Comparing Parker Penman Sapphire and Bung Box (First Love) Sapphire

Parker Penman Sapphire compared to Bungbox First Love Sapphire

There are the two inks on Clairefontaine Triomphe paper.

And here are the two inks on Tomoe River paper.

Parker Penman Sapphire compared to Bungbox First Love Sapphire

Parker Penman Sapphire is an ink that sheens a lot on Tomoe River paper, as you can see, and that’s another thing that sets PPS apart from Bung Box First Love Sapphire, especially in these pens.

There’s one very important thing about the color-balancing of these last two photos: you’ll notice a pronounced blue tint. That’s because Bung Box First Love Sapphire is very tricky to put across correctly in digital photos, and I had to accentuate the blue in some of my photos to make the Bung Box ink look like it does in real life.

That means PPS was darkened as well: PPS looks a bit lighter and less saturated in person than it does in the two photos just above this. But the comparison is accurate, and that’s what I was after.

Here are the inks at an angle, on Clairefontaine.

Parker Penman Sapphire compared to Bungbox First Love Sapphire

And on Tomoe River paper.

Parker Penman Sapphire compared to Bungbox First Love Sapphire

Now, I enjoy Bung Box First Love Sapphire. To me it’s a very sprightly and pleasant medium blue ink. It reminds me of Diamine Blue Velvet and KWZ Azure #3. I just don’t find, in the pens I’ve used, that Bung Box First Love Sapphire reminds me of Parker Penman Sapphire. The difference in hue is consistent for me no matter what paper I use.

But of course nothing is categorical in the pen and ink world. There is always pen choice to consider.

To wit, PPS is a wet ink — wetter than the Bung Box ink. I’m using both inks in the same pen here. If instead you put PPS into a very dry pen, and Bung Box First Love Sapphire into a very wet pen, the Bung Box might darken. And the difference might narrow.

In addition, because I have used both inks before, I know that PPS can look lighter in a broader nib. Here is PPS in a Kaweco Classic Sport with 1.1 mm calligraphy nib. I’ve used Bung Box First Love Sapphire with that same pen, and I couldn’t say that pen makes First Love Sapphire look identical to PPS, but they get closer.

Certainly different papers might affect the ink color as well.

So all of those factors certainly can come into play, and they could make Bung Box First Love Sapphire look more like PPS in certain situations. Not that the Bung Box ink needs that. Both are great-looking inks on their own terms.

10 thoughts on “Comparing Parker Penman Sapphire and Bung Box (First Love) Sapphire

  1. My Souter is close enough to Sky High for me, so I don’t worry about the difference. PPS isn’t like any other ink I have, but I really like Blue Velvet so I would be happy to use that if I ran out of PPS or Souten. They are similar enough that I don’t mind too much. I have never managed to try a sample of BB Sapphire. 😦

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  2. Wow, I’m glad I commented. Thanks so much for clearing that up for me! I have always wanted to try Sky High. I read Souten was close, but maybe not close enough. I just may try Souten in the future, to see what I think. But I am going to get Blue Velvet for sure. I am just coming out of the burned out on blue, and black phase. I tried Asa Blue (color is very nice, & so well behaved it isn’t funny), and Blue Velvet (gorgeous). They both made me happy. The Blue Velvet color though is divine. My Inkymyn Sapphire could of been off a little. I did get a purply sample of the Noodler’s La Couleur Royal. The Navajo Turquoise sample was given to me. I decided I liked the Blue Velvet better, after comparing them. I would love to have the Bung Box “First Love Sapphire”, but the price is the only sticking point.

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  3. Both are lovely. I am a bit confused on Bung Box Sapphire vs. Bung Box First Love Sapphire. I am gonna have to go with the Blue Velvet due to price though. Recently I made up a tiny batch of Noodler’s Inkymyn Sapphire. (from two sample bottles, and the tiniest mix possible) It was prettiest on Tomoe River paper, but not fantastic on other paper. I tried a Blue Velvet sample and decided that was the best for me, price-wise. I do love these comparisons though, and I really get a kick out of shading, especially with a little sheen.

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    1. Re the Bung Box ink, those are just two names for supposedly the same ink by Bung Box. On the bottle I saw, the full name was written as First Love Sapphire, but that’s so long a lot of us just shorten it to Sapphire. πŸ™‚ There’s also a Japanese name that one friend uses for BBFLS and that’s Hatsukoi. But all three names refer to the same Bung Box ink.

      Although I should say I got the above information from a retailer, who also told me Bung Box has not changed the formula since it first came out. Naimitsu thinks maybe the formula did change, so that could be, too. But the First Love Sapphire you can buy is the one I have been using — it’s from this year’s LA pen show.

      I am so over my ink budget that Bung Box is not in play for me, either. But Diamine Blue Velvet is a great ink, too, and a great choice. Similar to Blue Velvet and possibly even cheaper are KWZ Azure #3 and Sailor Souten. (You can get samples of those at Vanness, I believe.) I did a review of the KWZ Azure #3 and really liked it. Souten is another great ink, very similar to Sailor Sky High. But Blue Velvet is no slouch. πŸ™‚


    1. Your eyes are fine! This sample is from a Chicago friend’s bottle; that’s the only BB First Love Sapphire I’ve ever had. Different pens or paper could explain a lot, too. Remember how Tokiwa-Matsu gives crazy sheen, but only sometimes? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point… I’ll try to remember to send you a sample of mine. It looks like when they added “First Love” to the title, they lightened the color. The new Omeazaki Sea looks closer to my Sapphire. I want to say I purchased OS the last time I bought a batch, so I’ll try to do a side-by-side.

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