With the current confusion as to which day it is*, you might be forgiven for wondering if Christmas has come around again early with the release of Diamine’s Inkvent Blue Edition inks. These were first issued as limited edition 10ml bottles in Diamine’s 2019 Inkvent calendar and proved such a hit that all 25 inks have now been re-released in a very funky 50ml glass bottle.
The inks cover a range of colours and come in standard, sheen and shimmer, specifically: 12 standard inks, , 6 sheen inks, 4 shimmer inks and 3 shimmer and sheen inks. Inky friends have kindly shared several samples with me for review purposes and I have 17 of the 25 inks, with each of the categories well represented and reviewed here for you.
First up, we have Noel, a delightfully festive red with a green/gold sheen and some shading. I really like this colour. It’s a warm and deep, very festive red with a subtle sheen this isn’t going to be too noticeable unless you lay down a lot of ink. Rifling through my modest swatch collection, this ink struck me as similar to Robert Oster Maroon, albeit slightly lighter in colour with more of a gold than a green sheen.
Seasons Greetings is aptly named since it also falls into the traditional red/green Christmas colour scheme. In this case, the ink is a deep pine needle blue-green with a hefty metallic Syrah purple-red sheen. I had to double check that this was indeed just one of the “sheen” inks and not a “shimmer and sheen”. What could be more festive than a large glass of red by the Christmas tree?
Next we have Purple Bow, which is one of the “standard” inks, though it is definitely not a flat colour. My swatch shows some shading and a slight reddish sheen, which is perhaps not deliberate and only evident when the ink is laid down in volume, but is nonetheless present. I’m a sucker for a nice purple ink and this is a nice purple ink. The colour is quite similar, albeit very slightly lighter, to Diamine’s Monboddo’s Hat, though the latter does not have any sheen at all.
Another couple of “standard” inks, also quite similar, are Fire Embers and Ho Ho Ho. Both are bright reds, the former is a more of an blood orange red, whilst the latter is more of a rose red, or perhaps a Santa red given the name 🙂 I don’t have many red-orange inks for comparison to Fire Embers, but Ho Ho Ho is similar to Robert Oster’s Direct Sun. Complementing these is also Elf, a festive emerald green, one of two standard greens in the range, the other being Mistletoe, of which I don’t have a sample. The only other green is Holly, which is a much darker green with sheen and also absent here.
Gold and Silver are also very Christmas colours and they are represented here by Snow Storm, more pewter grey than silver but with a silver shimmer, and Gold Star, a bright yellow with a gold shimmer. It’s quite hard to capture the shimmer in a photograph, so you may not be able to see it here.
I won’t leave you in suspense any longer for the two shimmer and sheen monsters that I have – Happy Holidays and Winter Miracle. First up, we have Happy Holidays, a Superhero combination of colour – Is it a blue? Is it a purple? Is it a red? No, it’s all of those. A cobalt blue with a strong red sheen and some light blue-green sparkle, giving an overall purple effect. It’s a “what the hell, let’s give it all the super powers” kind of ink, the festive love child of Diamine Skulls and Roses and Peacock Flare.
There are many blue inks with red shimmer – as well as Skull and Roses, there is Bloody Brexit, Organic Studios Nitrogen Blue, KWZ Baltic Memories, to name but a few, and also part of this review, Polar Glow – but none of these have shimmer as well. Polar Glow is a lighter blue with a metallic pinkish-red sheen.
Winter Miracle, on the other hand, is a purple ink that has the same insane green sheen as Cult Pens’ Robert (also made by Diamine) with Diamine Grape undertones. Both are tremendously good fun, but I wouldn’t put them in a pen that you can’t clean easily – sheens are hard enough to clean but add a shimmer too and you’ll be soaking it for a week!
I would very much like to try the third Shimmer and Sheen ink, Jack Frost. The colour combinations look intriguing.
All the brown inks that I have for review – Triple Chocolate, Nutcracker and Roasted Chestnut – also fall into the standard ink category. However, as with Purple Bow, there is definitely more going on with Nutcracker, with shading and distinct hint of sheen. This is also true to a lesser extent of Triple Chocolate which has some shading, leaving only Roasted Chestnut as a fairly flat colour.
Which just leaves my three remaining shimmer inks. At first glance, Solstice is a sombre colour, most definitely the Winter rather than the Summer Solstice, a dark grey-black. When it catches the light though, there is a pleasant sheen and a hint of deep green sparkle, like distant fairy lights in the dark forest. It is listed as a shimmer and not a sheen, but I think it has both. It’s not an exciting colour but the hint of green is enough to make it an interesting one for adding a subtle lift to your scribblings. I could see this sneaking up on you and becoming quite a favourite. Next we have Midnight Hour, another blue with red sheen, a darker blue than Polar Glow and with more of a rusty, maroon red sheen. This is another one that I suspect could become a sneaky favourite if you like sheen inks. Last but very much not least, is the delightfully bright Blue Peppermint, which I will let speak for itself. Well, maybe not. As well as purples, I’m a sucker for teals and turquoises and this one is both of those. Just on the greener side of turquoise but with a definite turquoise blue shimmer, I think I’m in love!
I could write much more about these inks, but as there are 17 in this review, it would make for a very long post, so I’ll finish off with a page showcasing them all as best I can with a dip pen. (Some behaved better than others! Noel, Snow Storm and Ho Ho Ho had the best consistency, Fire Embers the worst.)
Inks in this range (inks not included in this review shown in italics):
Standard: Fire Embers. Ho Ho Ho, Purple Bow, Roasted Chestnut, Triple Chocolate, Nutcracker, Elf ( Mistletoe, Candy Cane, Gingerbread, Mulled Wine, Poinsettia)
Sheen: Noel, Seasons Greetings, Polar Glow, Midnight Hour (Holly, Festive Cheer)
Shimmer: Solstice, Snow Storm, Gold Star, Blue Peppermint
Shimmer & Sheen: Happy Holidays, Winter Miracle, (Jack Frost)
Who will appreciate these:
– ink fiends everywhere, there is a colour and style to suit all tastes
– people who like funky ink bottles…with little feet
Prices vary according to the type of ink, with the standard inks typically around £8, the sheens at £9 and the shimmers (with or without sheen) at around £11. By way of comparison, Diamine’s normal range of shimmer inks usually retail for around £9 for 50ml and the standard inks are under £6 for 80ml, so you are paying a couple of quid extra for the very nice bottle.
*For those who may be reading this post some time in the future, we are currently in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For many people, particularly those who are unable to go to work, it is difficult to keep track. Every day feels like a quiet Sunday, with little traffic on the road, most shops closed , no school and no work for many. Of course, the lovely Spring weather we have been enjoying this April is a bit of a giveaway that it isn’t Christmas 🙂