glenn's Pens

Caran d'Ache

Caran d'Ache Ink

In 2012 I have had limited opportunity to try Caran d'Ache ink when I was in Rome. One of the previous members of the Vancouver Pen Club was a big fan of the colour Amazon which was a interesting green. I , and I must admit, that is a very appealing green. But, the ink is at a high price point, and the bottle at that, while extremely attractive, only held 30 ml of ink and was too small for the large pen and nibs that I use.

In 2014 when I was in Paris I walked by a a Caran d'Ache boutigue pen counter and wow. There was a brand new larger bottle. A bottle with a very distinctive design. The hexagonal shaped bottles have a slant on the bottom, so the bottle sits on your desk at an angle already for a fill-up. The cap is large and heavy, given the heavy glass bottle a rich feeling. So it should, this is not cheap ink.

Magnetic Blue

Magnetic Blue

This was my first bottle of this ink. While the brochure refers to this as a marine blue ink, for me it came across as a good blue-black.

The ink dries to a flat finish. By that I mean there is no shine or stickiness to the ink. Always an important characteristic in my books as inks that retain any stickiness are are problem in how pages stick together.

Ink flow is good, and the ink dries in a reasonable time - less than 5 seconds. No smearing after that.

I tried the ink a Delta Dolcevita fountain pen with a stub nib. That meant a line of good width was laid and the ink had enough colour to stand well. I also have loaded other pens, such as an Esterbrook with a medium Stub nib. Good performance regardless of the pen. From the broader lines written with a stub nib, there was a good enough strength in the colour and there was some nice shading going on.

Idyllic Blue

Idyllic Blue

While I was happy with the Magnetic Blue which is one of those colours that like black, becomes a defining experience for a line of inks.

The Idyllic Blue is bright, with enough strength in its colour although in the long run I do not see this colour making it into my most used inks. I like an even stronger blue.

The bottle makes the pen easy to fill. The performance of the ink was similar to that of the Magnetic Blue: good flow, not runny, dries in a reasonable time, and dries in a good flat format with no shine or stickiness.

Ultra Violet

Caran d'Ache Ultra Violet

I use this colour on an off-and-on basis and I am having a hard time deciding if I like it. In the previous line of ink, this colour was known as Storm.

I usually like colours with a bit more punch, but what I do like about the colour is the subtle tone. I have used this for business writing and Ultra Violet is not one of those colours that when I go back to a page of notes I find myself saying: "What did I use that colour for?" It is a conservative colour tone. For example, Pelikan Violet looks great when writing with a fine nib fountain pen, but when I use that ink in a stub or broad nib, the stroke is broad and the ink often comes across so very bright Performance is good, although I would classify this as an ink that has slower flow. The sample above is written with the Pelikan M800 Broad Italic nib. That nib allows a fair amount of ink to flow, and the feel of this ink is of control rather than an uncontrolled release.

Divine Pink

Divine Pink

Now here is one of the colours that I really enjoy writing with. I almost gave it a pass, based on the name: Divine Pink. Ink is one of the colours that I have limited options for use. But when I saw a sample of the ink, I realized that is more a brilliant red with a slight pink tone. I mean slight. Great easy to take red. It is rich and dark and has worked well in all the various pens and nib widths that Ih ave used - from Medium to Stub. Want a different red? Then this is one of the inks that you could give a try.

Conway Stewart

The new line of Conway Stewart Ink is made in collaboration with Diamine Ink. The colours should look very familiar with the added value that the Diamine inks come in 80 cc size bottles. So there is good value of the money. The colours are named after points of interest near Conway Stewart's Plymouth factory.

Conway Stewart Ink Colours


Cross Ink

Cross inks are made by Pelikan. Comments on colours between these two brands are basically interchangeable.  There are only two colours available: blue and black. The bottles hold a good 62.5 ml (2 ounces of ink) so there is good value in terms of price.

The ink was updates and they now come in a stylish bottle available in Black, Blue/Black, Violet, Blue, Green and Red. The bottles of ink are made by Pelikan. The ink cartridges are made by a different company.