First Look: Diamine Shimmering Inks

I used the inks in clear Kaweco Classic Sports, which I filled as eye droppers. I chose that because it’s a nice wet-writing pen, especially with nibs that are as broads or 1.1 mm stubs, like I used.

I’ll post a closeup of each ink. These aren’t glamor shots. And that’s on purpose. With a newer ink, that’s usually what you see online, especially from retailers. Those gorgeous, dramatic shots look nicer. But I just want to show what the ink looks like when you write with it in fountain pens.

Diamine Blue Flame writing sample

That’s Blue Flame, which is blue with gold shimmer. I liked this one. Not super shimmery for me, but a very nice blue.

Some background on these inks. Diamine released 10 shimmering inks last year. This year, Diamine added 12 more. Last year I reviewed the original ten shimmer inks, which you can find, if you’re interested, by clicking below this post on the tag “Diamine Shimmer inks.” I liked those.

Diamine now has renamed the entire line “Shimmering” instead of the original “Shimmertastic.” Diamine also has tweaked the inks’ formula, and this reportedly applies to all 22 Shimmering inks, even the originals. The Shimmering inks now are wetter-writing. This came in response to complaints from people who noted that the original shimmer inks weren’t good in dry-writing pens like Lamy Safaris. (Which they weren’t. Like many inks, they needed a wetter pen to be at their best.)

I’ve tried only four of the new Shimmering set, because those were the only colors I was interested in. And they are fine, but I’m not swooning. While the flow is wetter, or maybe “slicker,” the inks also seem thinner, somehow. Their behavior isn’t perfect. And I don’t find the newer color combinations as interesting. For me there’s no magic.

That said, I’m not second-guessing Diamine’s changes. A lot of people seemed to want to use shimmer inks with their Safari-type pens. It’s very possible that people who only use Safari pens are a large percentage of potential buyers of these inks. I’m sure Diamine had its reasons.

Diamine Inferno Orange writing sample

That’s Inferno Orange. Of the four I’ve tried, I like this one the least. Though you can see the gold shimmer well, it’s otherwise an ordinary orange. And in my Kaweco with broad nib, Inferno Orange is a hard starter.

You’ll note that I didn’t use the Shimmering inks in my Lamy Safaris. I used the Shimmering inks in my Kaweco Sports because they are wetter writers and in my experience write well with any ink, especially with the broader nibs. I eye-droppered the Kaweco Sports, and that usually makes for even better ink flow in these pens.

Nonetheless, I had hard starts with two of these inks. And I don’t mean once in a while; I mean every single time I started to write with them in the morning. The two inks that gave me hard starts were Inferno Orange and Firestorm Red, which I’ll show you below. But the other two inks always started up perfectly. While it’s very possible these new Shimmering inks aren’t a good match for Kaweco Sports, it’s harder to blame the pen, or the pen match, when two of the four inks worked perfectly.

Of the new set that I tried, my favorite was this next one, called Moon Dust, a gray ink with silver particles.

Diamine Moon Dust writing sample

Moon Dust and Blue Flame are the most appealing colors to me, they also flowed the best for me — no hard starts ever. They aren’t the shimmeriest ones, but if you hold the paper at an angle to the light, sure, you can get that look. And even without super shimmer, they are nice.

Here’s one I’m less excited about: Firestorm Red.

Diamine Firestorm Red writing sample

That’s a red with silver shimmer. There’s nothing wrong with Firestorm Red: it’s just a little conventional. I prefer Diamine Red Lustre, which is a red with gold shimmer, from the original shimmer batch. Red Lustre is more restrained and it’s odder, but it’s also more interesting to me. I’m guessing, however, that “odder and more interesting” does not sell as well as “conventional” does. Which is fair.

Of the four new ones I’ve tried, Firestorm Red and Inferno Orange regularly show the most amount of shimmer. And those are the two that didn’t start up immediately. I don’t know if that’s connected. I only know that I treated each pen and ink combination the same, and my results were different.

Here’s another interesting thing: cleanup. I’ve cleaned out three: Blue Flame, Firestorm Red and Inferno Orange, after a week or so in the pen. All three took longer to clean than usual. Whatever makes these inks more lubricated and shimmery seemed also to make the inks, and the shimmery particles, want to linger inside the plastic pen body. These inks seemed more clingy than my inks usually are. I put it down to the lubricant.

Now, it wasn’t a big deal: there was no staining at all. I merely  had to use pen flush and pipe cleaners to clean the leftover ink bits from the pen body. If the ink had been in a converter pen instead, I’d have just used pen flush. But I’ll count on needing to use pen flush, going forward. I’d classify these three inks as moderate maintenance inks. And I would choose a pen with that in mind.

But really, for me, these are probably more special purpose inks. Even the two I liked, Moon Dust and Blue Flame, lack that undefinable special quality that made some of the earlier Diamine or J. Herbin shimmer inks so captivating. With some of those other inks, I’d think, “this is such a nice ink, I wonder if I can justify buying it.” With these four, instead I think, “if I ever needed a shimmer ink in this color for some special purpose, this would work.”

5 thoughts on “First Look: Diamine Shimmering Inks

  1. You could possibly blame me for Moondust. This was first sent to me to test as a ‘possible’ shimmer ink. I loved it, but maybe others didn’t, so, sadly it didn’t make the first final 10. I had the last bit of what Diamine had mixed, just because I liked it. Now Diamine have officially added it to the range in the second batch. Mine must be the earliest incarnation, ‘less wet’ or possibly ‘thinner’. However, I still like it as a silver ink. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The part about them being inks for a special occasion really put these ink into perspective for me. I have been itching to try a couple of them, but what was holding me back- were they inks I would use in an every day kind of way. So for the time being, I will pass on purchasing any bottles and pick up a sample or two for fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Samples are a great way to enjoy these. FWIW, my favorite J. Herbin 1670s are Caroube de Chypre (quieter) and Emerald of Chivor (spectacular). In the Diamine line, I adored Blue Pearl, and I really liked a lot of the others from the first Shimmering batch, including Golden Sands, Shimmering Seas and Night Sky. I haven’t tried them since they’ve been made more lubricated, however.

      I write a lot for work, but with the work I do, the special shimmer quality is entirely wasted. But they work well in letter writing. And I bet they would really jazz up a grocery or to-do list. 🙂


  3. Excellent review. From your pictures it didn’t look like the inks shade very well. They are pretty as you say…but I doubt if I buy one in the future. The only glittery ink I have still is Emerald of Chivor. I adore that ink on Tomoe River paper. I did really like Brandy Dazzle from Diamine though. But I found I liked other inks a little better.

    Liked by 1 person

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