I don’t know if it’s the warm and sunny weather that just hit the northeast after a cold spell, but, more than ever, I’m not ready for summer to end! So to keep the summery vibe going, I thought why not do a comparison of turquoise and “beachy blue" inks.
This is by no means a comprehensive review, because I’m missing some great turquoise inks, such as Sheaffer and Lamy Turquoise, but I saw a post come up on the boards with questions about turquoises, so I wanted to share samples of the ones I have. The 15 inks tested are: Caran d’Ache Turquoise, Omas Turquoise, Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare, J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche, Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro, Waterman Inspired Blue, Pelikan Turquoise, Montblanc Honore de Balzac Dandy Turquoise, Diamine Aqua Blue, Visconti Turquoise, Pelikan Edelstein Topaz, Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, Diamine Asa Blue, Diamine Florida Blue and Diamine Mediterranean Blue.
The writing samples were done using a 1950s 146 and a Pilot Custom 74 B nib ground down to a smooth stub by Mike Masuyama. All samples were tested on Rhodia paper.
Ink on Paper Towel:
Top Row: Caran d’Ache Turquoise, Omas Turquoise, Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare, J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche, Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro, Waterman Inspired Blue, Pelikan Turquoise
Bottom Row: Montblanc Honore de Balzac Dandy Turquoise, Diamine Aqua Blue, Visconti Turquoise, Pelikan Edelstein Topaz, Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, Diamine Asa Blue, Diamine Florida Blue and Diamine Mediterranean Blue
Best Flow and Smoothness: J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche
Bleu Pervenche wins hands down for me in this category and is miles ahead of every other ink in this review. With that said, although it has an excellent flow, l wish Bleu Pervenche felt a little smoother (to match the smoothness of my favorite inks). However, this is the only turquoise with a regular spot in my ink rotation.
Best Turquoise Color: Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare
This is by far my favorite shade of turquoise. It offers a nice mix of blue and green that leans more towards the blue side (which I prefer). In a wet nib, it is the most vibrant of the turquoise inks tested - so vibrant in fact that it makes me want to pull out a pair of sunglasses . The ink has a good flow (though not as high as Bleu Pervenche) but is missing the high level of smoothness I look for in a go-to ink. However, I love the color so much that I did get a bottle.
Best Beachy Blue Color: Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro and Diamine Florida Blue (Tie)
I love the color of both of these inks, but I do not own bottles of either.
I consider Ama-Iro to a "beachy blue" rather than a turquoise because it needs a little more green to be a true turquoise. I really love its bright, light blue color, which screams summer fun, but didn't enjoy the feeling of writing with the ink enough in the flexy 146 to buy a full bottle especially given its higher price point. I should note that I may have been especially tough on Ama-Iro because I was expecting a higher level of smoothness from an Iroshizuku ink.
Florida Blue and Mediterranean Blue are close enough in color that someone looking to keep their ink spending to a minimum wouldn't need to own both. Florida Blue has a better flow, and, since I like wetter inks, I wouldn't think twice about using it over Mediterranean Blue. (Mediterranean blue is not a dry ink but someone looking for less wetness might prefer it; it is also a little lighter and exhibits slightly more shading than its Floridian counterpart.)
Highest Sheening Ink (on Rhodia): Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki
Kon-Peki is not a monster sheener on Rhodia (like some of the Sailor inks I’ve recently tried) but still offers a subtle and beautiful pink shimmering halo around its blue letters. Some posts have asked how it compares to Edelstein Topaz and, as others have noted, both inks are similar in that they are cerulean blues with pink sheen. (I've noticed that Topaz sheens tremendously on Tomoe River Paper, but in this comparison it barely showed any sheen around the letters.) If I had to choose only one of the two inks, it would be Kon-Peki. The color is brighter and the ink has a better flow.
Lowest Performer: Caran d’Ache Turquoise
I really did not like this ink and was expecting more from a $30+ ink. It was so thin that it took the fun out of writing with my favorite pen (and I almost stopped the review to change writers).
Other notable mentions:
Light Turquoise: Visconti and Omas Turquoise (tie)
Both inks are on the lighter end of the turquoise spectrum and could be a good option for someone looking for such a shade. I prefer the flow of the Omas but like the color of the Visconti better. (I would have liked for the Visconti to perform more like its brother ink, Visconti Blue, which offers a smoother writing experience.)
Dark Beachy Blue: Diamine Asa Blue
Asa Blue is a beautiful and interesting color in that it is paradoxically both dark and beachy. It has a good flow but an ok smoothness.
Montblanc Dandy Turquoise Alternative: Pelikan Turquoise
I love this shade of turquoise and have found that with the right pen and paper combination it can offer wonderful color variation. (I've noticed much more color variation using a Visconti HS.) For anyone who was not able to get a bottle during its limited run, I think that Pelikan Turquoise is a pretty close alternative.