J. Herbin 1670 – Rouge Hematite

Rouge Hematite was the first ink from 1670 J. Herbin series I bought and I absolutely fall in love from the first sight and this relationship is now going for almost a year or so and is very unlikely it will change soon. It became very popular among fountain pen users and not only over last few months and obviously there are many reasons why. However, there are some issues too…but well, no body is perfect.

Ok, so what is so amazing about this ink? Plenty!

Rouge Hematite belongs to extremely appealing series of 4 inks (soon five) created in relation to 340th anniversary of founding company by J.Herbin, who during his overseas travels was searching for source of new natural components and also new recipes for producing  wax seals and inks. J. Herbin ink was commissioned by Victor Hugo and also produced for king Louis XIV.

Words ‘Rouge’ and ‘Hematite’ describe perfectly the tonal range of this incredible ink. This is a ‘double faced’ ink.  The base well saturated color is deep scarlet red with pinkish undertones. This is what we see mainly when ink is still wet.  However, during drying process something changes and ink transforms from being pretty ‘Rouge’ to become earthy, rusty looking ‘Hematite’.  This earthy looking colour is similar to red ochre, which in fact contains dehydrated Iron(III) dioxide, the same chemical which is commonly called –  ‘rust’. Drying looks almost like oxidation process. Every time I see this I am amazed how cool is that. This whole thing is likely caused by tiny golden almost dust like particles, suspended in the ink which start to really show when ink is getting dry.  Analogous ink, but somehow much different is shimmering Diamine – Red Lustre. I would not say that it shimmers…not at all. It rather shines and the golden shine has interesting greenish hue which makes this ink look so earthy. There is something ancient in this colour…it really gives the feeling of vintage looking ink from  XVII century. When diluted, Rouge Hematite shows more its pink hues.

Beautiful and somehow unique color is not the only thing which makes this ink so precious. Possibly more important than color are its physical properties like flow, consistency and lubrication which are mainly responsible for the feel and smoothness so important when we actually write. And yes, Rouge Hematite is one oft these inks really performs great. The flow and lubrication is beautiful. It gives an impression that it lives in symbiosis with the feed and nib. Sometimes, ink makes a thin almost coat like layer on a nib. There is a small caveat related to this. When it dries on the nib it, the particles tends to deposit. It look that nib is getting rusty. It may disturb many  fountains pen users, but is easy to wipe it off and personally I did not find this problematic, however I am not sure if I would ink very expensive and difficult to disassemble fountain pen. I am using this ink with one of my Noodler’s Ahab pens which is equipped with semi-flexible steel nib from Fountain Pen Revolution (FPR). J.Herbin’s Rouge Hematite made this pen sing across the paper…any type of paper with no problems often characteristic to most Noodler’s pens. Rouge Hematite looks great with all types of nibs I wrote with, but wet flexible nibs enhance the true beauty of the ink. The writing experience is very smooth and there is no feathering or bleeding through. It may show through on chap rough paper, but who on earth wants to use  this gem ink on paper reminding ‘tp’ which is almost like drinking expensive red wine from cardboard cup.

Drying time is moderate and obviously depends greatly on nib and paper used. But who cares? Especially, when observing drying process is so so cool.

Rouge Hematite is not water resistant ink, but even with 2-3 passes some text remains (especially on rougher paper), but less than J. Herbin Bleu Ocean. I would not recommend to spill it over the hands.It stains and even when you wash your hands, pink stains could stay for a long time.

J. Herbin – Rouge Hematite comes in beautiful squared 50 ml bottles, which have pretty wax seal like 1670 label and waxy cap. Very elegant, but unfortunately due to very narrow neck not practical and in case of bigger pens is almost impossible to use. This is a really pity, because Rouge Hematite is a great ink, worth being a representative of 340 J. Herbin anniversary  edition. Is absolutely gorgeous and writing is a real joy. Definitely recommended to those who like earthy colors and to those who do are not to experiment with shiny or glittery inks too. However, may not be for those who like classic colours and do not like reds, especially with light pinkish undertones.