Monday, February 22, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: Gioia Pen Partenope Madreperla


When I rebooted my blog last year, I received products to review from places that I have never been to, read about different pen-making processes, and talked to many pen people from all over the globe. I also realized that aside from being writing instruments, fountain pens are art pieces that give us cultural education and design awareness. This is the case with the increasing selection of fountain pen brands from Italy, two of them have already graced the pages of Rants of The Archer — Tibaldi, Leonardo Officina Italiana, and now Gioia Pen.

I noticed that the makers take so much pride in their respective regions and use them as their pens' design inspiration. Leonardo Officina Italiana's Momento Zero Positano Blue is inspired by the blue ocean waves in Positano, a cliffside village on southern Italy's Amalfi Coast. Gioia Pen Partenope, on the other hand, carries the silhouette of the Gulf of Naples in its cap. It is heartwarming to hold these pens knowing that they were so carefully and thoughtfully designed to become excellent writing instruments.

Gioia Pen is a young pen brand, born in Naples, Italy in 2014. It is the brainchild of Mr. Fabio Cervasio and Italian craftsmen with more than 20 years of experience in pen production. The three pen models in their current production are Liberty Island, Alleria, and Partenope. Among these three models, the Partenope is the most unique as it combines two writing systems. It's a fountain pen but also a rollerball pen.

The Partenope pen came all the way from Naples, Italy to bring a joyous writing emotion.
The pen is presented in this wooden box engraved with the Gioia logo.
The Partenope can be used as a fountain pen or a rollerball, with the attachment and refill included in the box.

Gioia Pen Partenope is a Neapolitan genius as it combines two writing systems in one. Hand-turned from a single solid bar of Italian resin, the Madreperla pen has a beautiful silver-gray pattern and polished with exceptional gloss. It's a large and heavy pen, measuring 5.5 inches long and weighs 45.8 g, but remains comfortable for writing.

Gioia Pen Partenope in Madreperla finish.

The Partenope in Madreperla finish has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.5 in | 13.97 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.2 in | 13.2 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 6.7 in | 17 cm
  • Length, barrel only: 3.5 in | 8.9 cm
  • Length, section to nib: 1.6 in | 4 cm
  • Length, cap: 2.2 inches | 5.6 cm
  • Full pen weight, capped with converter: 45.8 g | 1.62 oz
  • Uncapped pen weight: 25 g | 0.88 oz
  • Cap only weight: 20.8 g | 0.73 oz
  • Body material: Resin
  • Color: Silver-gray
  • Trim: Gold
  • Cap: Screw on, postable but the blind cap gets stuck into it
  • Clip material: Steel 
  • Nib: Gold-plated steel in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, or Stub; gold nibs are also available 
  • Filling mechanism: Cartridge or screw-on Gioia converter (supplied with purchase)
The Partenope Madreperla as a fountain pen.
The Partenope can be easily converted from a fountain to a rollerball. An attachment with a rollerball refill is included in each purchase of Partenope pens.

The Partenope fountain pen can be filled with ink using international standard cartridges or the supplied customized screw-on Gioia converter with a metal knob. Unlike most converters, Gioia converters screw to the pen's section for a secure fit. The screw-on converter also allows for a piston-like filling mechanism by removing the blind cap at the end of the barrel.

The Partenope's parts are all labeled with the Gioia pen logo and branding.

Gioia Pen uses JoWo nibs in their pens. The Partenope has a No. 6 medium JoWo nib that is engraved with the Gioia logo. It's a firm medium but writes smoothly and wet.

The Partenope's nib is engraved with the Gioia logo, "Italia," and "M" to indicate nib width. 
The Partenope's clip is 1.4 in long and has a ball at the end. It's very springy and reminds me of the clip design on some Conway Stewart pens.
Gioia pens are numbered, though they are not limited series. The Partenope's number is engraved at the back of the cap. I think the number could also be placed in the barrel together with the engraved logo.
The finial is adorned with a variation of the Gioia logo.
The pen's barrel is engraved with the Gioia logo, the pen model (Partenope), and "Made in Italy." The barrel is also adorned with the tri-color ring representing the flag of Italy.
The Partenope's blind cap does not screw onto the barrel and easily pulls out. 

The Partenope is a standard full-length fountain pen, sharing almost the same length as the Tibaldi  N°60 and Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero. It's a bit heavier than the two pens, but still comfortable for writing.

