Ink Review: Sailor Studio 123

By Jessica 

I have stated before that I love finding inks that are unusual or tricky. I have found another one!  Recently I have jumped into the Sailor Studio ink line.  This is not a smart thing to do. Sailor Studio boasts 100 separate inks in this collection and unfortunately, they are amazing! 

I began my journey with Sailor Studio 123.  From the color swatches on the website (an eBay store that ships from Japan), this ink appears to be light gray.  I was worried at first that it would be too light for daily writing, but I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

123 is a great ink for writing, even on cream colored paper.  This is where the “tricky” part begins.  In a fine nib, 123 appears as a lilac color, bold enough for easy reading.  As the nib gets wider, however, the ink takes on a gray-er tone, eventually to a dusky purple.  But when used on Tomoe River paper or with a stub nib (I love using the Lamy 1.5 or 1.9 nibs here), a sea green halo or sheen begins to show.

As an advertised gray, I believe this qualifies as an unusual ink all the way.  Matching the swatch card with any others in my collection was quite difficult — it didn’t come close to any grays other than Diamine Earl Grey (an ink that some question if it is actually a gray), and it didn’t fit in with the purple inks well either.  The green tone that shows from underneath is quite strong, but it didn’t fit well with green or even blue.

Above I used a Nikko G nib to try to show the variation within each letter.  I’m fairly certain that the ink knows when I’m trying to get a specific color and refuses to cooperate.

If you have any desire to try this ink, I would absolutely encourage it! It is sold on eBay and often goes out of stock, however, it is often restocked as well.

Disclosure: All items in this review were purchased by myself. For more information, see our About page.

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12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi Jesica
    Sailor 123 is a great unusual ink, I really liked the green halo it presents.
    I am also fans of unusual inks, you may send me links to reviews of unusual inks that you have reviewed. Thank you.

  2. Two years and I’ve yet to get anything but a pale, pale grey from this ink, except when I drop the ink directly into a paper towel and let it blob out. Then beautiful colors appear. But in paper? Like watery mist. I don’t understand.

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