Friday, December 2, 2016

Fountain Pen Inks Review: Robert Oster Signature Ink Bondi Blue and Australian Sky Blue

I came upon Robert Oster Signature Inks one morning, at breakfast. I saw an ink swab of Bondi Blue, and thought it's a beautiful blue ink. I realized Robert Oster has a lot of blue ink, and I fell in love with Bondi Blue and Australian Sky Blue. A lively chat with Robert Oster followed, and a week later, I found myself at the post office, picking up seven (seven!!!) bottles of inky awesomeness from Down Under.

Blue inks overload!

In the past, I have used fountain pen inks from China, India, and Japan, but I have not tried inks from Australia until I saw Robert Oster's Signature line.

Signature Inks are made in Australia, reflecting the country’s natural color palette. Robert Oster is proud that his inks originate from the Coonawarra district of South Australia, one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world. His ink palette has the colors of the sun, sky, sea, earth, vines, and wines.

Blue, blue-green, and green inks from Australia! I got the sky, the sea, and the vine!

Robert is kind to send me Bondi Blue, Australian Sky Blue, School Blue, Torquay, Tranquility, Green Diamond, and Marine. I realized that he sent me the sky, the sea, and the vines of Coonawarra.

Signature inks are sold in tall, leak-proof, Australian-made 50ml plastic bottles that are sturdy enough to survive the sometimes bumpy ride from Australia to the rest of the world. 100ml bottles are also available in selected sellers of Robert Oster Signature Ink worldwide.

Robert Oster Signature Inks come in tall 50ml bottles with gold labels bearing the Signature branding.

Label on the other side of the bottle says that Robert Oster Signature Inks are 'known for their unique colors', and have a 'certain something.'

Each bottle of Signature Inks has a leak-proof cap which also carries the sticker indicating the ink name/color. Just be careful not to mix bottles and caps when you have several ink bottles open.

Signature Ink bottles have wider openings that can accommodate large pens.
I can't fit that TWSBI in a 30ml Diamine bottle, or in the 1670 J. Herbin glass bottles.

I chose two from the seven inks that I received. I tried Bondi Blue and Australian Sky Blue first, and used pens with wide nibs to see the lovely shading and the impressive halo that I saw in Robert Oster's sample ink swabs. Bondi Blue went to my Pelikan M205 with BB nib, and the Australian Sky Blue went into a TWSBI with B nib.

Bondi Blue (top two paragraphs) and Australian Sky Blue (bottom paragraphs) on Tomoe River paper.

Here are my observations, followed by sample photos of the two inks. 

Both inks are wet, and flowed smoothly onto paper. Australian Sky Blue is wetter than Bondi Blue, which explains why it dried longer. Both have excellent shading and halo, but Bondi Blue's is darker, wider, and more visible. Like most fountain pen inks, these two have low water resistance. I have not used them long enough to test their color fastness, but both colors look like they will last, as long as they are not exposed to extreme heat or moisture.

Bondi Blue is dark blue while wet, but turns lighter when it dries. On paper, it looks similar to Waterman South Sea Blue, or Sheaffer Turquoise. Australian Sky Blue doesn't change much when it dries, and it's more similar to J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche and Lamy Turquoise.

Robert Oster Signature Ink Bondi Blue. Bondi ian Aboriginal word which means 'water breaking over rocks,
or noise of water breaking over rocks.'  Perhaps Bondi Beach is the inspiration for this ink color.

I love how Bondi Blue goes light to dark from a single pass to triple passes.

See the shading? And the sheen/halo? This ink has too much sheen! It's visible on the single pass swab (top), which is still very light, but dark and heavy on the swab with three passes (bottom).

Bondi Blue's sheen in my writing sample. This is the reason why I chose to use a pen with BB nib.
The sheen won't be visible in a pen with fine or medium nib. 

Wet ink + BB nib = long drying time.

Robert Oster Signature Ink Australian Sky Blue. Inspired by the bright blue of a cloudless Australian sky.

Australian Sky Blue is a turquoise ink with lovely shading that can go from light to dark, depending on the pen and paper used.

The swabs with double and triple passes show the lovely sheen/halo of Australian Sky Blue.

Shading! Sheen! What's not to like and love about this ink?

Wetter ink + B nib = longer drying time.

I had fun trying and reviewing these Robert Oster Signature Inks. I now have four pens filled with different Robert Oster inks, and I'm looking forward to more fun in my next review.

Writing sample of Bondi Blue on Midori MD Paper.

Are you looking for turquoise inks to add into your collection? Get one from Robert Oster Signature Ink palette. Bondi Blue and Australian Sky Blue are great choices, but there are more turquoise inks there! Torquay and Tranquility are also excellent ink colors, so why not get them, too! Watch out for these two in my future ink reviews.

Robert Oster Signature Inks are available in a number of authorized global resellers. To look for a reseller near you, check Robert Oster's list of global resellers. In the Philippines, these inks are available at

For more information about the Signature inks, visit the Robert Oster website. For updates and news of new Signature inks, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram and Twitter.


  1. Liking the look of that marine in your picture. Looking forward to seeing more of your reviews.

  2. Bondi Blue looks amazing. I've just tried Robert Oster Khaki (I love greeny-browns) and it is a lovely ink. I want to also try Jade next time.

    1. Bondi Blue is amazing, so is Fire and Ice! Robert Oster's inks are amazing!