Pen love from Italy. From top: Tibaldi  N°60 Amber Yellow, Gioia Pen Partenope Madreperla, and Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero Positano Blue.
Uncapped, the Partenope is longer than Momento Zero, sharing almost the same length as the N°60.

Though I always try to fill my fountain pens with matching ink colors, I do not have a gray ink for the Madreperla and instead chose one of the Robert Oster Signature inks in my collection. I used Robert Oster Bass Straight, and while the pen did not write instantly, it wrote wet and smooth later on. I also did not do any nib adjustments or tuning.

The Partenope's medium nib writes wet and smooth.

The Partenope is a unique series of pens from Gioia Pen. It's hand-turned by experienced pen makers using high-quality materials and ancient techniques to create a joyous writing experience. I am pleased with the Partenope and would recommend it to anyone who wants to explore this new brand from Italy. Get one for your collection!


Rants of The Archer thanks Gioia Pen for providing the Partenope Madreperla pen for review purposes. To learn more about these unique pens, visit the Gioia Pen website (https://www.gioiapen.com/) or follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/gioiapen/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/gioiapen/).

Monday, February 15, 2021

Fountain Pen Ink Review: Krishna Inks Sindhoor

Last year, when the pandemic was still new and the lockdown was driving everyone crazy, I came upon a new brand of fountain pen inks that offers a fantastic array of colors. Krishna Inks has so many rich, vivid, and happy ink colors inspired by nature and the Indian culture and I instantly fell in love with a number of dark blues and deep reds. I liked Sindhoor, After Dark, and Night Before Christmas, all saturated inks from the Super Rich Series. I have used these inks for regular writing and have made a number of ink art pieces with them. 

I read about the brand after I received my initial batch of inks for review and I was surprised to learn that Krishna Inks are all handmade by a medical practitioner in India. Krishna Inks are made by the famous anesthetist Dr. Sreekumar Neethu Maruvancherry in Kerala. Inspired by his master Ramachandran of Calicut, Dr. Sreekumar started mixing fountain pen inks in 2010, turning his hobby into a passion. I read somewhere that despite his intense hospital schedule, Dr. Sreekumar never fails to devote a few hours a day to mixing inks. 

Krishna Inks Super Rich Series Sindhoor

Krishna Inks Sindhoor is a bright, happy red fountain pen ink from Krishna Inks Super Rich Series. It is packaged in a 20ml glass bottle and presented in a white box with an icon of the ink color's inspiration which is the traditional vermilion red cosmetic worn by married women in India at the beginning or completely along the parting-line of their hair or as a dot on the forehead. 

I love the red color of Sindhoor. Its brightness gives a page a happy vibe. Sindhoor is a saturated ink with some shading, and it has excellent flow and wetness, which makes writing very smooth. I have tried writing with it using two fountain pens on different paper types and both pens wrote smoothly. Krishna Inks are non-toxic and are safely formulated so they will not clog pens. I am not so sure yet if it stains pens, but I did not experience staining in the two pens that I have filled with Sindhoor. It also has very low water resistance.

Sindhoor is a bright, happy red fountain pen ink.
All bright and happy like Sindhoor. Of all my red fountain pen inks, these are the ones closest to Sindhoor: Camel Scarlet Red, Diamine Poppy Red, Robert Oster Fire Engine Red, and Monteverde Valentine Red.
This is Sindhoor from a Lamy Al-star Ruby Red with a wet 1.1 nib. It took around 25-30 seconds to dry, but ink drying times vary depending on nib width, wetness, paper quality, and hand stroke. Sindhoor will definitely dry faster in a Fine or Medium nib.
In my writing sample on the Endless Works Recorder Notebook, Sindhoor doesn't show that much shading or sheen, but it has a consistent beautiful color and excellent flow.
Sindhoor is perfect for wider and wet nibs such as the Lamy 1.1 as it shows the depth and richness of this red ink.
Shading can also be seen in wider and wet nibs.
Here is Sindhoor in my Sailor Pro Gear Slim Raspberry, paper is Buke 180gsm. The color is consistently a bright red that gives a page such a happy vibe.
Sindhoor is not only for writing, it can also be used for ink art. The paper I used here is Canson 90gsm acid-free sketch paper.

