I just finished logging my currently inked pens on the wonderful fountain pen companion and I was a bit shocked to discover that I have 30 fountain pens inked up (each one with a different ink). This is of course the result of the Inkvent madness and my insistence on actually filling pens with the samples in the calendar instead of just using a dip pen.
I’ve written Solar Storm (day 4) dry and I’ve dumped Spruce (day 3) because of the smell, but I’ve kept Pick Me Up (day 15) despite the smell, because of the rich chocolate shade that it has. Since creating this list I’ve also written Jingle Berry (day 8) dry and Spiced Apple (day 5) is about to join it. I’m likely going to be forced to dump and clean out some of these pens, but my goal is to try and write and sketch as many of them as possible dry.
Our local fountain pen brick and mortar shop is closing down at the end of the month, and it’s a crying shame. There’s been a steady stream of collectors visiting the store to say goodbye and stock up on supplies, and on Thursday I joined them. I bought a few bottles of ink, a few fridge magnets with reproductions of old fountain pen adverts (most of them for Parker, of course), and there was a single tray of vintage pens.
“None of them work, I’m afraid,” the proprietor’s daughter said.
But I saw a Parker Vacumatic Shadow Wave among the lot, and I have a very hard time leaving Parker Vacumatics and 51s behind. I picked it up and took a quick glance. It was clearly a user grade pen, but I didn’t care – it was a speedline Vacumatic, which meant that it was fairly easy to fix. I asked her if they could perhaps be mistaken, and was there a chance that the pen worked. She brought out a cup of water and tried it out. It didn’t seem to hold any water, and she showed it to her dad, the proprietor and a well known pen repairman. “Oh, I can fix it, no problem. It just needs a filler swap”.
So today, in the midst of a rainstorm, I went to pick it up after its repair. It’s still a user grade pen, because it’s full of little nicks and scratches, and it has a well worn name engraved into it. But that’s part of what I love about vintage pens, and it’s something that I just can’t get with modern ones. I got a gold nibbed pen with a unique filling system and lovely material (that allows you to see the ink levels through it), in a classic design, for less than $130. And I got a bit of history, as this little workhorse has been around since the first quarter of 1938, and it’s still doing its job. Finally, there’s the mystery of it: puzzling out the model and the date code, maybe trying to find out about its previous owner (in this case, a Mary Thompson. It’s part of why I have no problem with engraved vintage pens), imagining what it’s been through over the decades. This pen is almost 85 years old. It’s a Junior Debutante, so it isn’t surprising that it belonged to a lady. It was likely a gift, and one wonders for what occasion and who the gift giver was. It was at the cusp of a world war that would change a lot of things for women. Was Mary Thompson starting out at her first job? Had she graduated from college? Did the pen pass to her children? How did end up in a pen shop in Tel Aviv 85 years later?
Yes, there’s a risk when buying vintage pens. There is also always a story, and a chance of a greatly rewarding experience, not to mention the possibility of getting a pen with a nib that writes like this (it’s a fine italic nib with nice amount of spring to it):
It’s the final day of Inkvent, and so it’s time to both review the final, 30ml bottle of the set, and review the calendar in its entirety.
Day 25’s ink is a larger, 30ml bottle. It’s called Best Wishes, and it’s a very dark and saturated green with green shimmer and a lot of red sheen.
It’s quite a dramatic combination, the dark green base being almost black, the red sheen being very prominent and the green shimmer on top. More Halloween appropriate perhaps than Christmassy.
My camera had a rough time photographing this ink. It’s the combination of the shimmer and the dark ink maybe that made it a bit blurry. In any case, the base ink is so dark that you can hardly tell that it’s a green at times.
Here it is from another angle:
This ink takes ages to dry, because it’s so saturated. I smudged the sketch above and this writing sample took a good long time to properly dry. If you’re left handed, I’d steer well away from Diamine Best Wishes. If you like the drama, then maybe it’s the ink for you. Personally I would have preferred a lighter or more interesting green with a chameleon effect and no sheen.
It’s summary time! Looking at this year’s Inkvent, I’m very pleased with the selection of inks, the spread of ink properties amongst them, and the overall value of this experience. I like that we got new chameleon inks, and I appreciated that there were less red inks in this year’s edition, and quite a good number of uniquely coloured inks. Reviewing the whole 25 inks involved, I think that Dusted Truffle, Memory Lane, Solar Storm, Ghost, Olive Swirl, Arctic Blast, Deck the Halls, and One More Sleep are the stand outs for me. Olive Swirl, Memory Lane, Dusted Truffle and Deck the Halls are inks that I plan on buying full bottles of once the green edition bottles come out. Ghost and Arctic Blast might join them too. If you like red inks, the Spiced Apple is fantastic. There are other great inks to have here, depending on your personal taste.
