review: diamine ancient copper - ink between the teeth

Jul 2, 2018

review: diamine ancient copper

Ooh, another Diamine ink! This one's Ancient Copper, another favorite (am I showing my hand too early?)

I've talked about Diamine previously on this blog, but it's definitely one of my favorite brands. Inks are reliable, perform well, and run the gamut of colors, while the price point is hard to beat (especially if you live in the UK, where bottles run you about half the price here in the United States). It's pretty much a UK Noodler's!

Diamine inks usually come in one of two sizes: a plastic 30 ml bottle, and a glass 80 ml bottle. There's also a special bottle size—40 ml—which is restricted to its Anniversary inks. These are also glass, and wedge-shaped, so when you collect them all they form a circle. I quite like all the bottle sizes. Being a person who rarely if ever travels with ink, I would imagine that the 30 ml bottle is the perfect size to take with you, as it's fairly small and unobtrusive, and you can always under-fill.

Ancient Copper is a rich orange-brown. It definitely has a coppery color to it!
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Ancient Copper has no water resistance (the hint of blue you see in the swatch is from my water source, which had a bit of blue ink in it. Oops) and breaks down very rapidly. You might as well throw your notebook into a swimming pool if you happen to spill water on a page. It also takes forever to dry. It looks dry in about 50 to 60 seconds.

The ink doesn't shade or sheen to my eye, so it might be considered a bit boring.

One thing that is fairly annoying about Ancient Copper is that, like other orange-browns in its category, it's a smudge machine. As a left-handed person, smudges are a way of life, but there's a difference between "smudging a couple seconds after it's been written" and "smudging a journal entry from August 2017."

One thing I've found that helps (though maybe this is just confirmation bias?) is that diluting helps smudging a lot. I assume that adding more liquid means that the dyes aren't as concentrated, though I am not anywhere near a scientist. If you find yourself struggling with smudging, I suggest decanting a bit of ink into a sample vial or an empty bottle and adding small amounts of water (preferably distilled, though I tend to just use water from my Brita—hey, it's filtered!) until it has the properties you like.
My scan is fairly close, if it overestimates the orange-ness of the ink. It's a bit more brown, like it shows in this picture taken in natural light.
I think I've mentioned this before, but Ancient Copper and Noodler's Antietam might as well be the same ink. Antietam is less rich and a bit more orange to my eye, but in use they're so similar that you really have to be a color enthusiast to tell the difference. I would argue that they're dupes for each other. J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie isn't even in the same ballpark (far more golden) and Graf von Faber Castell Burned Orange is a true orange.

I've had this ink in a number of pens: it's a bit on the wetter side, so I would say that it works well with any pen that needs a little lubrication or if you're a broad junkie like me. I've loved it in my Nemosine Singularity as well as my TWSBIs. It flows well without difficulty. I think it may "crust"—a very gross and terrifying event in which the dyes accumulate and crystallize on the nib—but proper pen hygiene will always keep those problems at bay.

I really do like Ancient Copper: the smudging is an issue, but there are ways around it. It's a rich color and I think it looks wonderful in all kinds of applications. I think it might be a bit out there for business situations, but it looks beautiful in a letter on cream or ivory paper.

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