Review by Laura Cameron
Up until a few weeks ago, I only owned one bottle of ink. I have been ordering samples of everything; every time I place an order for anything I throw in a few more ink samples. However, several weeks ago I saw the Pen Addict photos of Platinum Classic Lavender Black and I really wanted a bottle.
Unfortunately, I was jonesing for the Lavender Black at the same time of the rest of the world and it took me a bit to find some. I finally found a bottle at Fahrney’s. It arrived quickly and I was eager to break into it and ink up my TWSBI Eco.
Lavender Black is produced by the Platinum Pen Company as part of their Classic ink lines. The inks themselves are water-based, pigmented ink made for fountain pens. As you can see on the test page, the ink is not water resistant.
Lavender Black is one of those inks that you can watch change colors. In the bottle it looks sort of like grape juice, and as it dries it moves more towards a wine color. It would definitely work for shading techniques as you can see from my swatches.
I had heard Lavender Black referred to an iron gall ink. I had no idea what this meant, so I spent a little time learning (thanks, Wikipedia!). Iron gall inks are either purple-black or brown-black inks made from iron salts and tannic acids. These inks are potentially more likely to stain your pens if they aren’t frequently used and cleaned, so that is something to keep in mind when using Lavender Black.
I don’t have a lot of experience in inks, but this was a fairly wet ink, not viscous. It flowed smoothly through my nib and dried as a really nice plummy wine color. I’m definitely a fan and I think my TWSBI may have found its signature color!
You can obtain samples of Lavender Black and the rest of the new line (Cassis Black, Citrus Black, Khaki Black, Forest Black and Sepia Black), or you can purchase the standard 60cc bottle at your favorite pen store.
- Paper: Maruman Mnemosyne N182A Inspiration Notebook A5 ($10.50)
- Pen: TWSBI Eco Medium Nib ($31.50)
- Swatch: Col-o-Ring Ink Testing Cards ($10)
- Ink: Platinum Classic Lavender Black ($25)
Addendum: After I sent this review to Ana she noted that iron gall inks are supposed to be permanent and wondered whether I had conducted more than one water resistance test. I ended up trying several different water resistance tests on several different types of paper and the results were always the same. While the original text was definitely still readable, the ink wasn’t entirely permanent – it continued to bleed even when water hit it 24 hours later. So, if you’re planning to use this ink, it might not work the best for your mixed media uses unless you’re ok with a bit of bleed.
Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.
5 comments / Add your comment below
FYI, staining is not the biggest issue with iron galls, they are particularly acidic, so they can potentially eat through a pen if you are not being careful (how acidic will depend on how it is made; Platinum’s Blue-Black is fairly mild as these go so that hopefully speaks to the other colors). Steel nibs will corrode more easily than gold, and plastic feeds are also potentially in danger.
I am really surprised at the wash test. One of the reasons traditional blue-blacks made from iron galls stay in use in some legal systems is that they are very difficult to get rid of, if not impossible. It bonds with the paper more than modern dye-inks, so it won’t wash out, but, it also cannot be scraped off like an India ink (but, they can rust and destroy the document over time, so they are not good if archival storage is key, rather than prevention of forgery).
Thanks for the information. I’ll definitely keep an eye on my TWSBI with the Lavender Black. Ana and I were also surprised that it wasn’t water-resistant, but I tried three separate times on three separate papers and the results always looked the same!
You need to let it dry before throwing water all over it to test its water-fastness. Like overnight.
Wow, I don’t call that waterproof/permanent at all. But who cares — that color is gorgeous!
These coloured ‘light’ iron gall inks aren’t ever going to be bulletproof, they are a hybrid ink that combine an iron gall base with a dye on top for the nice colours, straight iron gall should be next to clear in the bottle before dyes are added (even blue-black iron galls have a bit of blue added).
If you give the page a full soaking you will find all of the purple (the dye portion) will come off and you will be left with the dark iron gall lines beneath.