Friday, November 22, 2013

Ink of the Season: Herbin Rouge Hematite

December is almost here and a lot of people ink their pens with some nice green or red for letters and Christmas cards. I personally feel a great red ink never goes amiss whatever time of the year, especially my favorite red 1670 Rouge Hematite by J. Herbin. 

J. Herbin Rouge Hematite in a Danitrio Genkai tame-nuri

It's a nice, deep, pure red without any hints at purple or wine color. It shades nicely but what's really special about it is its distinct greenish-golden sheen. In my opinion this one needs a wet pen to truly shine so I put it into my Danitrio Genkai. Their eye droppers are famous for their generous ink flow and so is this one. It's also one of the largest fountain pens I've ever seen and owned! It's fitted with a jumbo size factory stub nib. If you like, read more about the Genkai here.

As I could hardly wait for the ink to make its way through the huge ebonite feed I opened the shutoff valve too far and flooded the nib. Somehow I like the way it looks, though. The ink seems to mirror the sleek red shades of Urushi lacquer covering the pen on the outside.

Below you can see a bit of the shading. What the picture doesn't transport is the metallic effect of the sheen. While I like to use this ink for letters or cards, having to read a novel written in Rouge Hematite wouldn't make me happy. Red, dark red and gold, that's just one color too much for one ink and looking at it for too long even makes me feel a bit dizzy at times. Also, like many highly saturated inks, it has a tendency to long drying times and smearing.

Still - despite it having its flaws and not being for everything and everybody (and not for every pen either, if only for the narrow opening of the bottle), for me this is one of the most perfect inks on the planet and definitely one of the most original!

So if your bottle of Rouge Hematite is gathering dust, why not get it out for some Christmas mail? And don't forget to shake it thoroughly before use so all those beautiful sheen particles actually make it into the pen and don't just stick around at the bottom!


  1. I have a pen always inked up with this ink. I really like the sheen I get off of it.

  2. Apparently the newer formula for 1670 Hematite does not include the nanoparticles of metal the first shipments contained. The nanoparticle content of the ink is itself a bit a mystery. Some people claim to see them some people have photographed the metallic sludge in the bottom of the bottle.

    1. Oh, it's good to know that the new bottles don't have the metallic particles. I'm glad I got one of the old ones then though tossing them probably makes the ink easier on maintenance? In my bottle there's definitely an accumulation of metallic stuff at the bottom after it's been stationary for a while.

  3. The sheen of this ink really fits to your style and handwriting..