To the best of my knowledge, there are now
three four companies doing ‘shimmer’ or ‘sparkle’ inks, with De Atramentis recently joining the league (and most recently, in the past week or so, Robert Oster joined the ranks); J Herbin was the first to and Diamine second. The concept is a good one, and I’m in the camp of someone who enjoys shimmer inks (though, I don’t find myself using them very often). I have reviewed shimmer inks before when I looked at four inks from the second generation of Diamine Shimmertastic inks last Christmas (my personal favourite was Tropical Glow, but this link will also take you to the other inks if you’re interested), and I will be reviewing many of the third generation in the coming weeks. I like the sparkle inks – they’re not for everyone, sure. I don’t use them very often as I don’t have much purpose for them as much of my writing is academic notes and I don’t feel it appropriate. But sometimes for personal writing or personal notes, I’ll happily use one of the inks in this category.
Besides this ink.
To say I am disappointed with this ink would, I think, be a huge understatement. When I found out I had a chance to review the new line of inks from De Atramentis which contained sparkles, I was actually quite excited because the company does something that the other two aforementioned companies that make sparkle inks don’t: they allow you to choose your sparkle colour – which is a big thing for me because I’m really particular about gold or silver sparkles. What’s more, they went one step further and included a ‘copper’ option alongside the normal gold or silver.
I got to the student post room to pick up my package of inks and rushed back to my dorm room to ink them up. The copper was the one that most excited me, so this is what I inked up first. Put the nib to paper and the ink just wouldn’t come out in the way you would hope. It was dry, very unsaturated and as a result, didn’t show much of the sparkle. Upon flexing the nib a little bit, it gushed out. Fair enough, I hadn’t used that particular pen for a while (despite knowing that it worked fine previously), so I flushed it out and inked it up again – only to have the same problem. So I inked up a different pen, but the issue persisted. A dry, unsaturated, unhappy writing experience. What I can say is that when it does write properly, the copper is brilliant. I love it (though, it doesn’t go with the green in my opinion). The copper in particular has dreadful flow issues. Though, when primed, it actually looks good, which is a shame:
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So then I decided to ink up a pen with a different particulate colour. Being me, naturally I grabbed the gold. This worked slightly better, to their credit. A bit wetter. However, I did notice less shimmer on the page (though still noticeable). So I would gather that De Atramentis suffers from a sort of quality control with their pearlescent line.
While I am disappointed with the performance, particularly of the copper, I think it is important to remember that when J Herbin entered the world of shimmer inks, they had to reformulate their mixes due to clogging issues. With that being considered, Diamine followed in J Herbin’s footsteps and I’ve never had, nor have I ever heard, of people having issues with those inks.
The other offering by De Atramentis is the silver one, which I find falls in between the copper and the gold in terms of flow. However, what I saw when making the swabs is that these inks are incredibly dry, particularly copper. The upsetting thing is that there seems to be a lot of particulate, which if the ink flowed properly, would look amazing on the page.
I said in my review on Golden Oasis, which is a green sparkle ink by Diamine, that despite green inks not being my thing, “credit where credit is due.” Unfortunately I just struggle to find any credit for this ink, other than the fact you get to choose different shimmer colours, but then it begs the question of what’s the point if it won’t flow? I have never used De Atramentis ink in my regular rotation before, but I had the impression that they were a reliable, albeit not entirely mainstream, manufacturer for inks. I also know other reviewers have had problems with this ink in terms of performance, particularly with feathering. I can’t comment, as I just don’t get enough flow to test it out. Oh well.
I usually do an “if this isn’t your cup of tea” part to my reviews, for similar alternatives. So.. If by any chance I hadn’t sold this ink to you, then my recommendation would be to look at Diamine Golden Oasis as it certainly seems the closest in terms of colour (just a bit lighter). Though be aware, this ink only comes with gold sparkles (but it does flow..) In the ‘third generation’, there is Golden Ivy, which is a darker green than Heliogen Green and this is one of the five new Shimmertastics I shall be reviewing. So keep your eyes peeled!
Disclaimer: These inks were sent to me for review purposes in exchange for an honest review.