Ink Review: Bung Box First Love Sapphire

Bung Box First Love Sapphire ink

A friend of mine kindly gave me a sample of Bung Box First Love Sapphire, and I’ve been using it in an Aurora Optima with fine nib as well as in a Kaweco Sport with Kaweco’s 1.1 mm calligraphy nib.

Those are sort of pen opposites: the Optima has a very thin fine nib, and the Kaweco nib is wetter and much wider.  However, the ink color remained consistent.

I thought Bung Box First Love Sapphire had fantastic writing behavior.  It was so nicely lubricated it felt silky smooth.  It started up perfectly.  The ink is on the wetter side, but dried in a normal amount of time.  I didn’t see showthrough or bleedthrough on any paper, and the ink resisted feathering beautifully even with the stub nib.

I am not surprised by its good behavior: Bung Box inks are made by Sailor, and Sailor makes good inks in my experience.

I liked Sapphire’s look and color very much, even in the narrow Aurora nib.  It was easy to read, held a narrow line and had a very nice vivacity.  It shaded only moderately. It seems appropriate for business or personal writing.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire writing sample

The wide nib really shows off the color of Bung Box First Love Sapphire.  It’s a lovely standard blue ink, which is cheerful and bright without being eye-searing.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire ink writing sample

These first two writing samples are on Rhodia.

I also loved Bung Box First Love Sapphire on Tomoe River.  I was hoping to see some sheen, and I had high hopes, but I really didn’t find it with the two pens I used. No worries, though. The color is beautiful.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire writing sample

Here’s more of the same.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire writing sample

I always like to test an ink on lower quality paper, too, and my go-to is Staples Sustainable Earth.  Bung Box First Love Sapphire did very well on Sustainable Earth, although the color was a bit flatter because the paper is more absorbent.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire writing sample

Here’s a closer view on Sustainable Earth.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire writing sample

Bung Box First Love Sapphire has some water resistance, certainly on regular paper.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire water resistance

The only note of caution that I’ll sound is that it was not a low maintenance ink to clean out of a pen for me.  Because I am a worrier, I emptied it from my Aurora Optima after only three days.  I still ended up needing to use an ammonia-based pen flush, because plain water wasn’t doing the job.  But that worked fine.

That’s because Bung Box First Love Sapphire is a saturated ink.  Like most saturated inks I’ll be more careful with this one in some pens.  I won’t leave it for weeks in a pen that can’t be disassembled or might stain.  But I’m not worried about how long I keep it in the Kaweco Sport, since I’m using a converter in that pen.

I don’t have any ink absolutely identical to First Love Sapphire in color, but I find it close to several other medium blue inks that I consider vivacious and fun.

But first a contrast: here is the Bung Box next to the standard blue ink Waterman Serenity Blue.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire ink comparison

And here it is next to some inks that I find more similar.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire ink comparisons

I’ve talked about Diamine Blue Velvet here, and I’ve reviewed KWZ Azure #3 here. Unfortunately, Sailor Jentle Sky High is not available right now, but Sailor has been known to bring back inks, so don’t give up hope.

These four inks vary in hue, of course, but the main distinction for someone choosing among them is that Diamine Blue Velvet is the brightest and most vivid. It’s a firework. KWZ Azure #3 and Bung Box First Love Sapphire are just as attractive, but give a mellower impression.

I guess I should add that there’s also a price and availability issue that would impact one’s choice of ink.  Bung Box inks are made in much smaller quantities, and are harder to find.  As a result, they cost at least $40 per bottle.  KWZ and Diamine cost significantly less.

Here is paper towel chromatography of Bung Box First Love Sapphire.

Bung Box First Love Sapphire ink chromatography

Well that was so fun.  Thanks to a lovely friend, I used my first Bung Box ink!

I also have a few more writing samples of Bung Box First Love Sapphire: here is one with the Aurora Optima, and here is one with the Kaweco.

4 thoughts on “Ink Review: Bung Box First Love Sapphire

  1. I think I am going to have to send you a sample of my BungBox Sapphire. It looks much darker with more of a sheen than what you have. I wonder if the formula changed with the name.

    When I compared my ink to the swatch of Omaezaki Ruri-Umi (sea), it is a closer match than First Love Sapphire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is such a fun mystery! So they changed the name at some point? And as you say maybe the formula. This one comes in the current bottle, the normal Sailor ink bottle.

      Like

      1. That’s the part that confuses me! The bottle label looks the same (can’t be 100% sure as I don’t read Chinese/Japanese Kanji!

        I was part of the first Bungbox MassDrop drop, so I got my bottle in September; the first batch in the current bottle.
        Come the new year, I started seeing “First Love (Sapphire)” being used with the statement that it is supposed to look like Scrip Sapphire from the past, but every swab I see is like yours and nothing like mine.

        Maybe we should start an “Inky Mystery” file for this type of conundrum!

        Liked by 1 person

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