Monday, October 29, 2018

Fountain Pen Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Olivine

As a regular fountain pen user and collector, I join hundreds of enthusiasts from around the world in our watch not only for new pens but also for new fountain pen ink colors. I eagerly wait for announcements of special edition pens, limited edition inks, new notebooks, and their ETAs to the far east where I live.

This year, Pelikan of Germany has added a new color to their Edelstein ink series. Edelstein Olivine is Pelikan's Ink of the Year for 2018, the seventh ink to be named such. Ink of Year colors includes Turmaline, Amber, Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, and Smoky Quartz. The Edelstein ink collection also includes eight more colors: Onyx, Tanzanite, Sapphire, Topaz, Jade, Aventurine, Mandarin, and Ruby. Olivine, as well as the other Edelstein Ink of the Year colors, are limited and available for the current year only, and I'm so happy that has kindly sent a bottle for this review.

Pelikan has a wide collection of fountain inks from its three series: 4001 inks, Fount India, and Edelstein. Edelstein is the German and Norwegian word for "gemstones". These higher-end inks from Pelikan correspond to the beautiful colors of gemstones and contain a special ingredient to ensure extra smooth writing.

Edelstein inks are presented in a unique 50 ml high-value glass flacon. The Edelstein flacon is an elegant rectangular glass bottle with a thick base and wide opening for easier ink filling. An eye candy, the flacon's design is one of a kind, and one of the most elegant ink bottles available in the market today.

Edelstein inks are presented in an elegant 50 ml glass flacon.

The Edelstein flacon has an equally elegant cap with the Pelikan logo embossed in silver. 

The flacon's wide opening makes ink filling easier, and it can accommodate bigger pens.

Olivine is a deep, dark green ink that looks more like a forest green color than olive. This color confusion bothered me for a while. Don't be surprised about the color, though. According to The Pelikan's Perch, this ink actually got its name from a gemstone with a typical olive-green color derived from traces of nickel. The mineral also takes on a reddish color, thought to be a result of iron oxidation. There it is. Edelstein Olivine got its name from a gemstone, not from olives.

A single pass/swab of Olivine. This ink is truly versatile. It can be deep and dark, but it can also be light and dramatic.

Double passes/swabs of Olivine shows a dark green ink, but also reveals a faint reddish sheen where the ink pooled before it dried.

I do not have many greens in my ink collection to compare Olivine with, but here is a side-by-side comparison with Diamine POGI, an Olive Green ink specially mixed for the Philippine market.

Pelikan Edelstein ink writing sample from a Pelikan M400 with a broad nib. It took a while to dry at 23 seconds, but ink drying times vary depending on nib wetness, paper quality, and the writer's hand stroke. Olivine could dry faster if written using a fine or medium nib.

Here is Olivine from a Bexley Intrepid with an extremely wet stub nib. It looks like a very dark green-black ink with no shading at all.

Shading is seen in most Edelstein inks but this -- like its drying time -- depends on a combination of factors: nib wetness, paper quality, and the writer's hand stroke. I tested Olivine in pens with wet broad and stub nibs. The writing samples from these nibs looked almost green-black after the ink dried. These are seen in the two photos above. However, when I tried Olivine in a wide 1.5 italic Lamy nib, shading was more obvious, and the ink color became more dramatic and meaningful.

Edelstein Olivine from a 1.5 Lamy nib on Pukka notebook paper. 

Lastly, let me add that Pelikan's packaging for their Eldestein inks is truly impressive, and possibly one of the best. The flacon has inner and outer boxes to ensure that the glass has full protection whether it's in transit or in storage. The flacon and its box both bear the ink's color, making it easy to find an ink you are looking for.

It is helpful that Pelikan includes the ink's name not only on the flacon (see images above) but also on their specific boxes. Locating inks is faster and easier with box labels.

The Edelstein flacon is first encased in an inner box, while the outer box provides additional protection.

