Fountain Pen: Enigma Blanks SF Pen Show Collection

Let’s start with the description of this extra special limited edition pen set from Enigma Blanks. I think the full title should look something like this:

Enigma Blanks x Shawn Newton x Custom Nib Studios Purple Striped Jellyfish Eastman Fountain Pen with Reverse Architect Nib plus Vinta Inks Tabuan Purple Sea Star and Frieheit Freestyle Notebook in Ocean.

That’s a mouthful and took up more space than my title would allow! This is such an epic set featuring a 3x collaboration. The set is limited to just 24 units and will be available at the San Francisco Pen Show.

So let’s get into the details and peel back the many layers that make this so extra special. Enigma Blanks, inspired by  a local species of jellyfish, the Chrysaora Colorata found in the waters around northern California, created these alumilite pen blanks with pinks, purples and shades of blue in translucent and opaque material and then added a healthy amount of iridescent shimmer.

Enigma Blanks then passed the blanks to Shawn Newton of Newton Pens to shape them into pens using his Eastman pen design. The shape is a simple, flat-ended tubular shape. This simple shape shows the swirled color of the blank to the best effect, IMHO. I find the more complex the material color, the simpler the pen design should be.

There is tapered grip section that fits comfortably in the hand, even for someone like me with itty bitty baby-sized hands.

pens for scale, left to right: Kaweco Sport, Pelikan M200, Opus 88 Koloro, Pilot 912, Enigma Blanks/Newton Eastman, Pelikan M600 and Franklin Christoph Pocket 45.

The pen is 5.75″ long when capped and 5.375″ when uncapped. The cap does not post in this design. Its a fairly sizable pen but not too heavy thanks to the material used to make the pen. Capped and filled with the included converter, the pen weighs 24gms. Uncapped, it’s a mere 16gms.

Pen Weights

Pens for scale uncapped and posted where possible. From left to right: Kaweco Sport, Pelikan M200, Opus 88 Koloro, Pilot 912, Enigma Blanks/Newton Eastman, Pelikan M600 and Franklin Christoph Pocket 45.

THEN… (yes, there’s a then!) the JOWO No. 6 nib was shaped by Gena Salorino at Custom Nib Studio into a reverse architect nib. To quote Gena’s web site: “The Architect Point is on the reverse of the nib. This allows you to have a more usable nib for normal writing, but access to a more expressive nib on the reverse.”

Now, let’s flip the nib and see what we get.

Custom Nib Studio Reverse Architect

Oh, well that’s fun! I don’t think I’ve worked with a full reversible nib before. When the pen is flipped over (so the feed is facing you and the nib is closer to the paper), the line weights vary pretty significantly.

And amusingly, when an overwriting lefty uses an Architect nib, it becomes an italic. When overwriting lefties use Italic nibs, they look like Architect nibs. So, that’s a bonus.


The pen comes with lots of information about the care and maintenance, a certificate of authenticity, info about all parties involved and, of course, stickers!

Vinta Tabuan Purple Sea Star ink

Then there’s an exclusive ink:

Vinta Inks Tabuan Purple Sea Star

Enigma Blanks worked with Vinta Inks to create a complimentary (Zoey the Mama Cat added: iu’;/÷÷. I think it means “Fabulously sea inspired”) ink, Tabuan Purple Sea Star. This ink is a beautiful, shading ink inspired by another sea dwelling creature, the Purple Sea Star. The ink coordinates beautifully with the pen and presents as more purple, blue or pink depending on the paper, shading or line width.

Vinta Tabuan Purple Sea Star ink

I was able to compare this ink with a few other pink-to-purple/violet shaders I had in my collection, from top to bottom: Ferris Wheel Press, Kobe #57, Troublemaker Foxglove, Sailor Jentle , Papier Plume Violet and then Vinta Inks Tabuan Purple Sea Star. I put the colors in order from pinkiest to most violet.

Vinta Tabuan Purple Sea Star ink

Oh, and we must not forget the notebook. It is a Freiheit Freestyle Notebook in Ocean.3 (a lovely sea blue) with ivory pages and a 5mm dotted line graph printed in brown. the notebook is approximately 9.5″ tall x 5″ wide which is not an A5 slim nor a B5 slim. It’s its own unique size.

The paper is very smooth and worked well with most rollerball and felt tip pens in my collection. Pencils felt amazing on the smooth paper but could smear more easily since the paper is not overly textured.

There was some showthrough on the reverse of the stock but not terrible. With fountain pens, the paper does show more ink showthrough and may have a little feathering but its a good notebook for the price (or included in the set).

The complete set includes the Enigma/Newton/Custom Nib Studio pen, a bottle of the Vinta ink, and the Freiheit notebook for $300. The ink will also be available separately for $18. The notebook can also be purchased separately for  $9. If any items are left after the SF Pen Show, they will be made available on their website.

Even More Cool Stuff:

The folks at Enigma Blanks also included a rubber stamp set in the package they sent me. This is a 6-rubber stamp push button set called Kodomo Mo Kao Pochitto 6 ($10 per set). This unusual strip of tiny stamps works by letting you remove the cap on the bottom and then just push down on the stamp you want to use. The stamps are pre-inked so its great to use with your bullet journal or planner.

Before depressing the button
After pressing the stamp button.

The stamp does not require a lot of pressure to transfer the image. It took me a couple tries to get the right pressure but I like the pen, ink and nib stamps. They would be perfect to note the pen, ink and nib used on a particular page. I like the book too because I regularly include a “what I’m reading” item in my daily journal. The tape and clip are a little more esoteric for daily use but if you have some ideas for them, let me know.

Reverse page of the Freiheit Freestyle Notebook with fountain pen ink and Pochitto 6 stamps.

This rubber stamp set will be available at the San Francisco  Pen Show as well but is not part of the Purple Striped Jellyfish Pen and Ink collection and is sold separately. It will be available on the Enigma Blanks Pen’s Desk Site after the show.

Final Thoughts:

This pen and ink set really encapsulates the spirit of the pen community. There are so many talented people in the pen community and folks are great about combining their skills. Enigma Blanks combined their skills with Newton and Custom Nib Studio then added the Vinta Inks and Freiheit Notebooks and created something that is really a pen show in a set. What a delight!

I think by blending all these elements Enigma created something better than the individual parts. Not to say that the individual parts aren’t great on their own but this set makes it great times three!

And before we go:

Okay, technically there are only 23 of these pens available and, if you’ve read this far, you will be prepared. Later this week, we will be giving away this pen — #24/24. So, stayed tund for your chance to win this beautiful pen.

PS: Not to shamelessly plug but my darling husband printed the pillow pen sleeve for Enigma Blanks at his shop, Skylab Letterpress. This pen packaging meets a bevy of my personal requirements — recyclable, protective without being ostentatious and it’s pretty too.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by Enigma Blanks for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Wow! Beautiful pen, awesome nib and gorgeous ink. That is for sure something I would splurge on if I had the chance …. thanks for sharing Ana.

  2. That is such a beautiful pen, but OMGosh it is also a whopper! I suppose it is an acquired taste, writing with such a large pen. Or, you just need large hands to begin with. If you eye dropper the ink into the body of the pen, you could write for a long while.

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