J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor: Ink Review

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):

  • Medium– it was pushing towards the long side, and I think it’ll depend on the paper used. If you want to draw out the sheen (which um, is kinda the point of this ink), then you’ll want to dump a lot of ink on some very ink-resistant paper. And that extends dry time. 

Drip Test (Water Resistance):

  • Medium– it actually wasn’t as bad as I was originally anticipating. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this ink as a go-to for permanent documents or anything, but if you spill something on it, there’s a change you’ll have a very beautiful mess (that’s still readable) on the page. 


  • High– what’s interesting about this ink over other ones is that it doesn’t just get darker in color when you put it down heavy, which is typically what you find with ‘normal’ inks. This one will actually shift/change color to a red/gold sheen as you put it down heavy. Very cool.

Ease of Cleaning:

  • Difficult– this is not your run-of-the-mill ink, so I feel it’s a little harsh to give it such a hard rating for ease of cleaning. The maintenance on this ink will be more effort than your average ink, especially given the gold sparkles which will tend to cling to your feed. If it dried up in the pen you might get a little crusting that happens on the nib, but it cleans away pretty easily. Using a pen flush to clean this ink out of your pen actually makes it fairly effortless, but because I have to even bring pen flush into the equation, I thought the difficult rating was appropriate. 


  • High– this is one rating that could be controversial, because it’s going to depend on the paper involved (as well as the nib size). Just the teal aspect of the ink shades well, but there’s no way I could go without giving a high rating because of the red and gold sheen you get when this ink really goes down. 


  • Wet– It writes wet, which is good because it needs to flow well with the gold specks in it. I haven’t had any flow issues with it in several different pens, even when left in there for weeks with inconsistent use. 

Packaging and Aesthetics:

  •  Awesome– J. Herbin definitely has beautiful packaging with their 1670 series of inks. It has a wax stamp on the front and a wax cap that matches the ink, c’mon! The box is really nice, too, though a white paper box is just begging for you to touch with your inky fingers so it looks like you actually use the ink. The one downside is the neck of the bottle is fairly thin, so larger pens might have a tough time getting in there. 

Inks Similar in Color 


J. Herbin has really nailed it out of the park with this one. It’s my favorite 1670 ink to date, and favorite J. Herbin ink by far. I absolutely love to see unique and innovative inks come out, and this one is like no other. You’ve set a pretty high bar here Herbin, if you’re going to do another 1670 ink I don’t know what it will be that could top this.

Just a side note here, you want to shake up the bottle pretty hardcore when filling, the gold stuff settles out pretty quick. You’ll even see it settle out in your pen a bit, but don’t go shaking your pen or you’ll get ink everywhere! (yup, that’s happened)

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor ink is now available at Gouletpens.com in a 50 ml bottle for $26 and in a 2ml sample for $1.75.

Write on, 
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T14:37:58+00:00 September 18th, 2015|Ink Reviews|30 Comments
  • Charles

    Ordered! Seems like everybody sold out as soon as they got it last time.

    A side note about he neck of the bottle: I tried filling my wettest flowing pen today with Stormy Grey but I couldn’t get it deep enough to get anything but a nib tip. I was able to transfer a few mL to a sample vial using a pipette and that worked great. If you’re having trouble getting your pen into the bottle try that.

    • Madigan

      Hey Charles! I’m glad you managed to snag some! Good tip on transferring the ink to a sample vial. That makes it a lot easier! πŸ™‚

  • Sterling Wang

    Can confirm about shaking a pen inked up with a 1670, haha.

    I haven’t tried Emerald of Chivor yet, but my experience with Stormy Gray has been that when writing, every so often you’ll want to swirl the pen gently to agitate the particles. That seems to help get a more even distribution of the gold sheen in the writing.

    Hold the pen upright and swirl it in a circle, as you would a wine glass. “Gently” is the key here – prevents your immediate environment from turning into a sparkly spattered mess.

    • Giovanni’s Roomba

      I roll my pen between my fingers and tip it end to end before I start writing, and every so often thereafter. I guess the idea is just to keep the ink moving as much as possible.

      Emerald of Chivor is stunning and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s easily the most dramatic ink you’ve ever used. (And even without the gold it’s a beautiful, one might say perfect blue-green.)

