Ink Dips: Pelikan Edelstein Onyx

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx writing sample

I’ve never used Pelikan Edelstein Onyx, and I didn’t buy this sample. Someone must have given me a leftover, which I would have deposited in my Box of Miscellaneous Samples because I already have favorite black inks and didn’t need to try another.

But when I pulled out Pelikan Edelstein Onyx as the second Ink Dip, I figured it would be a good, if unexciting ink, that would be low-maintenance and could work in any pen. And I knew just what pen to use: my Parker 75 in sterling silver ciselé with a fine nib. I love my 75, but it can be hard to find a good ink match, because my 75 is a dry, even stingy, writer. You can see that if you look at writing samples of the 75 with Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue, here, and with Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black here.

So how did Pelikan Edelstein Onyx do? Wonderfully. Yes, it’s just a  normal black ink, but it is so smooth and lubricated that my dry 75 nib glides across the page. Writing with this ink feels luxurious, and it turns using a dry pen into a complete pleasure.

Here is a writing sample on Rhodia paper. Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan.

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx writing sample

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx behaves beautifully, in all the ways I could discover in an Ink Dip. It resists feathering like a champ on poor papers. The ink’s flow is wet but not gushing, and lubrication is divine. Startup has been immediate, every time. But the ink dries fairly quickly in this pen on Tomoe River paper, which makes it a good ink for a Hobonichi planner or my Nanami Writer journal.

Onyx does seem to write a wider line than most inks in the 75, which may be an issue to check if you need a very narrow line.

Onyx is not competing to be the darkest black ink. Even bearing in mind that my 75 pen is very dry, Onyx seems to be a lighter black ink. But as a result, you get shading. Here’s a writing sample on Tomoe River paper.

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx writing sample

A lighter black ink with shading is my kind of black ink. I find that more interesting. But if your ideal is a very dark black, you might prefer something else.

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx reminded me, in color and behavior, of Pelikan’s standard Brilliant Black ink. Brilliant Black, from Pelikan’s regular 4001 ink line, is my everyday black ink. The two stablemates have similar color and similar suitability for poor papers.

The two Pelikan black inks also have similar water resistance, enough for me to use either on envelopes. Here are the two after being soaked in water, first on absorbent regular paper and then coated fountain-pen friendly paper, which is a tougher hurdle.

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx water resistance

The biggest difference between the two Pelikan black inks is in pen feel, and that’s where Pelikan Edelstein Onyx pulls away. Much as I love Brilliant Black, it’s not as smooth and lubricated as Edelstein Onyx. For me, that makes Pelikan Edelstein Onyx very tempting.

The only issue for me is price. Because we in the US get hosed on Pelikan prices, Edelstein ink line is quite expensive here. A quick check shows that a 50 ml bottle of Pelikan Edelstein Onyx runs anywhere from $20 (plus shipping) to $30 (including shipping) online in the US. Whereas the 62.5 ml bottle of Pelikan Brilliant Black starts at $13.

Our friends outside the US enjoy lower prices on Pelikan, so the equation will be different for them. But in the US, we have to pay a large premium for a smaller bottle of Pelikan Edelstein ink, and that’s not trivial to me, even though I am a self-confessed ink splurger. There are excellent black ink alternatives that are similar in color and behavior but cost much less than Edelstein Onyx in the US. One being Pelikan Brilliant Black. There’s also Seitz-Kreuznach Panthers Black, a bargain-price ink that in my tests in 2015 was the absolute equivalent to Montblanc Mystery Black or Stipula Ebony Black.

On the other hand, if you want to buy the ink anyway, you could just think of the price difference as a few Starbucks lattes. Or, you could trot out my favorite line, which works for every brand of ink but one: “It’s cheaper than Bung Box.” Actually, that works for a lot of pens, too.

My bottom line on Pelikan Edelstein Onyx is that it comes down to your bottom line. It is a very nice black ink, and it really improves the writing experience of my Parker 75. Pelikan Edelstein Onyx is splurge-worthy, if you can do that, and if this is where you want to splurge.

5 thoughts on “Ink Dips: Pelikan Edelstein Onyx

  1. I adore the look of that pen. Did you try to adjust the wetness of the nib? As far as black ink, I’ve never tried the ones you’ve mentioned here. I have tried Sailor-Kiwa guro, Aurora Black, and J.Herbin Perle Noire. I did love all 3 of them, for a black ink.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. I do, too! I just love this pen, and this ink makes it as great to use as it looks.

      2. No, I never tried to adjust the nib. I just use wetter inks for drier pens.

      3. I have all three of those black inks, too! Perle Noire is my favorite, by a hair, because it’s a bit more lubricated than Aurora Black, but I love both. Those are darker blacks, with great flow, which have been very safe for me. Pelikan Brilliant Black became my go-to because it’s a bit cheaper and works well, and I just refill over and over, rather than switch out to another black ink. 🙂

      Sailor Kiwa-Guro is a pigmented ink, as is the blue Sailor Sei-Boku; I do really like the look of both those inks, as well as Platinum’s pigmented black ink. But I don’t use it much: I now only use pigmented inks in cartridges and in less-expensive pens, because for me they’ve been higher maintenance.


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