Writing with fire: A short review of Pelikan Edelstein Amber ink

I used to write with fire… no really I did! My first career was that of an analytical chemist. On occasion in college we would write with fire, technically we were looking at the thermal decomposition properties of nitrates, but fire-writing sounds so much more cool doesn’t it. It involved taking a saturated sodium nitrate solution (which is an oxidising agent and an irritant so don’t try this at home) writing with it on a filter paper, drying it thoroughly and then setting the start of the message on fire and watch the results. The effect at times was startling the fiery writing looked great… I was reminded of this when using the ink I’m reviewing today. This is Pelikan Edelstein Amber ink, which was their ‘limited edition’ ink of the year, and was recently added to the existing Edelstein range of premium inks.

Presentation: From the box to the bottle Pelikan have done a great job of presenting this series of ink. Starting at the beginning the outer cardboard box is well made from  sturdy cardboard stock and has a metallic grey sheen to it. The front panel is nicely detailed  with silver embossed writing of the Edelstein brand with its characteristic gemstone over the ‘i’ (Edelstein being the German term for gemstone). It also has an angular cut out facet on the right side that is coloured to correspond to the shade of the ink inside. Opening the box reveals an inner sleeve, the top of the cap as well as a pair of styrofoam pads that rest on the “shoulders” of the bottle to help keep it secure in the box.

The bottle itself is nicely done.  The cap is broad and reasonably heavy,  in fact I think it is the best made and detailed cap I’ve seen on an ink bottle. The body of the bottle itself is basically rectangular in shape with all four sides being slightly concave and the corners well-rounded, all of this makes using the bottle a very tactile experience. The front of the bottle is nicely monogrammed. The full bottle with cap weighs in at 251g.

On Test: As you would expect with a premium ink there were no surprises on test. The ink behaved extremely well and was a pleasure to use. The drying time on my stock Rhodia dot grid test paper came in acceptably between twenty and thirty seconds using a quite wet vintage nib. In terms of shading there is lovely variation to be seen using this ink, perhaps slightly less than say that of Noodler’s Apache Sunset but very pleasing to the eye nonetheless.

Summary: When a shade of ink works it s a great pleasure to use. This is such an ink. The colour is excellent. It’s not too orange, or too muddy, the manufacturers have really hit the ‘Goldilocks zone’ – it’s just right!  It is a lovely complex amber ink that really pops on white paper, a real letter writing ink, it’s one that I’ll definitely be using for the foreseeable future.



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