      • Madigan

        Hi Giovanni! I also use this rolling technique when writing with one of the 1670 inks! It definitely works. πŸ™‚

    • Madigan

      Hey Sterling! Thanks for sharing your method. I’ve generally used Giovanni’s method below, but I’ll have to give yours a try and see how it works. πŸ™‚

  • Giovanni’s Roomba

    I have all four Herbin shimmer inks and they are HIGHLY pen-dependent. My TWSBI (with a fine nib) clogged almost instantly. Pilot Petit1s don’t clog but don’t show any shimmer worth talking about: it must be backing up in the feed. A Lamy Safari with a 1.1 stub nib does a reasonably good job of showing off the gold. But by far, by a huge margin, the best pens for these inks are cheap Hero and Jinhao pens. The inks flow beautifully and the gold just pours onto the page.

    • Hmm, Pilot Petits use a fabric wick as a feed instead of an open channel, so I don’t think there’s any way for the shimmer/mica to make it to the nib!

      • Giovanni’s Roomba

        Well, that explains that! Now I feel slightly stupid for not having noticed, but thank you for the explanation.

    • Madigan

      Hey Giovanni! It looks like you have really worked out a system to get the most out of this ink! πŸ™‚

  • Starchix

    Would one get more of the other colors using a dip pen? I was wondering about doing some calligraphy. I have Rouge Hematite and have a hard time getting much gold sparkler with a regular Med nib Lamy or other fp. Maybe I need to ‘shake’ it or the bottle more before filling?

    • Tom Johnson

      Starchix, I think it would depend on the dip pen. One that puts down a lot of ink should help. In my experience, the wetter, broader pens work the best. Also, the color sheen is much more prominent with Tomoe River and artists’ vellum papers than Rhodia, Clairfontaine, or Midori. I shake the bottle vigorously first, but the glitter starts settling immediately. Once opened I quickly use a pipette to stir even more and draw up some ink from near the bottom. Don’t do this without shaking or you might quickly deplete the glitter that settles to the bottom of the bottle. Once drawn into the pipette I use it to fill the pen, cartridge, or a sample vial. My Goulet 1.5mm nib is VERY wet on my TWSBI Vac-700. I remove the TWSBI’s grip section and fill the vacuum chamber directly from the pipette. I can easily see the glitter settle to the bottom of the clear reservoir. I keep tilting the pen end to end as the ink flows into the feed and nib. Once the feed has ink, I seal off the chamber and use the ink in the feed. I get a lot of glitter that way. After a while I tilt the pen back and forth to disperse the glitter that has settled in the reservoir then open the reservoir to the feed and seal it off again once the feed is replenished. This has worked with Rouge Hematite too. If you use a dip pen I would keep stirring the ink with the pen tip before pulling it out of the bottle. Or fill the dip pen with a pipette.

      • Tom Johnson

        Here is a fair photo of my technique with Emerald of Chivor described above on artists’ vellum paper. I put a tiny drop at the left edge, then wrote with my Vac-700 using a Goulet 1.5mm nib.

        • Starchix

          Tom, thanks for the in-depth response. I’m not sure I’m really patient enough for all this fiddling, at least with a regular piston-type fountain pen! But I am going to experiment with my ancient dip pen — it’s so old I can’t read the writing on all the nibs, but one of them says ‘Speedball’ I bought them for a calligraphy class 30 or 40 years ago, and so far I’ve only ever used India Ink. But let’s get radical, and try some color. Yeehaw

        • Kathy

          Tom, this is really helpful. I haven’t had any sparkle with my EoC in a Lamy AL-Star 1.5 nib, but I haven’t used it on Tomoe paper. Just got my first order, so I’ll try it. Your results are beautiful, but it really doesn’t seem this ink is an Everyday Carry

          Thanks for the info and for posting your example!

          • Tom Johnson

            Kathy, EoC is probably not an every day carry ink. The glitter shows on all papers, but the ink resistant papers show the red sheen. My guess is that after shaking the bottle, the time it took to open the bottle, put the Lamy in the ink, then fill the converter allowed the glitter to settle out. Shake it hard then dip your Speedball in deep quickly.

          • Tom Johnson

            Sorry, it is Starchix who has the Speedball. 😟

          • Madigan

            Hey Kathy! I’m sorry to hear that you aren’t see the shimmer. That is a bummer. Shaking the ink before filling the pen and then using it on ink resistant paper is the best. It does take some experimentation so try it in a few different pen/nib/paper combinations to find the one that works best! πŸ™‚

          • gambitvoleur

            Kathy, if by “sparkle” you mean the red sheen, then I’ve found it’s all about the paper, and less about the pen. If you mean the gold sparkles, I was able to get them in a Lamy AL-Star with a medium nib, you just have to shake the bottle/vial like a crazy person before loading it up.