Thick pads are added around the cap for reinforced protection. As I said, this packaging is impressive.

Olivine came out of Pelikan's 2016 social media contest which allowed fans to choose the 2018 Edelstein Ink of the Year. An entry for a dark green ink eventually won over 1,200 suggestions sent to Pelikan, which fans all over the world now enjoy. "Created and voted by Pelikan-fans for Pelikan-fans," Edelstein Olivine is a must-have ink color for anyone who loves to write with a fountain pen. This ink has a beautiful dark green color, produces excellent shading, and comes in an impressive and elegant packaging. If I were you, I'd get a bottle of Olivine now, because when it's gone, it's gone!

I received the ink in this review at no cost from, Pelikan's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines. Pelikan products including Edelstein inks are exclusively available at, a specialty store in the Philippines selling fountain pens, inks, paper products, and calligraphy supplies. has stores in Eastwood Mall, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Glorietta 4, SM Aura Premiere, SM Megamall, SM Cebu, and Ayala Mall Cebu. For their complete location/address, contact numbers, and store hours, click here.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Fountain Pen Network Philippines Hosts First Manila Fountain Pen Show

The Manila Fountain Pen Show logo was designed by graphic artist Ramil Vinarao.

The first ever Manila Fountain Pen Show is happening soon! The event, which happens at SMX Aura Meeting Room 1 on October 27, 2018 (Saturday), is the first fountain pen show in the country and I can't wait to go!

When I started using a fountain pen in 2008, I was happily writing with my Parker Vector inked with Parker Blue. Then I chanced upon a stunning and vibrant blue ink called DC Supershow Blue, which I learned to be produced by Private Reserve, an American ink manufacturer, as a Special Edition ink for the 2003 DC Fountain Pen Supershow. I was like, wait, there are fountain pen shows??? I found that yes, there are fountain pen shows, and they are BIG.

Let's move to 2018. Fountain Pen Network Philippines, the country's premier group devoted to writing instruments (fountain pens), ink, and stationery has successfully organized the first Manila Fountain Pen Show, in line with the group's mission to promote the use of fountain pens and preserve the art of the handwritten word. The one-day event will be a pen meet, a reunion, and a family gathering rolled into one.
Fountain Pen Network Philippines logo, designed by Rica Palomo-Espiritu with calligraphy 
by Lorraine Marie Nepomuceno. (Image from

Like the DC Fountain Pen Supershow, the Manila Fountain Pen Show will have an ink especially mixed for the show. Leigh Reyes calls it shading copper, which is similar to the color of the show's logo. The ink will sell for PhP550 for a 30ml bottle, and part of the proceeds will be donated to charity to help the victims of Typhoon Ompong.

Shading copper. Can't wait to try this ink! (Images by Leigh Reyes)
From Leigh: TWSBI Go 1.1 mm nib on Tomoe River paper.
Leigh's art shows the shading property of this beautiful ink.

Fountain Pen Network Philippines also produced a limited edition 10th Anniversary fountain pen, an Edison Mina in tortoiseshell acrylic, which will be available for viewing and reservation during the show. Manufactured by Brian Gray's Edison Pen Co., the pen is a cartridge/converter type, and will be available in buyer's choice of steel nib (F, M, B, 1.1 italic, and 1.4 italic). The pen is limited to 40 pieces, sold at PhP 15,000 each. This pen has been announced earlier at Fountain Pen Network Philippines. At the moment, only 10 out of the 40 pens are available for purchase.

The Fountain Pen Network Philippines Limited Edition 10th Anniversary Fountain Pen,
an Edison Mina in tortoiseshell acrylic. (Image by Brian Gray; Edison Pen Co.)
This limited edition pen is available in a variety of nibs: F, M, B, 1.1 italic, and 1.4 italic.
(Image by Brian Gray; Edison Pen Co.)
The pen's finial bears Fountain Pen Network Philippines' 10th Anniversary logo. 
(Image by Brian Gray; Edison Pen Co.)

