Ink Review: Lamy Crystal Azurite

Ink Review: Lamy Crystal Azurite

By Jessica Coles

This last weekend I had the great privilege of attending the Atlanta pen show for the first time. I had a wonderful time (one that I will recount in another post, very soon), however, I was very impressed with one ink that I picked up during the show.  The ink is Lamy Crystal Azurite. I hadn’t been able to find a bottle at most retailers, but I did come across this ink on the Dromgoole’s table ($16.00 at Dromgoole’s store). One of the many benefits of attending a pen show!

Lamy’s new line, the Crystal inks, are quite a bit of fun.  Even though the line has taken the color names from heavily used semi-precious stones as so many other manufacturers have done previously, I enjoy the names much more than the usual Lamy labels.  Blue-Black, Red, Green… This was a big step for them and I am happy with it.

The packaging for the ink is wonderful and quite secure; plenty of high-density foam and cardboard to hold the bottle in place. The glass bottle and metal lid are beautiful and a pleasant change from the larger bottles from Lamy, although they don’t have the detail of the blotting paper roll underneath.  However, the colored band at the base of the lid is nice – it also matches the color of the ink closely.


I wasn’t able to wait until I arrived back home; I swatched Azurite after the show on Sunday night, excited to see my newest purple ink. As the ink dried on the Col-o-ring card, I fell in love.  Look at the beautiful sheen!

One of the questions we always get with purple sheening inks is, how close is it to Lamy Dark Lilac? So here is the comparison shot:

There’s not really a close match here.  Dark Lilac is on one end of the purple spectrum, towards red.  Azurite is on the opposite end, as close to blue as possible without being shut out of purple completely. The word “Blurple” may apply here, but I would count this still solidly in the purple (or more accurately, violet) zone.

I pulled several color samples to show the color of the ink and the sheen quantity. In my opinion, Azurite is closest to Rohrer & Klingner Cassia, although slightly more saturated.

Although these two inks don’t have the same level of sheen, they are quite close in color to Azurite, so I included another shot with Bilberry and Charoite. Monteverde Charoite is a fairly close match to Azurite (and also from Monteverde’s gemstone collection).

I had no trouble with bleeding or feathering (the slight look of feathering here was actually because of pets getting too close) and the ink was of average flow, not too dry or too wet.

Azurite does seem to take a bit longer to dry, but only when used in large amounts such as my scribbling or when I pool the ink.

During ordinary writing, the dry time clocked in around 15 seconds.  But don’t let your cat walk across your writing when trying to show the beautiful sheen! Honestly, my cat doesn’t do well with purple ink.  Her paws look much nicer with turquoise.

I love the new Lamy Crystal Azurite.  I know that many retailers are out of this color at the moment, but the good news is that the Crystal inks are part of Lamy’s permanent line.  So just be patient – it will be available everywhere very soon! If you would like to purchase this from Dromgooles, you may need to contact the store.  The option doesn’t yet seem to be available on their website. Don’t worry – they are all wonderful people.


Disclaimer: All items in this review were purchased by me.  For more information, visit our About page.

Link Love: Ok… GO!




Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the Compoco Airplane View package and take advantage of the generous discount. Compoco is currently offering a discount to Well-Appointed Desk readers. Receive 15% off your order through the month of April with the coupon code 15well.

Notebook Review: Clairefontaine Zellige Leatherette Cover A5 Notebook Lined

Review by Laura Cameron

Oh hey… it’s notebook week! Did I tell you all that yesterday? I don’t know why, but Ana said so!

So to continue with notebook reviews today I’ve got a review of the Clairefontaine Zellige Leatherette Cover A5 Notebook Lined ($12.95) for you. I picked this up when I was in Arkansas for the pen show, but, in truth, I had seen Lisa at Vanness Pen Shop post it a few days before on her Instagram account and knew I wanted to touch one.

The Zellige Leatherette Cover Notebook comes in two sizes – A5 and A6. I picked up the A5 because it’s my favorite size.

