Shortly after I did my review about J.Herbins' 1670 Emerald Of Chivor ink, Diamine came up with their take on particle inks: a collection of ten colors, aptly named 'Shimmertastic'. Now if you remember my review about Emerald, you'll know that my biggest gripe with this kind of ink in general, is that -while neat and cool to play around with- I didn't really know what to do with them...
Nevertheless, when Frank from Fontoplumo asked me if I wanted to try a couple of the
Shimmertastic colors, I immediately said yes. Color me intrigued, fascinated, amused,... Even though I don't know what to do with them in the long run, there's no denying that they are a lot of fun to mess around with!
But still, my biggest gripe with these 'shimmery' inks is my inability to come up with a good use for them. To make things worse, I've also restricted myself to only using them in cheap, stub-nibbed pens (Because stub nibs get the most out of them, and because I'm still a bit suspicious about their effect on the pens' internals in the long run). Safe to say it'll take me quite a while to empty one of these bottles - if ever.
So far for my rant about them, now let's get on to the things I actually like about the Shimmertastic inks. Because believe it or not, there's quite a few reasons to like them!
Diamine came up with ten different colors, each infused with respectively gold or silver micro-particles, depending on the actual ink color. The range of inks is pretty diverse, with a few bright, vivid colors, as well as some more subdued inks like blue-black, grey and black. The darker inks are not all that bad for everyday use, as they aren't too in-your-face. I received three colors: Night Sky (black), Purple Pazzazz (purple), and Brandy Dazzle (brown-ish).
Performance has been quite good, considering the fact that some stubs are often finnicky and hard to drive, even with normal inks. In general, the Shimmertastic inks are on the wet side, but not overly so. Flow is good, in some cases great even. And they tend to behave rather good, although that does depend on the pen and nib used of course.
Occasionally, I did run into some issues during longer writing sessions, where flow would just stop all of a sudden. Also, it does have some hard-starting issues when your pen hasn't been used for a day or so. I think this behaviour might be due to the particles that seem to settle rather fast (faster than in J.Herbins' 1670 inks), and thus they might block the feed. In both cases, the issue didn't persist, and a quick shake usually solves the issue just fine. If I could give one piece of advice, I'd store my pens nib-up, just in case, so the particles don't settle inside the feed.
Overall, I'm still quite impressed with the performance, even with the hard starts. I've had three pens inked up with the three colors I have, and they haven't been cleaned for about two months or so. So far, I haven't had any major issues apart from what I described above, or at least nothing noticeable.
Of all three, Brandy Dazzle is definitely my favourite color, mainly because of the nice shading. It's just a very nice, and unique color as well. Brandy-brown-orange is a fairly accurate way to descrive what it looks like, I think. It's a warm color, which is accentuated by the gold flecks. What I found is that both Purple Pazzazz and Night Sky have relatively little shading compared to Brandy Dazzle, which is perhaps a bit to be expected. Black inks never really have very pronounced shading, so I wasn't too surprised to see the results there. Purple Pazzazz seems to have an already fairly dark base color, so it's to be expected that color differences where the ink pools aren't all that noticeable.
Colorwise, what I also noticed, is that Night Sky is actually close to a dark grey, instead of a true black. Either way, it does pair up nicely with the silver particles, it definitely looks classy and subdued compared to the others. Purple Pazzazz seems to have slightly less noticeable particles, however I'm pretty sure that might be because of what pen it is in (Lamy Safari 1.5mm nib, slightly dry nib in my experience).
There's no waterproofness (surprise surprise!) But then again, nearly every non-waterproof ink is, well... not waterproof! Just don't go dancing around in the rain, and you'll be fine.
Of course the selling point of these inks are the particles, or at least it should be... I still don't care too much about it, and my opinion still hasn't changed: You should buy these inks first and foremost for the ink, and take the shimmer as a nice extra! I still find it to be more of a gimmick. Perhaps it's nice for decorating cards or letters, or for other artsy stuff, but for everyday use it doesn't add any value.
Decide for yourself if you think these inks are worth it, and if the particles add value to what you'll be using them for. The inks themselves are nice enough, so so you might as well buy them just for the color. The ink comes in bottles of 50ml, unlike the standard 80ml bottles Diamine uses for their regular inks. In the US, these inks retail for around 20 USD, whereas here in the EU, they are only about half of that, at around 12.5 EUR. So if you're buying more than one bottle, it might be interesting to check out a European retailer like Fontoplumo to order from.