In 2008 when I first joined Fountain Pen Network Philippines, we can only buy fountain pens and other supplies (ink, paper) from National Bookstore and at some small shops in Binondo and Sta. Cruz, Manila. Ten years later, we now have a variety of stores, online shops, and individual sellers offering more brands of fountain pens, inks, paper, and accessories. Previous Fountain Pen Day celebrations had put together sellers during the event, but the list for the Manila Fountain Pen Show is the biggest gathering of sellers I have seen in Manila. I'm so excited to go to the show knowing these sellers will be there. Here's the initial list of confirmed sellers at the Manila Fountain Pen Show (more updates when new ones are confirmed):
Bali lamb leather pen wraps and cases from PenGrafik will be available during the Manila Fountain Pen Show! (Image from PenGrafik)
These colorful and well-made penwraps from Gav N Sav will be available at the show, too!
(Image from Gav N Sav)
Watch out for these vintage Esterbrook fountain pens at Guia Bengzon's table at the show. 
(Image by Guia Bengzon)
Parker Vacumatic fountain pens to be sold at Guia Bengzon's table at the show. (Image by Guia Bengzon)

Other confirmed sellers include Guia P. Bengzon, who will sell vintage and modern fountain pens, and our favorite Victory notebooks and pads. Nibmeister Jose Reinoso, the man behind JP's Pen Spa & Nibworks will also be at the show to offer on-site service for vintage pens. JP offers resaccing and restoration, cleaning, and polishing of Vacumatics, button fillers, coin fillers, and standard lever fillers, aside from nib tuning and alignment. John Raymond Lim, who does excellent nib modification, tuning, and pen repair will also be at the show.

Aside from sellers and services available at the show, prepare for other activities during the day. There will be short lectures on fountain pens and penmanship, basic fountain pen care and maintenance, art with fountain pens, calligraphy with fountain pens, and nib polishing and grinding. A Q&A panel, paper testing bar, and an ink-mixing bar will also be available during the show! To encourage a younger audience into using fountain pens, a session on introduction to fountain pens for kids and newbies is being planned. Watch this page for more updates!

Lorraine Marie Nepomuceno lists the activities during the Manila Fountain Pen Show.

The organizers are encouraging buyers to contact sellers about specific products that they are interested to buy during the event to ensure availability. Buyers can also inquire about prices of various pen items beforehand.

The Manila Fountain Pen Show will be open to the public, and everyone who loves writing instruments and the art of writing is invited to come. The organizers waived entrance fees during the event, but raffle tickets will be sold for the benefit of Typhoon Ompong victims.

For updates, announcements, and other details about the show, check the 2018 Manila Fountain Pen Show on Facebook and Instagram. Oh, and the show's official hashtag is #MNLFountainPenShow2018. See you there!

About the 2018 Manila Fountain Pen Show logo: Ramil Vinarao, a freelance graphic artist, children’s book illustrator, and Mr. Mom created the #MNLFountainPenShow2018's official logo. Ramil took inspiration from the Jose Rizal Monument’s vertical orientation to juxtapose it against an upturned fountain pen nib. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fountain Pen Review: 2018 Special Edition Lamy AL-star Vibrant Pink

Lamy's special edition AL-star Vibrant Pink is here! When I learned last year that Lamy's 2018 AL-star would be pink, I cringed. I don't like pink. In fact, I only have three pink fountain pens: two Lamy Safaris (the first generation and the reissue), and a Kaweco Skyline. When I saw it, Vibrant Pink won. This pink fountain pen has charmed a lot of fountain pen users out there, including me. The Vibrant Pink comes as a lovely metallic pink that perfectly complements my two Lamy Safari pens.

