A little bit of history The ancient Romans did all sorts of rum things in barrels; polluting wine with lead to sweeten it, fermenting the pungent rotted-fish sauce garum, and brewing-up the hard-wearing ink atramentum. German ink-makers De Atramentis continue this tradition in their name and some of their production methods (albeit hopefully without the aroma of decomposing marine life), and recently they have got on the sparkly ink bandwagon. Everybody’s doing it these days, it seems – J.Herbin, Diamine and Robert Oster too. So we set out to find out what De Atramentis is bringing to the party…
How it looks The base inks are seven colours, plus black. What makes the collection stand out is the availability of these inks in three different pearlescent finishes; gold, silver and, uniquely, copper. There’s a higher volume of sparkly particles than are typically found in pearlescent inks so how it looks is shiny – very, very, shiny!Crucially, how it writes… Much like standard fountain open ink, and De Atramentis certainly make plenty of that. There can be the occasional hold-up due to the high proportion of particulates (the sparkly bits), which eventually silt-up the feed and stem the flow, but this is easily rectified with a thorough clean. With this in mind it’s advisable to stick to fountain pens which can be completely dismantled for a quick scrub, but these inks are otherwise suitable for use with most of the nibbage you own.
Ink! What is it good for? It’s very shiny indeed, but those sparkicles can brush off once the ink is dry – so it’s probably not one for the office, but anything from journalling to labelling presents would be good ways to put it to work.
VFM Not bad at all; Pure Pens sell some of these at £10.50 a bottle, which is only a little more than comparable inks from Diamine, and about half the price that J.Herbin charge for a sparkly.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… Then De Atramentis do face some pretty stiff competition from Diamine. No-one else has quite the range of shimmer choices that De Atramentis does, though, and their copper option appears to be otherwise unheard of in the pearlescent market.
Our overall recommendation If masses of glitter appeals, or the unusual copper finish does it for you, give this a go. If you prefer a slightly more nuanced range of base colours beneath your glitter, check out the newly-expanded Diamine Shimmer range (which we’ll also cover again here soon).
This meta-review references:
- Scribble Monboddo’s reviews of the copper, silver and gold ranges
- The Clumsy Penman’s review
- Gillian’s review
- Nick’s first and second bleach tests
Thanks to De Atramentis themselves for generously sending us a sparkling set of these inks for testing.