They say that the secret to human longevity is just to keep breathing… In fact the older I get the more I think longevity is generally a good thing, for often things do improve with age (although I’m not sure that’s true for everyone that I know.)
Recently the Liverpool based British ink manufacturer Diamine celebrated their own longevity. To do this they have released a series of inks to celebrate their 150th anniversary (1864 -2014). You can read about their history here. As this is a discrete series apart from their standard range I wanted to look briefly at this set of inks as a whole before doing some in-depth reviews on them individually. So here goes…
Diamine have departed from their normal presentation by revamping both the boxes and the bottles used to present this series. Standard Diamine boxes are… well… monochrome at best, the boxes for this series are of similar functional quality but push the boat out somewhat in terms of colour and design. They do not come in a singular presentation box as some series of Diamine inks have done in the past, which is somewhat freeing if you don’t want to buy the whole set. Having said that the wedge-shaped bottles do cry out to be huddled together on a desk. The bottles are smaller than normal, holding 40ml instead of the standard 80ml, and it should be noted that these inks are more expensive than the standard Diamine ink range. The bottles are labelled nicely with a prominent “celebrating 150 years Diamine” design on the label
The palette: At first I wasn’t sure what to think about the overall spread of these colours, “too many blues” came to mind and indeed the blues do predominate, there being three of them. In fact blue through green take up five of the eight shades. Thankfully the others are different enough to fairly compensate, although to my mind a purple wouldn’t have gone amiss rather than the three blues. I’m unclear as to how these particular inks were chosen and if any have a particular relevance to any period of Diamine’s history.
The inks: Here are my first thoughts on each of the individual inks, obviously I’m not going to give away too much as I’ll review each ink individually over the next few weeks.
I864 Blue Black – a classic shade of blue-black, always handy to have but up against some stiff competition in a crowded market these days.
Regency Blue – as its name suggests a deep, refined almost muted shade that harks back to bygone days.
Blue Velvet – in my humble opinion the shooting star of the blue shades. It bounces off the paper, has real intensity and power.
Tropical Green – a lush shade of green, nice enough on the eye but perhaps one of the also rans in this particular collection.
Safari – this unique green/olive shade dries a shade lighter than expected. Darker and smokier than say R&K Alt Goldgrun, I like this colour.
Terracotta – a rather intriguing dusky orange with some hints of variation in shading. I’ll be looking forward to reviewing this one for sure.
Carnival – another star of the show for me. A fun, intriguing shade this time, it appears to dry a shade darker to a richer red than at first glance.
Silver Fox – A cultured silver-grey, it reminds me very much of Pilot Iroshizuku ‘Kiri Same’. Very easy on the eye.
Summary: Obviously each ink will need a particular review to fully weigh up their individual characteristics. For me there are some obvious stars in this series alongside one or perhaps two weaker shades. But then again these things are always in the eye of the beholder. The good thing with Diamine is that you are served with a series of inks that will be reliable, look good and will be pleasing to collect and present to the world, and let us not forget the price for all eight will probably cost less than two premium priced inks from certain other series. I hope you enjoy the pictures in the gallery, feel free to tell me what you think!