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Robert Oster Signature - Grün-Schwarz


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Robert Oster Signature - Grün-Schwarz


Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for his unique range of colours. On his website he describes our shared love quite eloquently: “Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting wit great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It’s a joy to share it with you.” Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert to satiate our thirst for glorious inks.




In this review I take a closer look at Grün-Schwarz – my very first Robert Oster ink. And boy, am I impressed ! This is without question a very very interesting colour – green-black, a rather unusual combination. In swabs the green in the ink is very obvious, in writing the ink leans more towards the dark side (and I mean that in a good way, not in the sense of Darth Vader).


The ink feels very “old vintage” to me. A colour that reminds me of ages past – when gentlemen were still wearing pocket watches, cars were little miracles on wheels, and television showed silent movies in black&white. This is a great colour that is sure to give that little extra oomph to your writing. The ink is equeally at home with personal journaling as within a business setting. The ink is also nicely saturated, and writes very well in all nib sizes. Shading is present but subdued – just as I like it.




On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – Grün-Schwarz behaved acceptably. There is obvious smearing, but the text remains very legible. Water resistance is totally non-existent though – even short exposures to water completely obliterate your writing. On the droplet test, all that remained where some reddish blobs. In case you’re wondering – this green-black ink has a very complex composition with some reddish dyes included in the mix. As the chromatography shows, Robert Oster really is an ink magician – from the chroma, you would never guess that it derives from a green-black ink.




I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper types – 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-tip
  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)

Grün-Schwarz behaved perfectly on most paper types, with only a hint of feathering on the Moleskine paper and the Faber-Castell paper (which both showed significant show-through and a bit of bleed-through). Drying times are mostly around the 10 second mark. The ink looks beautiful both on the white and the more yellowish paper. The ink’s appearance differs widely across the paper types – from dirty green to almost black. In my opinion, it looks really nice on Tomoe River (very green) and on Original Crown Mill cotton paper (almost black). I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order.










Robert Oster Grün-Schwarz has a very unusual colour with a strong vintage feel to it. It’s a nice wet and saturated ink, with good contrast on all types of paper. I immediately fell in love with the colour of this ink – a pity though about the total lack of water resistance. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the ink immensely, and will definitely try more of Robert’s creations.


Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib







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Thanks for the review. Not my cup of tea (I prefer greens with more yellow in them). But the chromatography is very interesting.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Thanks for the thorough review.

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

- Jack London


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