    • Madigan

      Hi Starchix! Definitely give it a try with the dip pen. Make sure to shake the bottle well and see how it goes! The wetter writing the pen the better in terms of seeing the red sheen. It’s an ink that requires a bit of experimentation, so have fun! πŸ™‚

  • soniasimone

    The best results I’ve gotten from EoC (because I don’t have Tomoe — cannot wait until someone gets a Tomoe notebook going!) have been on an airline boarding pass! Heavy, slick, and super-coated paper.

    Leading me to the obvious conclusion: this is the best holiday card ink ever. Can’t wait. πŸ™‚

    The metallic sheen shows up well in various pens (just gently agitate the pen — I actually store all of my Herbin shimmer-loaded pens nib down, and haven’t had any clogging issues, knock wood), but the red sheen will only show up on the right paper, preferentially with a super-wet pen. A drier but broader nib won’t show the red as well.

    • soniasimone

      I actually think this is a perfectly reasonable EDC ink — the blue-green is lovely, the shimmer isn’t so outrageous that it’s going to be distracting unless you’re a crazy fountain pen person tilting the page to see it, and the red is a non-factor except on very specific paper.

      Then again, I have pink hair, so my idea of reasonable EDC may not match everyone’s.

      • Madigan

        Hi Sonia! I had this inked up in my EDC pen and wrote on everything with it when it first came out. It was just too fun to stop! Your friends and family are going to love their holiday cards. πŸ™‚

  • gambitvoleur

    I just got a sample of this stuff. Its status as legend in our crazy fountain pen world has soared so high it’s almost like pixie dust or something. But I cannot for the life of me get the red sheen :-(. I’ve tried it on a Rhodia pad, a Leuchtterm notebook, a fabriano sketchbook (which is pretty smooth), and then all kinds of cheap paper for the heck of it (including one toothy sketchbook I would never normally use fountain pens with). I don’t have any Tomoe, but that can’t be the only paper it works with! So far I have mostly used it in a medium nib Lamy Al-star, but that tends to write fairly wet, and it is, after all, the one in the pictures above. I also used an old calligraphy brush from my art student days dipped straight into the vial, so it’s not just the pen. The color was fine and the sparkles look great in the thick brush strokes, but no sheen. I feel either hoodwinked or crazy. You guys aren’t making this all up, right?

    • gambitvoleur

      Follow up: I finally got the red sheen by using a stray piece of (I think!) Strathmore bond paper or possibly Strathmore vellum from the great pile of neglected art supplies. It’s pretty trippy, and I’m happy that I’m not going crazy and was able to see it. Also I loaded up the Jinhao Shimmering Sands, which writes very wet and broad with its original medium nib, and that really helps the color look deeper and lets the gold sparkles come through. But this was literally the only paper I tried it on that gave me the effect! It’s kind of annoying that the look that defines the ink doesn’t just require good paper, it requires a very specific subset of good paper in order to work at all. Maybe I’m being too picky?

      • soniasimone

        I’ve found ink sheen is funny that way. The red in this one is so pretty, but you have to have a crazy coated paper to get it to show up. Try it on greeting cards!

        Also, in my experience, you don’t just want a broad-nibbed pen, you want a very wet writer. I got more sheen from my Decimo, which was adjusted to be so wet that sometimes it makes problems, than with my Lamy 1.1s, which have a slightly wider nib but a more normal flow. You want to be basically making little puddles on the paper.


        I am using a 32 lb. HP premium laserjet paper and Rhodia paper (also 32 lb), and still no red sheen…I might need vellum or parchment paper for the effect….

        • gambitvoleur

          Yeah, it seems that soniasimone is correct: you want both a very wet writer and a highly non-absorbant paper. I can believe that it would work well on an airline boarding pass. It’s somewhat random what it works on. I had a lined yellow post-it pad, and the effect worked brilliantly there. Not at all with printer paper, etc. So I would try it on anything. Receipts, parchment paper for cooking… it will work eventually.

  • Carlizzle

    I’ve been using this ink in a TWSBI eco and always ensure that I disturb the settled shimmer before writing with it yet fail miserably on trying to get any shimmer on my page. I have not yet achieved and red shimmer either ☹️

    • Avi

      try picking up some tomoe river paper. the red sheen only really shows up on that paper