It was quite an endeavour, to fill fountain pens 25 times with ink and write, sketch and post a review of an ink a day. I don’t know if Diamine will create a 2023 Inkvent calendar, or if I will be able to write another set of reviews like this, but it was a wild and fun ride creating these reviews for the blog this year.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. I hope you got some cool pens and ink under the tree.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! It’s day 24 of Diamine Inkvent.
Day 24’s ink is Diamine One More Sleep, a standard grey blue ink.
Diamine One More Sleep is a lovely grey blue with a lot a shading and a hint of lavender in the background.
I love this shade of ink as it works well for sketching and for writing. It’s also a calm and relaxing colour, very appropriately named.
Today’s writing sample is a little melancholy, as I reflect on the wave of well established pen shops that are closing down by the end of the year. This ink colour seems to encourage reflection, something I find myself doing more often since I received my cancer diagnosis a year and a half ago. If you don’t have an ink in this bluish grey light purple shade I recommend getting one, whether it’s Diamine One More Sleep or something similar by a Japanese or Korean maker.
Day 23’s ink is Diamine Celebration, a coral ink with shimmer.
Celebration is between pink and orange, a bright and vibrant ink with plenty of orange shimmer. It look like Diamine Coral with added pizzazz.
This ink would definitely cheer you up on a dark and gloomy day, as it practically glows in the page. Is it practical? No. Is it fun and interesting? Yes, particularly if you haven’t got an ink like Diamine Coral.
Would I use a bottle of this? No. I have a bottle of Diamine Coral already, and I don’t need another one but with shimmers in it. But this ink certainly belongs in this calendar, and I’m glad that Diamine chose this hue instead of another red.
It’s day 22 of Diamine’s Inkvent (check out that snowflake!):
Day 22’s ink is Diamine Deck the Halls, a dark purple chameleon ink, and an interesting one at that.
Deck the Hall is dark and saturated, with just a hint of shading and a fascinating chameleon effect. I was expecting something with a silver, green or blue shimmer, but Deck the Hall shimmers from coppery orange to pink.
I don’t really like this dark eggplant colour, bu the chameleon shimmer effect here works very well, because of its strong contrast with the base colour. The effect reminded me of a hummingbird’s wings flashing.
I don’t really like the base colour so I don’t see myself buying a full size bottle of Diamine Deck the Halls. That being said, this ink is very Inkvent appropriate and an interesting ink with a lot of character.
Bonus: the signature I mentioned in my writing sample:
Day 21’s ink is Diamine Cosy Up, a standard bubblegum pink.
Cosy Up is a bright and cheerful colour with a lot of shading. If you like Diamine Coral you’ll likely like Cosy Up too.
I’m not a big fan of pink inks, but this one made me smile. It’s a very Barbie appropriate colour, one that Elle Woods would have loved.
There are a lot of ink options in this shade of pink in the market, so there’s no reason to prefer this one when it comes out, unless you are a fan of the bottle. That being said, it was nice getting a little sample of this in this year’s Inkvent.
It’s day 20 in Diamine’s Inkvent and we are at the home stretch.
Day 20’s ink is Diamine Arctic Blast and it is almost the polar opposite of yesteday’s Silent Night. If yesterday’s ink was a standard and boring blue black, today’s ink more than makes up for it.
Diamine went all out with this one: Arctic Blast is a rich royal blue with both a red shimmer, and a pink to blue chameleon effect. Yes, it is both a shimmer and a chameleon ink, and the result make it almost look neon in certain angles. A colour that would have felt welcome in the 80’s.
This is such a fun combination that you forget that it’s another saturated blue with red shimmer ink, because it isn’t. The chameleon effect makes this ink pop, and the combination may be hard to photograph but is quite striking.
This ink more than makes up for yesterday’s Silent Night, and while I likely won’t buy a full bottle of it, I plan to thoroughly enjoy Arctic Blast’s neon vibes while I still have a sample of it.
It’s day 18 in Diamine Inkvent. Exciting, I know 🙂
Day 18’s ink is Diamine Olive Swirl, an olive green chameleon ink with a good amount of shading and a whole lot of class.
Diamine Olive Swirl is a very cool colour – a pretty vibrant olive green with the coolest chameleon effect. The shimmers here change from pinkish copper to green, and it is a very attractive combination with the base colour.
I like sketching with unusual colours every once in a while, and even though I don’t sketch with shimmer inks, I can see myself sketching with Olive Swirl. The base colour is so good and the chameleon shimmer is subtle and yet adds so much interest to it, that I really enjoyed sketching this sea turtle with it.
Of the chameleon inks so far, Olive Swirl is by far my favourite. Green and pink are a classic combination, and the fact that you see the pink only in certain angles and so very subtly adds a lot to this ink’s charm. Definitely an ink I see myself purchasing in the future.