If you want to try a happy, bright, and rich fountain pen ink, try Krishna Inks Sindhoor. I love writing with it because it's smooth and it's such a happy color! Get a bottle for your fountain pens!

Krishna Inks have four series, including the following: 
  • RC series, comprising inks with sheening characteristics. They can be used for regular writing and art. Sea At Night is a bestseller.
  • Super Rich series have saturated ink colors that are bold, vivid, and happy. After Dark and Brown Pink are crowd favorites.
  • Kot-Massi series, a special series of document inks made in the traditional Indian methods. These inks cannot be rubbed or washed out.  
  • Lyrebird series have the safest inks for fountain pens. They are available in waterproof versions.

Rants of The Archer thanks Krishna Inks for providing the fountain pen ink in this review. For more details on how to get their inks, visit their website: https://krishnainks.com/ or follow them on social media:

Monday, February 8, 2021

Review: NATIVIDAD Leather Three-Pen Case Dark Blue


When I started using and collecting fountain pens in 2008, fountain pens and inks were not the only hard to find items in the Philippines. Fountain pen accessories—pen cases, pen wraps, paper friendly notebooks—were even harder to find. Most of us had to get some of these items abroad. In recent years, pen accessories and related products have become available in the country, with some accessories being handcrafted by local makers. Pen wraps, pen rolls, and pen cases made by expert Filipino artisans are now available locally. One such product is the three-pen case by the local leathermaker NATIVIDAD Leather. 

I first saw the leather pen cases by NATIVIDAD Leather in our local fountain pen group. I got a three-pen case in the newly-released dark blue color, and I was very impressed the moment I opened the box. The pen case has a simple design but is well-crafted and tough for daily use. The leather is smooth, supple, and clean. I found a new pen case for my everyday carry. 

NATIVIDAD Leather Three-Pen Case in dark blue

NATIVIDAD Leather's pen cases are handcrafted in the Philippines using locally sourced leather and materials. They are semi-hard cases made from durable full-grain vegetable-tanned leather designed to protect pens. The outer side of the leather is shiny and smooth and will surely develop a patina over time. The inner part is grainy but soft and supple with an earthy leather scent. 

NATIVIDAD Leather pen cases are safe for pens as they do not have any metal hardware such as snap buttons or fasteners that could potentially scratch or damage pens. The adjustable closure of the pen case is also made from leather to make sure it is safe for even the most delicate pens.

I got a dark blue leather pen case, but this three-pen case is also available in black, tan, olive, and teal. Colors vary from time to time depending on available materials.

The semi-hard pen cases from NATIVIDAD Leather have separate slots for individual pens, so they will not scratch one another. The pen slots are designed to be shorter than those in regular pen cases so that pens do not need to be clipped over the leather. This reduces stress on the cap and prevents breakage. The short pen slots also provide more space to grip pens so they are easier to pull out of the pen case. 

The pen case has individual slots for three pens.
The individual slots ensure pens are safe inside.

The slots can fit pens up to 5.70 in (14.5 cm) long, and ~1.9 in (5 cm) in barrel diameter, but the leathermakers at NATIVIDAD Leather can easily customize their pen cases to fit longer and larger pens. Having local makers create accessories for us ensures that product customization is always possible. Aside from three-pen cases, NATIVIDAD Leather can also make single pen sleeves and four- and six-pen leather cases.

The semi-hard three-pen leather case fits longer pens such as a Conklin Duragraph or a Leonardo Momento Zero, and large pens such as the BENU Tessera.
It's perfect for Lamy Safaris...
...and TWSBI ECOs.
The short pen slots of this pen case also fit pocket pens such as the Kaweco Sport. The flap can be pulled further down for a more secure fit.
It's the perfect companion to my blue Traveler's Notebook.
I am happy and proud to see Filipino artisans making excellent, world-class products such as this three-pen case. It's well-built and designed carefully to be useful for a long period of time and promotes local leather craftsmanship. NATIVIDAD Leather products are fully customizable to fit different pens. The only additional feature I was looking for in this pen case is a logo or any markings to indicate the leathermaker's branding.

Rants of The Archer thanks NATIVIDAD Leather for providing the pen case in this review. If you want to purchase their pen cases, you can send NATIVIDAD Leather an email at natividad.leather@gmail.com or follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natividad.leather/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/natividad_leather/ to get updates on new product offers.