I recently reviewed four inks from Monteverde’s updated ink lineup: Moonstone, Chaorite, Mandarin Orange, and Napa Burgundy. Without exception, all four performed well, and all have seen a lot of use in my pen and ink rotation since then. I immediately put in a request to Pen Chalet to try a few more: Olivine, Topaz, Red Velvet, Fireopal, and Caribbean Blue.
So what’s the verdict on these? With one exception, I found these to be good inks, but of this batch, Fireopal and Topaz are probably the only colors that will make a regular appearance in the future. A few specific thoughts on each:
Olivine. I don’t usually like to start with the bad, but let’s get this out of the way because of these five inks, Olivine was the one that disappointed. I love dark green inks, and normally greens are relatively low-maintenance inks that perform well in any pen. While Olivine is a great color, this ink crusted on the nib and clogged pens to a degree that I’ve never experienced before. I found it essentially unusable, and would recommend Callifolio Olivastre or Sailor Epinard or Tokiwa Matsu as alternatives.
Topaz. Another ink from the “Gemstone” collection. Monteverde Topaz is a bright yellow-orange similar to Sailor Apricot. This ink wrote well, though I probably prefer Monteverde Mandarin Orange as the darker, and therefore more legible, orange ink. Topaz does shade some and would look great in a broader nib.
Red Velvet. No performance issues with this ink, but I’m just not a Red-Brown type of guy. I found the color to be a bit “muddy,” and with so many ink options available Red Velvet isn’t something I feel that I'll use going forward.
Fireopal. A nice bright orange-red that grows on you. No performance issues. As I mentioned above, it's a pretty color, and I'll probably hang onto this bottle.
Caribbean Blue. Like Red Velvet, this one didn’t have any performance issues, but I found this ink to be too washed-out for my taste. It won’t replace Montblanc UNICEF Blue or Lamy Turquoise / Pacific Blue anytime soon.
Takeaways and Where To Buy
In my opinion, Monteverde inks tend to be one of the best price/value propositions on the market. Monteverde offers a wide range of colors - I just checked and it’s now up to 43 (!!!) - and the ink comes in both 30ml ($8) and 90ml ($13.50) bottles. If you really like a color, that 90ml bottle is an exceptional deal.
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