According to the flavor text, Zellige means polished stones, but when I gave it a quick Google, I learned that Zellige is a style of mosaic where tiny polished tiles make up geometric patterns. Zellige is a style that is found in a variety of places but is iconic in Morocco, which happens to be where this notebook is made. When I look at the embossed faux leather cover, I definitely see mosaics and geometric patterns.

Let’s talk about the specs. The Zellige notebook has 72 pages of 90gsm ivory colored pages. The pages are lined in approximately 1/4″ ruling. The only thing I find a little odd is that the lines go all the way up to the top, with no room for a header.

To round out the specs, the spine is glued, and the inner covers of mine are burgundy colored.  Finally, the journal comes in three colors: taupe (mine), beige and orange.

Clairefontaine has a reputation for having lovely paper, and this journal is no exception. The pages are smooth and creamy and I had no trouble with fountain pens, fine liners or gel pens. Of course the Sharpie bled through, but that’s no surprise.

As you can see, I’m not much of an artist (give me needles and yarn and we’ll talk!), but this book is a win for me. Now I only need to decide what purpose to dedicate it to!

DISCLAIMER: The notebook  in this review was provided to us free of charge by Vanness Pen Shop for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Notebook Review: Compoco Airplane View Journal (& Giveaway!)

Review by Laura Cameron

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Compoco asked us if we’d like to sample their newest offering, the Airplane View A5 Journal ($21.00). A travel-themed journal with dot grid? You bet I said yes!

The Airplane View Journal is a bit tricky to photograph because the cover is an embossed faux leather in white. I’ve added my pictures in below, but I’m also including a better one from Compoco.

The thing I love about this journal is all the lovely touches they added to make this special. From the outside, there’s the beautiful cover, but the edges of the paper are also holographic!

When you open the book you’re treated to the lovely front and end pages which are blue sky and clouds. The back of the book also includes Compoco’s signature pocket, perfect to hold ticket stubs, stickers, receipts or other mementos of your journey!

Just beyond that is a cute title page, where you can indicate who the journal belongs to.

The remainder of the book is filled with lovely dot grid paper. The pages are white, and the dot grid is a pale grey. The pages are unnumbered but there are 192 of them; 184 of dot grid plus 8 perforated blank pages in case you need some paper to go.

Finally, the journal includes two, satin bookmarks (one pale blue, one white) and an elastic band to hold the book closed once you’ve stuffed it with your travel mementos! Any specs I may have missed are below:

So now let’s talk paper! The paper is great. It’s 100gsm and quite smooth. It takes ink beautifully, without bleeding or feathering. I tried everything at my desk, save the Sharpie, and while there’s a bit of ghosting, no bleed through!

I’m heading to Ireland in June, and I think I’ve just found my travel journal!

BONUS: Compoco is offering a discount to Well-Appointed Desk readers. Receive 15% off your order through the month of April with the coupon code 15well.

The Giveaway

But wait, there’s more. The lovely people at Compoco sent a box of swag for you!

Items in the giveaway package are:

TO ENTER: Leave a comment ON THIS POST ON THE BLOG and tell us where you would take your Airplane View Journal! One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, April 12, 2019. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday, April 13. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear – just email you if you win. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US residents and APO/FPO only please.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in giveaway were provided free of charge by Compoco. Please see the About page for more details.

Colored Pencil Review: Pilot Frixion – Standard and Adult

Colored Pencil Review: Pilot Frixion – Standard and Adult

Review by Tina Koyama

I’ve been curious about Pilot Frixion erasable products ever since Ana reviewed the pens and markers and the “color-pencil-like pens” several years ago. But it wasn’t until Pilot came out with actual erasable colored pencils (as opposed to gel pens that are called “color-pencil-like” but are not, in fact, color-pencil-like at all) that I became curious enough to try some.

Pilot now offers two lines of Frixion colored pencils: the standard line of 12 colors (set of 12 for $13.25; $2.05 each), which I’m going to call the kids’ line, and the new adult line (set of 12 for $22 or 24 for $44; $3.05 each) available in 24 colors. I got a set of 12 of each, which I’m going to review simultaneously. Pencils in both lines are available open stock – a useful feature for any colored pencil and unusual for sets marketed to kids – so kudos to Pilot for that.

