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  1. Purchasers of the popular Italix pens from Mr. Pen in the United Kingdom receive an instruction sheet that recommends the use of Diamine ink. They may not realize that the company also offers a custom Diamine blue ink blend. The ink, Radiant Blue, recently accompanied my purchase of an Italix Churchman's Prescriptor. The ink is a cerulean blue, lighter than both Waterman Inspired Blue and Chesterfield Antique Oxford (itself supposedly a version of Diamine Majestic Blue). The founder of Mr. Pen, Peter Ford, describes the ink as the result of adding four drops of a special ingredient to a Diamine blue ink. This ingredient is a mystery, but a good guess on the base ink is Washable Blue or Royal Blue. His description suggests Radiant Blue was a Diamine color from a couple of decades ago. As a supporter of attempts to recreate legendary ink colors, and as an enthusiastic fan of Mr. Ford's ability to imbue stationery products with uniquely English names and characteristics, I tried it. The ink offers a great deal of shading and a solid, business-like, not-too-flashy professional presence, with well-behaved flow and cleaning characteristics, though with perhaps a touch of showthrough to the other side of a sheet of Rhodia 80 gsm notebook paper. No observable sheen. Written with an Italix medium nib, the ink dries completely after about 20 seconds on this paper. If you like blue ink and enjoy the idea of English ink in an English pen, it may be worth ordering Radiant Blue along with your next writing instrument from Mr. Pen. I forgot to complete the water-resistance test in the accompanying photographs; if you're interested, the ink is not waterproof.

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