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  1. Pelikan Edelstein Moonstone - Ink of the Year 2020 In 2011 Pelikan introduced the Edelstein series of high-end inks, available in a variety of colours. The theme of the Edelstein concept is the gemstone - each ink corresponds to the beautiful colour of a gem. The Edelstein line of inks is presented in 50 ml high-value bottles, that are truly beautiful, and worthy of a place on your desk. In this review the spotlight is on Moonstone, the Edelstein Ink of the Year 2020. This is a limited edition ink, that could be gone in the near future, although it's not unheard of for Pelikan to change its mind. Moonstone is a light cool grey with some complexity to it. There is a definite yellow tinge in the undertones, that can come to the surface as a sheen at places where the ink is really saturated. Before diving into this review, be sure to have a look at Lgsoltek's entry that really shows of the ink when using wet pens and broader nibs. In the text below the ink is shown mostly with fine/medium nibs. Moonstone is a very nice grey, but be aware that it is on the light side. When used with dry pens like the Lamy Safari, ink flow is not so good. You get a low-saturated line (almost pencil-like), and writing is not really pleasant with sub-par lubrication. As such, I didn't use my standard Safari test pens for this review, but switched to wetter pens that do more justice to this ink. With wet pens, the flow problem is solved, and you get a nicely saturated line and a really beautiful cool grey colour. The chromatography shows the inherent complexity of this grey, with the yellow undertones and even a hint of blue/purple. The lower part clearly shows that this ink is quite water-proof - the dyes attach very well to the paper. With wet pens, this Edelstein ink is a pleasure to write with. The ink certainly prefers broader nibs - with fine nibs it becomes a bit to unsaturated. My guess is that you should really stay away from the extra-fine nibs - saturation will not be good, and the result will be more like a H pencil. Shading is extremely strong - even a bit too excessive for my personal taste. It's present with all nib sizes, but really pronounced starting at M and above. I'm not a fan of hard shading, so this lowers the attraction of Moonstone for me - but that's of course a personal opinion. To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of a scrap of Tomoe River paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. Moonstone has a very broad saturation span, going from a wispy barely visible hazy grey to a much more saturated dark grey. This broad saturation span explains the harsh shading you get with this ink. Technically, the ink has issues with flow in dry pens like the Lamy Safari. You really need wet pens and broader nibs to bring out the best from this ink. With the right pen/nib combination, you get a well-behaved ink with good saturation, and good contrast with the paper. Also heavy shading, which in my opinion is a tad too harsh. Moonstone copes well with a wide variety of paper - it even works well with Moleskine paper: no visible feathering, and only a bit of bleed-through. This is an ink that can tolerate even crappy copier paper at the office. This grey ink looks equally good on both white and more yellow paper. No complaints! Another big plus for the office environment: this ink is what I would call waterproof. No smudging, and the text remains very readable even after prolonged contact with water. For more detail, see the water test at the end of this review. I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturationAn ink scribble made with a Pelikan M400 with F cursive-italic nibThe name of the paper used, written with a B-nib Platinum 3776 CenturyA small text sample, written with the Pelikan M400 with Fci nibOrigin of the quote, written with a Yard-o-Led with F nibDrying times of the ink on the paper (with the F-nib Yard-o-Led) Writing with different nib sizesThe picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Because Moonstone is no good match for my usual Safari test pens, I added a collection of wetter pens with different nib sizes. The top portion is written with the Lamy Safari. As you can see, the ink becomes very light, with an almost pencil-like quality. With the finer Lamy nibs, flow was not good, and the writing felt scratchy and badly lubricated. With the broader Lamy nibs, flow improved, but saturation remains low. The bottom portion shows a variety of wetter pens. With these pens, Moonstone wrote perfectly and the colour of the ink looks much more saturated – a vast improvement! My recommendation: use Moonstone with wet pens and broader nibs. Related inksTo show off related inks, I use my nine-grid format, with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact form. This allows you to easily compare the ink with its eight direct neighbours, which I hope will be useful to you. Moonstone looks really similar to a number of other cool greys. Given some of its technical shortcomings, that is a good thing. It's not too hard to find a reasonably close substitute that can handle a broader variety of pens. Inkxperiment – the heart of the mountainI've put myself a challenge to try to produce interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing. For me this is an incredibly fun extension of the hobby, that continuously challenges my drawing skills. From the saturation swab with its broad range, I already expected this to be a great drawing ink. This time, inspiration for the inkxperiment comes from Tolkien's "The Hobbit". I recently watched Peter Jackson's adaptation again: his movie trilogy is a really good interpretation of the book (and I even liked the little artistic extension with the romance between elf and dwarf ;-). The "Heart of the Mountain" refers to the Arkenstone, hidden in the dwarven halls beneath the Lonely Mountain, and jealously guarded by Smaug. I started with a piece of HP photo paper, on which I painted the background using a kitchen sponge and water-diluted ink. I then added the hexagonal rock structures in the foreground with my fountain pen, and shaded them with a felt-tip pen lightly dipped in Moonstone. I then added Smaug, and painted in the background with a Q-tip dipped in a number of water/ink mixtures. Finally I added some finishing touches to the background with an M-nibbed Lamy Safari. As usual, my drawing of real-life subjects is on the level of a 5-year old... no matter, I now call this my naïve explorative style that interprets real-world complexity using basic forms ;-) The resulting drawing shows what can be achieved with Moonstone in an artistic context. As you can see, this Edelstein ink is a real pleasure to draw with. It can handle a very broad tonal range, making it a really nice sketching ink. ConclusionThis Edelstein ink of the year 2020 has a lot going for it: a nice light-grey with some complexity in its undertones and (a bit too heavy) shading. It can also handle a broad variety of paper and is waterproof, making it an excellent choice for the office. The only downside: not an ink for dry pens. You should definitely reserve it for wet pens and broader nibs. With the right pen/nib combination, Moonstone is an ink that I really enjoyed playing with. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types





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