Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ink Review: Diamine Majestic Blue

When I haven't any blue I use red.

- Pablo Picasso

Imagine Picasso running out of blue while painting the Old Guitarist. Or the La Vie. I wonder how his masterpieces would have turned out had he ran out of blue. Interesting, isn't it? But could it be Picasso who inspired the chemists at Diamine to put together blue and red in one ink color they called Majestic Blue? I wonder.

Being a huge fan of blue inks, I have read (and tried) a lot about them and came about Diamine's Majestic Blue long before Phil Davies sent me the box of sample inks for review. I've been curious about Majestic Blue for long and filled a number of pens with it as soon as I received the samples. Since then, I've been a huge, huge fan of this ink!

Diamine Majestic Blue is a deep, dark, saturated blue that is almost blue-black, but it has a reddish undertone that simply amazes me. Before the J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink, I have not seen an ink with an undertone such as this one. While wet, Majestic Blue appears to be a deep blue-black -- almost black -- but dries off a beautiful and unique dark blue.

Diamine Majestic Blue reminds me of the blue skirts I wore to school when as a precocious 6 year-old attending Mrs. Avanzado's Grade 1 class, I proudly read stories and poems from books, and wrote and drew on the blackboard using a dusty chalk. My favorite story then was "Henny Penny". Incidentally, the Henny Penny book had laminated dark blue covers like Majestic Blue. Oh, the memories of those days!

Below is a written review of Diamine Majestic Blue. Like the Woodland Green review, I wrote on Kokuyo paper using two pens: a Platignum calligraphy pen (from fellow FPN-P member Eilu) with medium italic nib (blue pen on the left), and a white Parker Jotter with a Pentangeli stub nib.

Diamine released Majestic Blue in late 2009. It is a moderately saturated ink like other Diamine inks, but  flows well on most of the pens I used for this review, especially on the Platignum calligraphy pen. Shading can be seen in the strokes made by the Platignum pen, probably because of its broad calligraphy nib, and the reddish undertone against the blue shade is visible at the beginning or end of a stroke written using my Parker Jotter with a stub nib.

And here's Diamine Majestic Blue up close. Note that it behaves differently when dry on different paper types. 

On Kokuyo paper, written with the Platignum calligraphy pen. Lovely shading, though not as obvious as I would have wanted it to be.

Again, on Kokuyo paper with the Parker Jotter with stub nib. Note that the comma has a different (reddish) tone.
This is on Eagle notebook paper. The letters l and u both have the red undertones.

Here's Majestic Blue on Saizen notebook. No red undertones on this one.

On Scribe squared notebook. There is minor feathering, but no bleed. Again, no red undertones.

Lastly, this is on Venzi notebook paper. Look at the letter l. See the red?

I don't have much blue inks to compare Diamine Majestic Blue to, but here it is with Noodlers' Bad Belted Kingfisher and Midnight Blue. It appears more of a dark blue than being a blue-black beside the Noodlers' inks.

Like Woodland Green, Majestic Blue takes a longer period of time to dry, mostly because of its saturation. But still, it dries a beautiful deep blue, so it's worth waiting for a page to dry.

Founded in London, Diamine has been manufacturing inks since 1864. Diamine is one of the largest producers of a large range of fountain pen inks as well as the famous Registrar's Ink for permanent records. Diamine fountain pen inks are available from the Diamine site or from the Writing Desk in the UK. In the US, they are available from the Goulet Pen Company or the Pear Tree Pen Company. (I have no affiliation with any of these companies.)

(The glass boots used in this review are shooters (a type of shotglass) from the UK, gifts from a Lovely friend. I had fun trying to find stuff that will go into my review -- in this case, the English ink is complemented by English shooters and English pens. LOL. The paper and blue cloth are both Asians, though.)


  1. Excellent review, showing the ink's properties on a variety of papers. Superb photography and penmanship as well.

    You raise the bar on ink reviews, Archer!

  2. I like this ink. The color is deep and dark but with that nice shading. A great very British post!

  3. Lovely review, and I am particularly impressed by (and envious of) the way you were able to capture the red undertones in your photos.

  4. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Great ink review! Very nice blue black ink with some red shading.
    I like your white Parker Jotter with a stub nib. Smooth and sweet isn't it. - Pentangeli

  5. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Excellent review. I love Diamine inks

  6. I have to admit that I'm a black ink person by nature, but this post may have changed me! It's unbelievable how true the blue is the closer your camera got to the paper. Very fitting that you mention Picasso. This ink is as beautiful as any blue paint I've seen.

  7. This is one beautiful shade of dark blue and your calligraphy is amazing. I've ordered a sample of this ink to see how it looks with mine own eyes but I have a feeling I'll be ordering a whole bottle before long.