One of my favorite black inks is Stipula Calamo Ebony Black, which is a lighter black with nice shading.
Lately I’ve been testing Seitz-Kreuznach Panthers Black for a forthcoming review, and very early on it started to remind me of Stipula Ebony Black. I had previously noticed similarities between Seitz-Kreuznach Panthers Black and Montblanc Mystery Black. So I wondered if perhaps all three black inks had something in common.
All three are lighter in color and easy to clean, and all three have shading, which is unusual for a black ink. Here are swabs of the three inks.
For what it’s worth, my bottles of Stipula ink say “made in Italy,” whereas Seitz-Kreuznach and Montblanc bottled inks are labeled made in Austria.
Here is paper towel chromatography of the three black inks. From left to right are Montblanc Mystery Black, Seitz-Kreuznach Panthers Black and Stipula Ebony Black.
Then I looked at swabs of Seitz-Kreuznach Pacific Blue and Stipula Calamo Deep Blue.
Here is paper towel chromatography of Seitz-Kreuznach Pacific Blue on the left and Stipula Calamo Deep Blue on the right.
Moving on to the red inks, Seitz-Kreuznach Tomato Red and the similar Monteverde Red appear to have some resemblance to Stipula Dark Red Borgogna. All three are pinkish reds, although the Stipula doesn’t necessarily look like a perfect match. Here are the swabs.
Here is chromatography of the reds. From left to right are Monteverde Red, Seitz-Kreuznach Tomato Red and Stipula Dark Red Borgogna.
Then I dug out my browns. If you read the previous post, Monteverde Brown looks very similar to Seitz-Kreuznach Chestnut Brown, and that pair had some commonalities with Montblanc Toffee Brown.
To look at some more brown inks, here are swabs of Caran d’Ache Organic Brown and Stipula Sepia compared to the Monteverde and Seitz-Kreuznach browns.
Here are chromas of those browns. From left to right is Caran d’Ache Organic Brown, Monteverde Brown, Seitz-Kreuznach Chestnut Brown and Stipula Sepia. I think the dyes used in Caran d’Ache Organic Brown seem close to those in the Monteverde and Seitz-Kreuznach inks. The Stipula has some resemblance to the others, but also differences.
So occasional similarities seem to occasionally pop up among some inks from some European companies. And the same dyes seem to pop up frequently, too. The inks I’m talking about don’t come from companies like J. Herbin or Pelikan, for which making ink is a core part of their business, but from companies for which ink is an adjunct or related product.
However, I haven’t found all that many inks that seem to be identical. One could argue about some of these forever. But I won’t. Angels on the head of a pin. There is batch variation even from the same brand, after all. Not to mention that inks have more ingredients than just dye.
But what seems more significant to me isn’t finding the occasional similarity in color. These inks also share the good behavior and high quality of their more well-known counterparts. That is what is more important to me as an ink buyer. I think it’s a great argument for looking behind the brand and trying some of the less well-known inks that are out there.