Beginning in 2014, Lamy used compact cardboard boxes as presentation boxes for their pens, instead of the old, bulky plastic ones. Lamy released the 2018 Vibrant Pink fountain pen in a packaging similar to that of the Safari Dark Lilac and Petrol. Instead of the old gray, plastic pen box, Lamy now uses laminated cardboard boxes with the year's color theme for their special and limited edition pens.

An elastic in the felt-lined bed inside the box ensures that the pen stays in place, preventing breakage during transport. These boxes are sturdy, easy to store, and do not take up too much space. Last year's special edition AL-star and Safari pens came in similar compact boxes, too.
The 2018 Special Edition Lamy AL-star Vibrant Pink in its presentation box in matching pink color.

The AL-star Vibrant Pink pen in this review is a fountain pen, but the line also includes a ballpoint and a rollerball. For the last four years, Lamy has been coming up with special edition ink colors to match their special edition pens. This year, the AL-star Vibrant Pink fountain pen has an accompanying ink available in T52 bottles and giant ink cartridges that fit most Lamy fountain pens. An ink-x eraser in the same color is also available.

Lamy's recent special edition AL-star pens (Bluegreen, Copper Orange, Charged Green, Pacific, and Vibrant Pink) come in happy bright colors. The Vibrant Pink AL-star's color is a dynamic fuchsia in an anodized aluminum finish. I love this pen's color because it's a subdued, happy shade of fuchsia, and not at all a screaming pink.
The AL-star Vibrant Pink has a subdued pink color.

The Lamy AL-star is an excellent pen for all fountain pen users -- newbies/beginners, collectors, students, and artists. At 22 grams and 5.5 inches (capped), the AL-star is a well-balanced fountain pen: not too short, but not too long, either. It's not heavy, but not light. It's just right for small or big hands, comfortable to use, and sturdy, too! Many fountain pen users keep an AL-star in their EDC (that's everyday carry) because the pen is tough and sturdy.

The AL-star's barrel has an ink window that shows the ink converter or cartridge inside. It allows me to check on my pen’s ink level without having to unscrew the barrel from the section. The AL-star's cap is round, but two sides of the barrel are flattened. The Lamy logo is etched on one side of the barrel, towards the end.

Lamy AL-star fountain pens have transparent gray plastic sections.

The AL-star's signature triangular section has a grip that gives the writer a firm hold on the pen while writing. An anti-slipping brake near the end of the section prevents the writer's fingers from slipping into the nib while writing. Unlike the Safari pens’ matching body and section materials/colors, AL-stars have transparent gray plastic section.

A great feature of Lamy fountain pens is the interchangeability of their nibs across most of their product lines. The AL-star shares the same feed and nib with the Safari, Vista, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. The available nibs are extra-fine (EF), fine (F), medium (M), broad (B), and left-handed. The AL-star can also be fitted with italic nibs ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm.

I received the Vibrant Pink pen with the new Z28 converter. This proprietary piston operated Lamy converter can be used to fill the fountain pen with ink from a bottle. Like the Z24 and Z26 converters, the Z28 has two tiny nipples that fit snugly into the small grooves in the upper part of the section. When the nipples are fitted in the grooves, the converter stays in place, preventing messy ink spills. Giant ink cartridges are also available in Vibrant Pink and Lamy's regular ink colors (blue washable, black, red, turquoise, green, and blue-black).

The Lamy Vibrant Pink fountain pen came with the new Z28 converter. The nipples in the converter fit snugly in the section which has dedicated grooves. (Details about this in my Aquamarine review.)

Lamy has previously issued red and purple AL-star pens: Ruby and Black Purple. Ruby, a limited edition AL-star in 2011 has been discontinued since. Black Purple is included in Lamy's regular AL-star lineup since 2011 after its first issue as a limited edition pen in 2009.

Three AL-star fountain pens in red, purple, and pink: Ruby, Black Purple, and Vibrant Pink.

The imprint of the Lamy logo in newer pens are not as deep as the logo in the previous AL-star pens. 
Nine years in between these two pens. The 2018 Pacific AL-star
is practically the aluminum version of the 2009 Pink Safari.

