Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Diamine Graphite ink review

In my last post I promised that I would review another grey ink, back to back with Diamine Grey. Well, the mystery ink is revealed today, and it is, you guessed it, Diamine Graphite.

I could save myself the trouble, and you the time, and simply state that Diamine Graphite is an almost identical twin of Diamine Grey but there are actually a couple of very small (but key) differences.

I reviewed this ink, as I did the previous, in my Kaweco Sport Classic with broad nib and eyedropper conversion.

Bottle and pricing
This being Diamine, a bottle sells for around $12.95, and it holds 80ml / 1.7oz. That makes it $0.16 per milliliter, or very affordable, in other words.

Color and saturation
Jumping right into the differences between Grey and Graphite, there are two things here that separate the two.

First, Graphite is a darker ink, edging even closer to black. You can clearly tell it's still grey but feels black when wet, turning lighter as it dries up.

Second, the color isn't really a neutral grey. To my eye, there are faint traces of green/khaki in it. Is this unpleasant? Not at all, in my opinion. Now, if you're looking for a perfectly neutral dark grey, you might be better served elsewhere but I find this ink very attractive. In fact I think I prefer it to Diamine Grey.

Here's a better comparison between the three grey inks I've tested so far, from lightest to darkest: J Herbin Gris Nuage, Diamine Grey and Diamine Graphite:

Gris Nuage vs Diamine Grey vs Diamine Graphite

Like its lighter sibling, Graphite shows some very nice shading, especially when used with a broad nib such as my Kaweco Sport.

Diamine Graphite and Kaweco Sport

None that I could see.

Diamine Graphite is darker still, meaning that it ghosts a little bit more on cheap paper. It might even bleed a bit if you're using a nib with ample flow but that won't be an issue on good paper.

Flow, lubrication, and smoothness
Like its sibling, Diamine Graphite flows smooth as silk, and also wet, the way I like it.

Drying time
Drying times on various papers match, once again, those of Diamine Grey. About 5 seconds for cheap paper and 15 on Rhodia, but bear in mind that I used the broad nib which typically takes longer to dry.

Smearing when dry

Water resistance
For a regular ink, Diamine Graphite shows surprisingly good water resistance. After 1 minute exposure under flowing water, some of it has washed off but most still remains, leaving the text legible. You might notice that some of the dark green undertones are exposed by the water.

Once again (that makes it twice in a row) I'm impressed by a grey Diamine ink. I find Graphite even better than Grey, maybe because it's more assertive, being darker. All the good qualities that I found in Diamine Grey are reflected here, with the added bonus (or disavantage, depending on your point of view) that it gets from the subtle green undertones. Personally I like that because it gives it personality. Having said that, I highly recommend it, provided you are looking for a darker grey ink and don't mind the fact that it is not entirely neutral.

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

Diamine Graphite on photocopy

Diamine Graphite on Rhodia


  1. Another excellent review; thank you. I have to say that, based on your review, I prefer the Grey to the Graphite. I admit that I only own the former but what I like about the Grey is that it is true to its name and not leaning quite so heavily to the blacker end of gray. That is one thing I do not care for about Noodler's Lexington Gray; it's too close to black. Even so, I might have to get a sample just to see this ink in action. ;-)

  2. Thanks! They're both great inks. I happen to prefer the dark one. What do you think of Gris Nuage? That one was waaaay too light for me. More suited for drawing than writing.

  3. I really like Diamine Graphite. Right now I am using it in a Charcoal Safari with the black Lamy Fine nib. After some careful alignment and polishing the Lamy Safari F-nib with Diamine Graphite glides like a high quality 2B wood case pencil. This is the perfect pen/nib/ink combination for doing crossword puzzles on newsprint.

    However, as mentioned in the review this is in-fact a dark green ink; but it only starts to come through with broad wet nibs and/or highly absorbent paper. If you like the peek-a-boo aspect of the green in this ink (as I do) and you want more of it, try Diamine Salamander.

    A nice review of a nice ink. Thanks...

  4. It's a very smooth ink indeed. The Kaweco Sport broad nib isn't a paragon of smoothness but this ink makes it perform much better than normal.

  5. I looked for a nice grey ink forever before finally finding Organics Studio Arsenic. It has lovely shading and superb flow. If you haven't tried it yet, I definitely recommend giving it a go.

  6. I'll definitely give it a try if I get the chance, but I'll have to go through my remaining ink samples first, before they all dry out :)

  7. Based on your comparison photo, the Gris Nuage is just too light. I would not want to use it as an everyday writing ink whereas I think both the Diamine Grey and the Diamnine Graphite are fine for that purpose.

  8. That's exactly right. Gris Nuage is waaaay too light for writing. I can see it being used with a brush or brush pen though.