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  1. This box set had the delicious idea to be waiting for me under the Christmas tree! I don’t think I saw a review of the whole set or of all of these here so I thought I’d take a quick shot at it (sorry no lovely splash or real water test). The Gemstone set comes in a cardboard box that closes with a magnet. Fairly common for ink sets; no overwhelming, exclusive package, not much wow… Each ink comes in the standard 30ml bottle and plastic wrapping Now for the inks: (dipped pens, Tomoe River paper. Picture taken around a week after it was made) We’ll (almost) follow the order of the bottles in the box (only bringing Amethyst from right to left, with its fellow cold hues). So we start with Sapphire and Charoite, a dark royal blue and a blue purple. Nice, bright colours, nothing wrong to say about these inks, but just not really my kind of colours. I guess I’ll leave further comments and comparisons to blue and purple lovers. Amethyst is more for me; It’s another purple, but a little more pinkish and lighter than Charoite. It seems to be made of bright pink and bright blue stuff trying to run away from each other at every opportunity. There is definitely something lavender in Amethyst, but unlike other ‘lavender’ inks, it does not fade or lean towards grey. I like it Notes: - I struggled with taking a decent photo of the purples. This is as close as I got to the real thing. - There IS a small difference between Charoite and Amethyst, I swear. But; enough to justify having both in the same set? - I saw photos of Sapphire, Charoite and Amethyst showing sheen. I didn’t hunt for it here and didn’t get any yet. In Olivine there is ‘olive’, but while some ‘olive’ inks shade from neon yellow/green to dark khaki, sometimes looking like actual olive oil or even borderline radioactive, Olivine is a more composed, slightly muted army green. An olive-ish ink without the drama. (even if I do like some drama in my inks. See: FireOpal). Olivine still has nice shading: Erinite is an interesting colour, and I have to say I had fun using it. It’s a bright green, but it feels different, not just another green. It must be a little more yellow or more blue than just green, maybe like a ‘reverse turquoise’ (as in a green with a drop of blue). I don’t know enough inks to claim it’s unique, but whatever it does, it does it well, it’s fresh, and to me it would make a great spring ink. I would probably call Topaz a medium, balanced orange; not overly red or yellow, not too light when writing (disclaimer: dipped. I have not tried it in a pen yet), not too bright or hard on the eyes either. I find it rather nice –a bit subdued - and probably easily usable. I don’t have other oranges to compare with and not a lot more to say about it (paging HalloweenHJB) It’s easy to see why Fireopal is the ink that got the most buzz in this series. I guess my only comment could be that; An ink that goes that much distance (between dark red to bright orange) in just one touch of a nib or brush - no special effect, no dilution, no artsy touch – an ink which has not just a lovely colour but several lovely colours in it and which does THAT SHADING is a winner, a queen in my books. It seems to look fairly similar to Diamine Ancient Copper in some pictures found online, but I don’t have that one. I nicknamed FireOpal ‘Liquid Fire’ I love it. I think it goes straight into my top 5 fave inks. I want to buy litres, gallons, tankers of it. (that was childish) Zoom (did I mention the shading?) Ruby is a deep, slightly dark red, not eye searing. Another rich colour in which you can find some reddish orange and some cherry red. I wouldn’t call this one a pure red, but I’m not one who’ll have lots of red inks, so this one may be my main if not only red for a while. Garnet is in that sweet Yama Budo/Magenta/ grapey/ fuchsia spot – or whatever that colour is actually called. It’s slightly reddish than YB. The comparison below will make more sense than words. I think I still prefer Yama Budo but Garnet is certainly very nice. I’m not a connoisseur of black inks, and can only compare Onyx to the few blacks I have. It’s the blackest of my blacks, and still looks pretty ‘neutral’ (as in not overly blue or purple) when diluted. My new favourite among my very few blacks. To sum up; a really nice set of inks. Nothing wrong to flag in terms of any ink overly fading, being dry or watery. We all love/ dislike different colours, so I'll just note that the set covers quite a broad array; there should be something for everyone in there. I would have loved to get Emerald and Moonstone in that set – instead of having 2 quite similar purples for example. So I will try to get them.





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