Pelikan Edelstein "Inks of the Year" are limited editions and issued each year, usually starting around the 1st of March but this year it was a little later, at least here in Germany. The new series began in 2012 with Turmaline (plum), and last year (2016), it was Aquamarine. This year (2017), it's Smoky Quartz. Here's a picture from the company itself:
To paraphrase what I wrote last year about Aquamarine, I originally had to ask (at least myself) what "Smoky Quartz" would look like as a gem. When I think of quartz (in German -- where the word first came from -- "Quarz"), I first think of silicon dioxide which is, if I may say so, nothing other than sand. But it also has to do with a good crystal structure of that mineral, ending up as we all know being used in the watch industry. Also, there are many different varieties of quartz, several of which are actually semi-precious gemstones. So it can't be all that bad as an idea to name a new ink. A quick look via Wiki shows that smoky quartz is a somewhat grey variety ranging in clarity from almost complete transparency or translucency to a brownish-gray crystal that is almost opaque. A very dark brown to black opaque variety is known as morion which is BTW the German, Danish, Spanish and Polish synonym for smoky quartz, which looks in fact like this (taken from Wiki and elsewhere along those lines):
Smoky quartz as a mineral. The first image shows the morion variety, often used for jewelry.
2. First impressions
Here's a word or two with a few pens on 80 g/m2 Rhodia paper, as well as a drop on the kitchen towel, and finally a swab or three:
... In a Safari with a B-nib:
... Sheaffer NN, italic F-nib:
... Waterman Charleston, B-nib:
... Pelikano, M-nib:
... Lamy Joy, 1.5-mm-nib:
(Taken from the newspaper Tagesspiegel, 11 March 2017)
And here it is on a piece of kitchen towel:
As you can see, it appears to be almost a homogeneous mix of two dyes, in any case a much less complex combination than that seen in many other brown inks.
As a last impression (for those of you in need), single, double and triple swabs (each new swab for each new wavy line below was anointed once with 100 µl):
Here's a picture of the box and bottle:
And what the inner box looks like with the bottle and the two foam blocks:
The 50-ml Edelstein bottle remains unchanged. It is different from the 30 and 62.5-ml bottles of the 4001 series and has the usual, very sturdy Edelstein cap. The only thing I still don't like about the package here is the inclusion of two medium-soft rubber foam blocks resting on the shoulders of the bottle under the two box side flaps. Sure, the bottle can most easily be taken out of the box by first pulling up the back flap of the inner box and the trying to pinch out the foam blocks in order to get a hold of the bottle by the cap. And/or, by completely removing and disassembling the whole inner box. Again, enough said....
4. Physical properties
■ Wetness/flow: Very good, one of the wettest Edelstein inks I've used, similar to their Tanzanite and Aquamarine. All Edelstein inks (although they themselves have some variety as regards wetness/flow) are wetter than their older 4001 counterparts. For an explanation here, see point 7 below.
■ Lubrication: Also good.
■ Saturation: High. About as high as most of the other Edelstein inks.
■ Shading: Hardly any seen at all.
■ Sheen: Ditto.
■ Feathering: None seen, even on a piece of newspaper.
■ Bleeding: None seen (see below).
■ Drying time: 20-25 s, again, fairly long since very wet. Note that the thickness and wetness of these writings apparently have no or little effect on their time to dry. Charleston B-nib (a very wet pen) on Rhodia 80 g/m2 paper:
■ Waterproofness: Almost as good as Pelikan's 4001 Blue-Black where today's formulations are considered to contain at least some iron-gall. This Edelstein (like all other current Edelstein inks) is not an iron-gall ink. As you can see, after exactly 60 seconds of holding out a bath in water, a lot of the dye has been washed out but I can still read everything with no effort; interestingly (at least to me), that bath was not only completely survived, it has also turned the blackish brown into a brownish black:
A few drops of water also do no apparent harm if you look at a piece of writing, even although it does show that at least a certain brown component of this ink is very water-soluble....
5. Various papers
Actually, there is no feathering to be seen anywhere on any of the papers I have tried here, with the possible exception of the cheapest (and lousiest) copy papers. No data to show.
First off, here are eight different types of paper, all written on using that Charleston (with a B-nib):
And here, the reverse sides of the same eight in the original left-to-right order, i.e.
Artoz Clairefontaine DOTGRID.CO GraFit
Hieronymus Leuchtturm Moleskine Rhodia
Also, only little or no bleeding was seen; as usual some on Leuchtturm 1917, and – as always – even some more on Moleskine.
I don't see any sheen here at all. That may be my fault because I almost never see any real sheen (apart from that of other members' images which I occasionally see on my screen). Maybe that is due to my non-flex pens, the degree of direct sunlight, and/or the angle in which their camera is aimed toward the paper. Nonetheless, I find the color of this ink a nice shiny blackish brown. Something like the gem in the image up top. A shiny brown, but a warm shiny brown.
