We often get the question, “What is the best black ink you have to offer?” It's natural that our customers will want the best quality that their money can buy. When it comes to writing instruments, refills, and inks - you can trust our 15+ years of expertise.
First, let's define “best.” No black inks are identical no matter how alike they may seem. There are so many factors to consider, such as its undertone, water resistance, shimmer, and sheen. All of this can be intimidating to first time ink buyers. Even seasoned pen enthusiasts might get a little lost in the selection. Don't worry - we've got you covered! In this blog, we’ll cover all the basics of bottled fountain pen ink, and we’ll share 7 of our all-time favorite black inks.
Before we get started, I'll be clear - all of our assessments and images are based on our own findings. All ink properties may vary according to the type of paper, type of pen, lighting, type of ink used, and other variables. To complete the ink swatched, we used Rhodia Staplebound Dot Grid Paper and a Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in various nib sizes. Assessments of ink can also be very subjective, so while we have tried to be as objective as possible to create a helpful guide, there is really no substitute to trying out the ink on your own.
In case you're new to the world of fountain pen inks, here's a few key vocabulary words to consider when discussing ink colors.
Undertone: The undertone of black fountain ink may be hard to pick up on, depending on the paper used during your writing. Undertone begins to appear after your ink has dried completely. You may start to notice a slight purple or maybe even a green tone in your writing, though it will be more subtle with black ink.
Water Resistance: Imagine you just finished the first draft of a brilliant, handwritten script. This award-winning story will definitely get published. In your late-night grogginess, your elbow accidentally knocks into a glass of water, spilling all over your freshly-written pages. With most dye-based fountain pen inks, water will lift the color off the page and cause the lines to smudge and feather on the paper. Water resistant ink, while might not completely prevent bleeding, will ensure that you don’t lose the words you’ve put to page. Levels of water resistance exist on a spectrum and vary based on type of ink, the type of paper, and amount of water exposure. Generally, black inks are known to be more water resistant, with some types characterized as indelible and fraud-resistant.
Shimmer: The easiest way to make a plain black ink stand out is to add some shine. A shimmer ink consists of fun and festive reflective particles ingrained into its formula. These sparkles reflect light and glisten in different hues, depending on the color of the glitter in the ink. Before you fill a fountain pen with shimmer ink, make sure to shake the bottle to properly distribute the shimmer particles throughout the liquid suspension.
Sheen: Sheen comes in many different tones. It adds a subtle but fascinating look to an otherwise simple black ink. The highly-saturated ink reflects light in colored tones to catch your eye. Sheen is most noticeable after your writing is dry and is especially visible in areas with more volume of ink.
So, now that we understand the basic terminology, let's dive into the darkness of our 7 favorite black fountain pen inks.