Sunday, August 16, 2009

Review: Diamine Grey Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Grey

Diamine Old English Grey Fountain Pen ink tested in a Paperblanks journal with off-white paper - and in an EF Lamy Safari fountain pen.

I have always preferred the English spelling of "grey" to "gray."

This ink has some shading and decent flow.

My first time trying a grey ink - I have a Triplus Fineliner marker that I like to draw with that's similar in color. I am trying to figure out if a grey ink is a lighter version of black but with the saturation level of this ink, I'd say no.

For now, I'm keeping this one. It makes me want to draw.....

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.


unhalfbricking said...

Cheers for the review! I'm a big fan of Noodler's Lexington Grey but good to know there's another good one out there... from your pictures it looks like it's a similar one. I thought grey ink would just be diluted black, too, but it's very enchanting when you get in the habit of using it!

B Irwin said...

I've been following your reviews of Diamine for awhile [great stuff], but I don't think you've addressed issues like potential staining of the pens. Have you experienced or heard whether these inks are safer like Herbin or more saturated like Private Reserve? This one is showing shading, but some of the other Diamine you've discussed settling particulates, as in your review of the Pumpkin shade?

Biffybeans said...

B Irwin - thank you for following the reviews and for asking about staining issues. Allow me to first state that there are various pen manufacturers that "prefer" that you use their own brand of inks and it's not been unheard of for one particular manufacturer to void a customer's pen warranty if the pen has clogging issues due to the high saturation level of the ink.

That said, the only thing I keep hearing about Diamine is how much people love their inks. When I'm testing, I'm running one convertor full of ink through a pen and if I don't like it, moving on to the next. Since I like to do mass flushings, (but hate actually doing it) the inks do end up sitting in the pen for up to several weeks at a time. 10 of the pens I use to test have converters and I've never really seen that any of these inks have left any stains on them - EXCEPT for the Imperial Purple which I have been using for quite a while. That one has been a bit difficult to flush from my old Sheaffer in so much that I gave up and just filled it with Violette Pensee. I have vague recollections of the IP leaving discoloration inside of a Safari converter but it must not have been permanent because it's not there any more. Once in a while I find that some of the pink based Diamine inks require a little more effort (but nothing drastic) to flush - colors like Coral & Flamingo Pink.

I think I've moved through maybe 35 of the Diamine inks by now and the Pumpkin was the only ink that had that strange issue on the Safari nib. With the exception of my older glass bottle of Imperial Purple, all the rest of these inks are in those little plastic bottles and with the colors of the inks, it's sometimes difficult to see if there is any particulate in the bottle. One thing for sure is that I ALWAYS shake the bottles now before I fill.

I have a difficult time using the word "safe" to describe any ink because once you move away from the manufacturer's brand, you are on your own using these inks at your own risk. I have very little experience with Private Reserve inks - I had two second hand bottles that seemed a little "funky" and that seemed to act strangely when left in a pen for a very long time. I can't judge their whole line by those experiences especially since they weren't fresh bottles.

I hope I was at least somewhat able to address your concerns.

Bruce said...

I've been using Diamine Grey in a Sailor 1911 med. point for a couple of years. I really like it. Sometimes it looks like a very classy pencil line. It goes on dark but dries to a nice grey color. I have not had any problem with staining.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. It answers so many questions that you might consider making it a post of its own.

You ARE our ink goddess!

Kim said...

For the person who also likes Lexington Grey from Noodler's - I *just* tested these side by side (At the ink texting table at the DC Supershow!) with Levenger Smokey also in the mix, and I have to say that the Lexington Grey is substantially warmer and less saturated than all the rest! It has an almost yellow tinge to it when viewed next to Diamine et al.

My favorite gray ink, of course, is the J. Herbin Gris Nuage, but I might have to get some of the Diamine too, because I'm crazy and need more ink than I can use!!

unhalfbricking said...

Wow, Kim, thanks very much, that's very good to know! Unfortunately I'm only at the very start of my bottle of Lexington Grey so I may need to wait a while until I move on, but I'll definitely keep your comments in mind. Thank you!

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