SHINAH REVIEWS: Gold Calligraphy Inks!

My very first gold calligraphy ink was a Finetec palette and I thought it was fabulous and that was that. Well, holy crap, I had no idea there were so many different KINDS of gold ink out there! Today, I'm reviewing seven of them and picking an overall favorite =)

Instead of buying 7 full bottles of gold ink, I purchased a GOLD INK SAMPLER SET (Set 1) from John Neal Bookseller. It's a great way to sample 6 different gold inks to choose your favorite. I already had PearlEx, so I threw in a review of that as well.

First up:  PearlEx --  Winsor & Newton -- Kuretake

1) PearlEx

WATER-BASED

PROS:

  • You can buy lots of different PearlEx colors and mix them to create your perfect custom shade
  • You mix it yourself using the PearlEx powder, gum arabic and water so you can get just the right consistency for your nib, writing pressure and paper.
  • Once you get the right consistency, it writes beautifully smooth and opaque
  • Has a beautiful shine once dry

CONS:

  • The pigment is super heavy so the ink needs to be stirred constantly
  • You mix it yourself so it can be tricky at first to get the right consistency
  • It's not water resistant AT ALL - it smudges with even a light swipe of a moistened finger
  • Hairlines are super thin and can be hard to see in certain light

VERDICT: LOVE!!

LOVE the versatility of this stuff and am in danger of collecting way too many colors! The freedom to mix my own colors makes it my go-to for projects that do not need to be water resistant.

 

2) Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink in Gold

WATER-BASED

PROS:

  • It's easy to use right out of the bottle with just a little stir to combine the pigment
  • It's widely available and fairly inexpensive
  • Fairly water resistant for a water-based ink

CONS:

  • It's a little watery which leads to some inconsistency in pigmentation across your strokes
  • The color is a bit more orange-y and not as bright as some of the other options

VERDICT: LIKE

Not my favorite but a good, solid backup choice

 

3) Kuretake Gold Mica

WATER-BASED

PROS:

  • It has a more shimmery finish than the other inks, with tiny flecks of mica that create a brilliant, sparkly look
  • Has a more yellow, pure gold color if that is what you are looking for

CONS:

  • Needs to be stirred vigorously and frequently during use
  • It might have just been my sample, but this ink was pretty watery and not nearly pigmented enough, which led to a very inconsistent look. On white paper especially, my hairlines are nearly invisible. I even tried adding some gum arabic, but it didn't help very much.

VERDICT: Will give it another try - there are GREAT reviews of this ink out there from other calligraphers, so I probably just received a particularly watery sample. 

 

Next:  Spectralite --  Dr Martins --  Emperor's Ink

 

4) Spectralite 18 Carat Gold

ACRYLIC

PROS:

  • Beautifully opaque and pigmented, so hairlines look thin but visible
  • Wonderfully smooth to write with
  • Waterproof, permanent and lightfast once dry

CONS:

  • The color is a more dark bronze/copper color than a true yellow gold
  • If your nose is sensitive, this stuff smells pretty strong
  • The ink separates into brighter gold pigment and dark brown fluid, so it needs to be mixed well before using or the color can be inconsistent around edges of your strokes
  • Since this is acrylic, it does gunk up your nibs more easily and is a little harder to wipe off

VERDICT:  LIKE

 

5) Dr PH Martins Iridescent Ink in Copperplate Gold

ACRYLIC

PROS:

  • Beautiful slightly dark gold color
  • Writes smoothly and has beautiful coverage for a consistent look with visible hairlines
  • Waterproof, permanent and lightfast once dry

CONS:

  • Like all acrylic inks, it does gunk up your nibs more easily and is a little harder to wipe off

VERDICT:  TOTALLY LOVE!!

This is my new go-to gold ink, especially for envelopes and other projects that need to be waterproof!

 

6) Spectralite Private Collection Gold

ACRYLIC

PROS:

  • Beautifully opaque and pigmented, so hairlines look thin but visible
  • Wonderfully smooth to write with
  • Waterproof, permanent and lightfast once dry

CONS:

  • The color is a little lighter than the Spectralite 18K Gold, but is still a pretty dark gold
  • The ink separates into brighter gold pigment and dark brown fluid, so it needs to be mixed well before using or the color can be inconsistent around edges of your strokes
  • If your nose is sensitive, this stuff smells pretty strong

VERDICT:   REALLY LIKE

 

7) Emperor's Sumi Ink Gold

WATER-BASED

PROS:

  • None

CONS:

  • Again, this could've been a problem with my sample, but this stuff was so watery that it was almost illegible on white paper. On dark paper, it looked shadowy and non-pigmented.

VERDICT:  PASS

Just to give you an idea of how water resistant (or not) these inks are, I dipped my finger in water and rubbed it a few times over the end of each line. PearlEx smudged immediately, the Winsor & Newton and Kuretake started to smudge a tiny bit but held up surprisingly well and the acrylic inks DIDN'T BUDGE!

Hope that was helpful! The inks I personally recommend out of the bunch are the PearlEx and Dr. PH Martin Iridescent, with Spectralite Private Collection a close third.

These definitely aren't the only gold inks out there! John Neal Bookseller has a whole second set of gold ink samplers. I'll probably do a review of those in the future too!

Happy Calligraphying =)

WootWoot,

 

MODERN CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHEETS

If you want to up your pointed pen calligraphy game, give my worksheets a try! Each one introduces you to a new alphabet then has pages and pages of letters, words and phrases for you to practice. Print it out at home, put on some music and spend a relaxing time with some creative learning!

GET YOUR WORKSHEETS HERE!