Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Diamine Grey ink review

It's been a long time since I reviewed a grey ink so I got the urge to test one of the grey samples I have. I settled on Diamine Grey. If you're looking for a generic ink name, Diamine's got you covered. Now, grey inks can be rather boring, in my humble opinion, but I like to keep an open mind and this time I was surprised in a good way.

The ink was tested in my new workhorse, the Kaweco Sport Classic, which I use as an eyedropper. This has recently become my daily office pen and it's a good thing because it allows me to review inks quicker than I normally would, thanks to the broad nib which uses more ink.

If you're wondering about the eyedropper conversion in the Kaweco Sport, let me tell you that all I did was pour the ink in the body and screw it to the section, without using any silicone grease. It doesn't leak, though I wouldn't take it on a plane. Anyway, on with the review.

Bottle and pricing
Diamine inks are usually $12.95 a bottle for 80ml / 1.7oz which comes in at $0.16 per milliliter. In other words they are very affordable.

Color and saturation
Since this is a grey ink we can't really talk about color, while the saturation is average. Diamine Grey is on the darker side and to illustrate this I am comparing it with the other grey ink I tested, J Herbin Gris Nuage. As you can see, Diamine Grey is much darker.

Diamine Grey vs J Herbin Gris Nuage

Surprinsingly, Diamine Grey actually has some interesting shading going on. I like that when I start writing it is wet and much darker, almost black. As soon as it dries (which happens quickly), the color lightens but you can clearly see the dark shadows, usually where the ink pools at the end of a line. So yes, it definitely shades and it's far from being a flat color. I like to call this an "ink with personality".

None that I could see.

It doesn't bleed through the cheap paper, except for a little insignificant ghosting.

Flow, lubrication, and smoothness
As always, I'm impressed by a wet ink and Diamine Grey makes me happy by scoring a 7/10 on the wetness scale. It flows nicely through the Kaweco's broad nib, as well as smoothly. It's a real pleasure in use. 

Drying time
Drying times vary depending on the paper quality. On Rhodia 80g it takes an average of 15 seconds to dry but on cheap paper that happens in 5 seconds or less. Of course, it also depends on the size of the nib. Broad nib equals longer drying times on glossy paper.

Smearing when dry

Water resistance
Another thing that took me by surprise is the degree of water resistance this ink exhibited. It's not supposed to be at all resistant to liquids, yet the text is still legible after being submerged for a minute under running water.

Diamine Grey is by far the best grey ink I've tested, although that's not saying much since this is only my second grey ink. Nonetheless, I'm personally enamored with this ink by virtue of it's pleasant shade (dark but not too dark), as well as its shading, smoothness and surprise water resistance. I find it a joy to use in my daily pen and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a decent grey ink. I still have a couple more grey inks to test but this one looks like a strong contender for Grey Ink of the Year.

Here are the two samples on photocopy and Rhodia 80g papers, respectively.

Diamine Grey on photocopy

Diamine Grey on Rhodia


  1. Nice review! Thank you! I haven't tried any grey inks, but I might have to after seeing this :)

  2. Wait for my next one. As soon as the ink runs out in the Kaweco I'm going to review another grey ink, also from Diamine.

  3. I can't wait for your next gray ink review. As far as I'm concerned, your review of Diamine Grey is spot on! I love this ink and it is one that I never rotate; it is always in my TWSBI 540 with EF nib. The other gray I own is Noodler's Lexington Gray but I find it almost black which was not what I was looking for when I purchased it, though it is a good ink in other respects. Calling it gray, however, was a stretch, in my opinion. Diamine Grey is exactly the color I was looking for.

    How do you like the J. Herbin Gris Nauge compared to the Diamine Grey? The J. Herbin looks interesting as a very light gray.

  4. I love when my other people's conclusions support my own regarding inks, even though this is a very subjective thing. I think Diamine Grey is way better than Gris Nuage and not just because it's darker. It simply handles better in all its properties. Gris Nuage feels too artsy to be taken seriously as a writing ink.

    Speaking of Lexington Grey, it's interesting how sometimes Noodler's pretentious ink names don't quite reflect how great (or mediocre) an ink is. Noodler's has some great inks but also a few duds.

  5. I completely agree with you about the pretentious nature of the Noodler's ink names.

    Thanks for the heads-up about the Gris Nuage. Now I'm really looking forward to that other Diamine gray review.

  6. It's gonna take a while, I hope you don't mind. First I have to finish the current one, then I need to review the new one and I tend to move slowly :)

  7. The review will be worth waiting for. :-)

  8. This looks a lot like what I had hoped Diamine Graphite would look like. Must try.

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