The kids’ set comes in a plastic box in your choice of pink or blue. The woodcased barrels are color-matched to the cores. The attached erasers are translucent white.

The adult set comes in a dark blue metal box and includes a small coloring book. The pencils’ dark blue barrel has a textured herringbone pattern. Attached erasers that match the core colors are a nice touch, especially since they are the only color identifiers (other than the pencil points).

Frixion Colored Pencils for adults Inerior of Frixion Colored Pencils Box Frixion Cooring Book

I love these translucent colored erasers – they remind me of gummy bears and look like they should be scented (but thankfully, they are not).

Frixion Colored Pencils, eraser close-ups

Frankly, I think the colored erasers are the main reason to get the adult set instead of the kids’ set, because the cores are identical (more on that in a moment). And speaking of those cores, I’m going to give you a closer look. Both the kids’ pencils and the adult pencils show an odd whitish core surrounding the colored core. The wood is high-quality, the cores are well-centered, and they all sharpen well.

Frixion Pencil core close-up

Since the price of the adult pencils is substantially higher than the kids’ pencils, I wondered if the cores contained more pigment or if they were different in any other way. They are not – at all. Shown below is a swatch comparison of the two sets. On each swatch, I tested erasing quality with two erasers – the one attached (the right erasure) and a Tombow Mono Zero (the left erasure). In every case, the attached Frixion eraser erased more quickly, cleanly (no dust) and completely than the Tombow. 

Frixion color swatches and erasing

I was disappointed that the swatches came out looking pale and wimpy with the two layers I typically make for swatches, so I hoped they might be a bit more vibrant in a sketch. Alas, not much. I applied multiple layers of the relatively soft, waxy cores, but the pencils don’t have enough pigment to achieve the degree of vibrancy I’m used to seeing even in low-cost, student-grade pencils. (Sketch and swatches made in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook.) If I were looking for colored pencils to color with, Frixion would not be my first choice (nor my second or third choice). The hues are transparent, however, so they might work well as highlighter pencils.

sketch with pencils sketch sample scanned

Here’s where I’ll insert my confession: I didn’t get Frixion pencils to sketch with! According to JetPens’ product information, “FriXion pencil lead is a thermosensitive lead that can be erased by rubbing. Interestingly, erased color reappears at temperatures below 14° F (-10° C). A freezer is cold enough to make this happen.” After making the apple sketch, my inner Ms. Wizard was eager to stop coloring and get to the science experiments! I’m sure there are tons of YouTubes out there showing how Frixion erasing technology works, but I didn’t search for them – I wanted my own research to be pure and without influence.

First I scribbled a few swatches with the adult pencils on a Col-o-Ring card and erased lines through them with the attached eraser.

Col-o-ring Frixion swatch for science experiment

I tossed the card into the freezer for five minutes; the results show some erased areas coming back.

Same Col-o-ring swatch after 5 minutes in the freezer

After removing the card from the freezer, I rushed to the bathroom and blew high heat from a hair dryer onto it. In a matter of seconds, the swatches had nearly disappeared.

Frixion swatch after blow dryer

I let the card sit at room temperature for about five minutes, and some of the swatches started returning.

Swatch again at room temp.

Finally, I put the card back in the freezer for five minutes. Most swatches had nearly returned, including the lines I had initially erased.

Swatch after going back in the freezer again

At this point, my inner Ms. Wizard was satisfied that the Frixion pencils respond quickly to heat and cold. If you care about your writing maintaining legibility or your coloring remaining intact, heed the temperature of your paper.

Then my inner 8-year-old took over. Why fuss with invisible ink made of lemon juice if you can use Frixion pencils instead? I wrote a secret message . . .

Secret Message

. . . and erased it completely.

Message Being Erased

Assuming the message is delivered without being intercepted by enemy hands, the recipient would place the note in the freezer. In about a minute, the message would reappear enough to be legible. So much easier than lighting a candle!

