow, this is a good ink. There have been some variations but the drying time of ink is dependent on a number of factors that include: humidity, paper, nib (amount of ink on the paper). Some of the colours, like Majestic Blue, a new colour released in 2009 and one of my Inks of Note tends to take just a bit longer to dry on the paper. Again, think in terms of nibs and paper, as generally I use broad or stub nibs.

There is a very large colour selection. Just about any preference in terms of colour could be found in the Diamine collection. With most of the colours I have found no issues except Havasu Turquoise. Havasu Turquoise is a strong colour and it stained one of my celluloid pens after very limited use, so use it in the a pen with material that would not be subject to staining.

Diamine Sample BottlesIn 2009 Diamine started to produce 30 ml plastic bottles. I refer to these as sampler bottles as they are one way to sample a variety of colours without getting the full 80 ml bottle. The bottles are small, and a Pelikan M1000 pen just barely makes it into the bottle.

I found with large number of colours I would group group the inks into colour groupings: blues, blacks, greens, oranges etc. As I did that I was sometimes surprised that the colour of the ink did not match in my mind to the name.

Up to now, the inks came in two different lines: Old English and New Century. I am told that the New Century was to be the line for the newer colours but over time the distinctions have faded and in 2010 all the colours are being combined into a single line, Diamine Writing Inks. Good call as the separation into two groups did not make sense. My order of ink at the beginning of 2010 all arrived in their new packaging.

Individual ink sample cardsOverall Impression

I am very impressed with the Diamine inks. The colours have good saturation, have good flow and dry on the paper within a reasonable time frame. None of the inks that I have tested so far leave a sticky feeling on the paper or smudge once the ink is dry.

Havasu Turquoise stains celluloid bodies so use with appropriate pens.

With that exercise completed, I started to fill individual pens with particular inks, and take them "on the road" to the office and meetings and see how they perform in everyday experiences.

Everyday experiences means writing on both good and poor paper, writing at fast and more normal speeds, sitting at a desk holding the pen at a good angle to the paper, and standing in meetings writing on the back of binders etc.

The ink consistency came through with a high mark.

The Performance of Diamine Ink

Performance on an ink generally falls into comments relating to:

  • feathering - does the ink feather or spread out in an uncontrolled fashion from the line of ink made by the nib?
  • viscosity or flow - does the ink freely flow from the feed and the nib, or is there a sense of resistance?
  • dry time - does the ink dry on the paper in a reasonable time, or does it remain "wet" and subject to smearing?
  • consistent colour - is the colour consistent on the paper, or is there a wide variance in terms of shading, specially with broad nibs?

Some of the experience in terms of the above comments relates to the nib or the paper and may not be attributed solely to the ink. Feathering can relate to the ink, but overall, it is a response of the ink to the paper. The flow of a pen, for example, is a direct result of the feed mechanism. Some inks flow quicker than others, but the two can not be 100 separated. Dry time is impacted by the amount of ink that is laid on the paper. Big nib, lots of ink. Heavy writer, then there is more ink left on the paper, especially at the end of the stroke when the nib pauses on the paper.

No drying is an important characteristic of the ink. Some inks will remain sticky for a considerable amount of time on the paper. That creates a problem.

Overall I did not find a significant difference in the writing experience using the 70 some colours of Diamine ink. Some were a little wetter than others. Majestic Blue, for example, an ink that I just received in December 2009 has quickly ranked as one of my favorite inks. I am using it in a variety of pens and I have noticed that it flows a little quicker, leaving a little more ink on the paper and takes a bit longer to dry. But, within 5 seconds it is dry and not subject to smearing. Majestic Blue also, for some reason, does not perform well in Montegrappa pen ink feed systems. On that point, this is not an experience that only I have had, others I know have also reported this issue.

Pens Used - given the comment above for dry time, it is important to take into account the type of pen and nib used. I typically write with broad and stub nibs, some mediums, but I prefer a larger nib. For my testing I used a variety of pens that included Waterman Man 100 (Stub Nib), Krone Fiction (Broad Nib), Sheaffer Pen For Men (Stub), Pelikan M800 (Double Broad), Pelikan M1000 (Broad), Delta 365 (Medium). These pens gave a range of writing experiences. Some have asked why so many different pens? It takes a time, even when the pen is only dipped in the ink, to flush, wash and dry out of the pen before testing another colour.

I have created reviews by the following colour groupings:

  • Blacks - March 2011 update: New Graphite Colour
  • Blues - March 2011 Update: new Asa Blue, Twilight
  • Browns
  • Greens - March 2011 Update: New Evergreen, Green Black
  • Orange
  • Pink
  • Purple - March 2011 Update: New Amazing Amethyst
  • Red - March 2011 Update: New Red Dragon, Syrah, Oxblood
  • Yellow

Information about Diamine Ink is available on their web site: www.diamineinks.co.uk/