6. Ink Comparisons
This was a bit difficult. Some of the inks which came to mind and I tried out (which are not listed here) do have a corresponding intensity and maybe even darkness but are too red (e.g. Montbanc's Carlo Collodi, Herbin's Café des Îles, Pelikan's 4001 Brown), too yellow (Noodler's Golden Brown, De Atramentis' Van Dyck Brown, Barock's Terra di Siena), too green (Diamine's Golden Brown, Rohrer & Klingner's Sepia or Document Brown), or too black (Sailor Doyou). A few which might come into question here are Diamine's Dark Brown, Chocolate Brown, or Raw Sienna but unfortunately I don't have any of these on hand (or on the shelf, har, har).
The pen used here is a glass dip pen made by Herbin.
7. Note (taken from an earlier review)
On the back of the box, it says "Extra soft ink". Again, as a repeat for those uninformed, that means that in comparison to the 4001 ink predecessors, these new Edelstein issues have a better flow and better lubrication. By "lubrication" here, they mean not only on the paper but also on the inside the barrel around the piston. At the same time, this extra-softness was designed to yield an even more maintenance-free and thus more "FP-friendlier" ink. Since I have all Pelikan 4001 and Edelstein inks, I must say that I'll go along with that!
Since this is a "Pelikan" ink, it should be available all over the world. One of the gripes I've often encountered here on the forum is that while the "normal" or "standard" 4001 Pelikan inks are relatively inexpensive, the Edelstein series are said to cost too much. Sure, they're dirt cheap here, while Sailor and Iroshis aren't, and in Japan, it's of course the other way around. Considering again a short list of prices, here is a list I posted recently to outline the same type of comparisons. Edelsteins aren't all that expensive (in this country), and cost "only" just over twice as much as any of the inks in the Pelikan 4001 line. These are current German list prices in Euros including our sales tax of 19%:
Ink List Price Bottle Price/ml
Hieronymus 48.20 50 ml 0.96
Vuitton 36.00 50 ml 0.72
Caran d'Ache (new) 29.50 50 ml 0.59
Montblanc (LEs) 16.00 30 ml 0.53
Iroshizuku 24.90 50 ml 0.50
Caran d'Ache (old) 13.95 30 ml 0.47
Kaweco 10.99 30 ml 0.37
Montegrappa 14.00 42 ml 0.33
Graf von F-C (new) 25.00 75 ml 0.33
Pelikan Edelstein 15.90 50 ml 0.32
Montblanc (regulars) 18.00 60 ml 0.30
Herbin 8.70 30 ml 0.29
Online 3.95 15 ml 0.26
Akkerman (60 ml) 15.00 60 ml 0.25
Graf von F-C (old) 13.75 62.5 ml 0.22
Standardgraph 6.45 30 ml 0.21
Stipula (Calamo) 14.00 70 ml 0.20
Lamy T52 8.50 50 ml 0.17
Waterman 7.90 50 ml 0.16
L'Artisan Pastellier 6.50 40 ml 0.16
Pelikan 4001 4.40 30 ml 0.15
Rohrer & Klingner 6.50 50 ml 0.13
Parker Quink 6.00 57 ml 0.11
Akkerman (150 ml) 16.50 150 ml 0.11
Seitz-Kreuznach 8.99 100 ml 0.09
Up to here I've kept this rather objective (I think) because brown isn't one of my favorite colors, so that I can't say right off the cuff that I love or hate this hue.
■ Although I'm not really into browns (and never was), this is one I like even if only for one special reason: I see in it a hard-to-describe cluster of color. Is it a brownish black or a blackish brown? Maybe it is like some gems themselves, where the "exact" color you perceive depends a lot on the angle at which you observe it. And of course on the light itself. For this ink, the pens and papers make big differences too. As a possibly overestimated (or is it an underestimated?) example of a nicely complicated ink color (which is, yes, not a brown one), I like to whip out Diamine's Eclipse or even Sailor's Doyou.
■ Quite apart from that, there also appears to be a small degree of color change upon drying, over which time some of the brownness and perhaps a half a tick of the reddishness seem to disappear. This is AFAIK by no means an iron gall ink. Who cares? I see a certain advantage here....
■ ... Because it is really well behaved. Also it writes well, and although it doesn't dry especially quickly and is also not at all waterproof, it is very easy to clean out of your pen and off your hands. Moreover, I find it worthy of note to reiterate that even after a full bath in water -- where a lot of the brown color is lost -- the writing is still clearly readable, again, as if it were an iron-gall ink.
■ If you can't do without any shading or sheen, then you can do without this ink (but if you love the color, then do try to find your luck here). To hang onto the subjectivity here, it may well be that you just don't care for this color because it is too dark and not somewhere more in the golden range.
■ This ink should be available all over the world and that for IMO a reasonable price. At least here in Europe and likely in North America, I'd say that it is less expensive than any Iroshizuku or Sailor contenders.
■ Don't forget that this is a Pelikan "Ink of the Year" (as always, since 2012, continually in the Edelstein field) and thus a Limited Edition ink. Smoky Quartz should now be available – as usual likely for a good year – but when they're gone, they're gone for good.