In my review of the AL-star Pacific last year, I discussed the differences between the AL-star and the Safari. I want to help some people understand that the greatest difference between the two pens is their materials: AL-star is aluminum, Safari is plastic, ABS plastic to be exact (same material used in Lego bricks). The AL-star has a transparent gray plastic section, while the Safari matches the pen body's material and color. The AL-star is a bit heavier than the Safari, although this is not noticeable. Aside from these, there are some subtle differences in their design, seen in the photos below.

The two pens share the same oversized clip, but the Safari's cap has an indentation
where the clip is inserted into the cap.
AL-star fountain pens have black cross (or X) finials, and most Safaris have the same black finials. The Pink Safari in this picture is a first-gen Pink which was released in 2008, and has a pink button/dot finial.
The Lamy logo is debossed in the Safari, while the outline is simply engraved in the AL-star.
The AL-star's barrel end has a plastic black button cap, while the Safari's button is from the same color and material of its body. Both are engraved "Germany."
Lamy AL-star fountain pens (from top): Aluminum, Graphite, Silver Green, Silver Blue, Ocean Blue, Black Purple, Ruby Red, Pearl, Bluegreen, Charged Green, Copper Orange, Pacific, and Vibrant Pink.

The matching ink for the Vibrant Pink fountain pen, also called Vibrant Pink, is a beautiful dynamic fuchsia ink with visible gold sheen. It reminds me of elegant, plush seats in operas and grand ballrooms.

The Vibrant Pink ink is available in proprietary Lamy cartridges and in 50ml T52 bottles that come with a roll of ink blotter for pen cleaning after filling, or to blot writing. The bottle has a small basin at the bottom, to allow filling when the ink level is low.

I made swatches of the Vibrant Pink ink, in single and double passes. The gold sheen is very visible in the double passes swatch, and in areas where the ink pools. This metallic sheen will be more visible when used in pens with wider nibs such as B, 1.1, or stub. I used a Lamy 1.1 nib in writing the captions, and I'm thrilled to see the metallic sheen even after the ink has dried. I noticed during testing that the metallic sheen is very visible while the ink is still wet, but loses some of the shimmer as soon as it dries.

Vibrant Pink fountain pen ink sample swatches in single and double passes.
I do not have many pink fountain pen inks, but found J. Herbin Rouge OpĂ©ra to be close – 
a bit darker, though – to Lamy Vibrant Pink.
Here is a closer view of Lamy Vibrant Pink's gold shimmer. At different angles, it gives the ink a darker shade.

Do you see the gold flecks? I've been lucky enough to capture them on camera!

Vibrant Pink is a well-behaved ink. It has excellent flow and lubrication, medium to high shading, and the gold flecks do not affect drying time. This ink is very easy to clean, does not stain, and has a pretty pink/fuchsia color.

Like all the previous special edition Lamy AL-star fountain pens, I love the Vibrant Pink pen and the ink that came with it. The fountain pen is versatile (has interchangeable nibs), simple, minimalistic, and helpful to newbies because of its triangular section grip. The metallic finish brings warmth to the pink color of this special edition AL-star. The AL-star may be prone to scratches because of its material, but given the proper care, these pens will last for a long time.

If you haven't gotten one of these special edition Vibrant Pink AL-star fountain pens yet, go get one now! As of this time, Lamy has not indicated that they will be producing more of these. So once the current stocks are sold, they're gone!

I received the fountain pen in this review at no cost from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, the Times Trading Company. In the Philippines, the AL-star Pacific fountain pen and ink (and other Lamy products) are made available by Times Trading Company, through their kiosks at National Bookstore branches around Metro Manila.

Lamy products are also available at Scribe Writing Essentials and Everything Calligraphy.

Lamy AL-star pens are widely available from pen sellers worldwide. For a list of Lamy retailers, visit
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