Message after being put in freezer

Final Impressions

As coloring pencils, forget it – nearly every colored pencil on the market is better than Pilot Frixion. But for the sheer fun of exchanging invisible secret messages? Priceless.

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

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

Eye Candy: Pelikan Star Ruby

Eye Candy: Pelikan Star Ruby

This is a big week here at The Well-Appointed Desk. Pelikan released their ink color of the year: Star Ruby. While we are rolling around in inky goodness, we thought we’d share some of the color goodness with you.

Star Ruby is a deep magenta red color. You made be thinking to yourself, “Didn’t Pelikan already release a magenta color in their limited edition inks?” You would be right to think that. In 2012, Pelikan released the first “Color of the Year” which was Tourmaline. It was a slightly deeper, purply magenta.

Pelikan Edelstein 2019 Star Ruby

That said, Star Ruby has clearly noticeable sheen. The color, when applied in a wider swath, has a velvety quality and a golden sheen.

Pelikan Edelstein 2019 Star Ruby

Compared with other magenta pinks, there are a lot of similar colors. From top left down: Kaweco Ruby Red, J. Herbin Rouge Opera and Pelikan Edelstein Star Ruby and Lamy Vibrant Pink. From top right down: Colorverse No. 5 Lights on Ceres, Colorverse #19 Red Shift,  and Pelikan Edelstein Tourmaline.

J. Herbin Rouge Opera is probably the closest in hue though Herbin inks are notoriously wet. Tourmaline is the only other one with true sheen, Vibrant Pink has sheen plus metallic gold glitter and is much lighter pink. Colorverse #19 and Ruby Red are more red and Colorverse #05 Lights on Ceres is similar to Tourmaline — more magenta but with less sheen.

If you missed out on Tourmaline, then Star Ruby is definitely worth picking up. The sheen created by Star Ruby in wider nibs is quite attractive and will be very noticeable on high sheen papers like Tomoe River. If you have several magenta or pink inks, you might not need another one. Though, if you are like me, you might not be able to resist the temptation anyway.


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

Eye Candy: Lamy Bronze Al-Star & Fountain Pen Ink

Eye Candy: Lamy Bronze Al-Star & Fountain Pen Ink

Following the jokes last week on The Pen Addict podcast about trying to urushi a Lamy, I thought it best to share the untainted Lamy Al-Star Bronze before I possibly offer up my Lamy Al-Star to a possible attempt to urushi it, if that’s something that could be attempted. The 2019 Bronze Al-Star ($38) is the most recent in a long line of limited edition Al-Star models. It turns out that just four years ago, in 2015, Lamy released the CopperOrange which is not all that different than the new Bronze. The Bronze pen barrel is more of a light orange color and a darker, ruddier tone that I would think of as bronze.

When I think of bronze, I think of bronze statues that are darker, almost brown with a golden undertone. A Lamy AL-Star in deep chocolate brown metallic would be stunning.

The limited edition Bronze fountain pen ink ($12 for 50ml bottle) is not an exact match for the pen. The ink is more of a burnt orange than what I would think of as a bronze color.

Lamy Bronze 2019 ink comparison

I put the Bronze ink next to several other well-known orange inks for comparison. From top to bottom: Robert Oster Pen Addict Fire on Fire, Lamy Bronze, J. Herbin Orange Indien, Montblanc Lucky Indian, Noodler’s Apache Sunset, Sailor Jentle Apricot.

J. Herbin Indien Orange is closest in color with Apache Sunset being  slightly redder and a little dirtier. Fire on Fire is much redder in comparison and both Apricot and Lucky Orange are more saturated and cleaner by contrast. If you’ve ever wanted an orange ink but didn’t want one that was too bright, Bronze might be a good option.

Since the Lamy limited edition inks are so reasonably priced, its hard to skip them, even when I’m just ho-hum about the colors. After several years of Lamy ink scarcity, it’s worth it to grab a bottle, just in case.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Vanness Pen Shop for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.