Fountain Pens

New Ink (not a tattoo!)


Last Wednesday we had a three-sisters day at Bury St Edmunds, complete with lunch and associated new-home admiring (my oldest sister has recently moved to the town) and a saunter around the Wednesday market and general window-shopping.

I made a small detour to The Writing Desk to purchase some Diamine ink, having been influenced by YouTube ink reviews from Writerly Witterings over the past few months. I tried some ink cartridges from this brand some time ago and at that time I wasn’t too keen; I thought it was a shame as they are a British brand and I do try to “shop local” when I can.

I have to say this time I am both impressed and happy with the inks I chose. I wanted to get one called Sunset which is an orange tinged with red, but they didn’t have that one in the shop so I went with the Wild Strawberry which is a red tinged with orange. I have filled my Lamy LX pen in the rose gold finish with this, and I must say it is a lovely combination. There isn’t any reason to use certain coloured inks in certain coloured pens, but there are some combinations that make me smile as I use them and this is one of those.


I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the Sunset colour would look even more spectacular in this pen.

I definitely have a penchant for red – ink, clothes, shoes, handbags, even hair sometimes – so I doubt this will be the last red ink I buy, although I already have enough to see me through many years to come. I have only used a few millilitres of the Lamy Crystal Ruby ink which I got for Christmas, and I still have three cartridges of J Herbin Rouge de Caroubier as well as this new shade. The Wild Strawberry and Rouge de Caroubier are definitely similar in tone and I don’t see a purpose for both in my collection. The Lamy is more on the pink side and I can see me using that and the Diamine turn and turn about.

The Majestic Purple was the more sensible purchase; I have no other purple ink at present and have been planning to rectify that for several months. I used it to fill my original black Parker 51 with the fine nib and was pleased with the colour, then I decided to go ahead and also put it in the burgundy Parker 51 so I could do a comparison. Loved it! I have not been happy with any of the other inks I’ve tried in that pen, because I don’t generally like a broad nib, but this just hits the spot. It is bold and well-defined, with none of the wishy-washy watercolour vibe I have had from other inks in this pen.


The Diamine inks come in a host of shades and a variety of formulations, from the Registrars’ Ink which is permanent, waterproof, and of archive quality, being the ink used by registrars and clergy to sign official documents, to Washable Blue which, as the name suggests, is not waterproof at all. The Writing Desk offers the following:

30ml plastic bottle (the ones I bought) – 20 shades from the Music and Flower series at £3.99 a bottle; 112 standard shades at £2.35 a bottle.

80ml glass bottle – 113 shades at £5.85.

40ml glass bottle – 16 shades of the special range released to celebrate Diamine’s 150th Anniversary at £7.75 each.

50ml glass bottle – 40 shades in the Shimmer range, inks with a metallic undertone selling at £8.95 a bottle.

For someone based in the United Kingdom, these inks are great value for money. For comparison, the most expensive single bottles of ink on The Writing Desk’s website are the Pilot Iroshizuku at £29.00 for 50ml and the cheapest (ignoring the 30ml Diamine bottles) are inks from Rohrer und Klingner at £4.25 for 50ml. I like the fact it’s so easy to buy a a small bottle so you don’t have to invest in a full-size bottle to try out a colour. That being said, good pen retailers such as The Writing Desk and Cult Pens (two online stores I have personally used) offer ink samples in many of the inks they stock so that you can test out a colour before you buy.

(All the prices I quote are inclusive of VAT and shown on the website of The Writing Desk at 14th July 2019.)

If you are the least bit interested in fountain pens and inks, or in the current celebrations of the first footsteps on the moon, I would suggest you watch the video by Brian and Drew of Goulet Pens as they unbox the Colorverse Limited Edition First Moon Landing Ink Set. Inspiring stuff.

Of course, The Writing Desk doesn’t just sell ink and, although I kept my visit pretty brief, I did have a quick look at some of the fountain pens on display. I was particularly taken by the Pelikans, but the pen that really caught my eye was one of the less expensive offerings – the Faber-Castell Essentio in the Rose finish. The shop owners were unpacking some items when I was there and I am glad that they were not displaying the new Lamy Studio 66 in the limited edition Aquamarine colourway – I’m not sure I would have been able to leave the shop without it!

Now I have a full complement of pens inked up with a variety of colours, all that remains is to use them, so I had better make sure I do plenty in my bullet journal during this third week of One Book July.

I hope you have found some useful, or at least interesting, information in this foray into the wonderful world of ink. See you on Wednesday for a knitting update (and there has been knitting).

I should also point out that The Writing Desk is far from the only stockist of Diamine inks and I would highly recommend also checking out Cult Pens (Diamine produce a special range of inks specifically for them in “deep dark” shades) and Diamine’s own website. I know they are stocked by Goulet Pens (online USA) and Wonder Pens (bricks and mortar stores, Canada) and I’m sure in tons of other places too.


2 thoughts on “New Ink (not a tattoo!)

  1. As background information while this pen/inkfest was going on the other two sisters were buying fruit, vegetables and flowers (sister without garden) and plants (sister with garden), from the excellent market. So all had a lovely day following their own hobbies.

    1. I looked at the plants, but resisted the temptation to buy having neither garden nor green thumb (now I am wondering if it is a thumb or fingers – gardeners, enlighten me!). I think ink is probably my substitute for flowers; that and wearing clothes with flowers printed all over them as I often do.

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