Cross Violet fountain pen ink cover image

Ink of the Week – Cross Violet

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 2 Comments

This week we’re going to take a look at Cross Violet. I purchased a sample of this ink when I was working on my sheen color post. I thought it was quite nice, so I grabbed a bottle for myself. Let’s take a closer look at this ink and see what it has going for it.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink doodles

You can see a bit of smudging with this ink

Cross Violet

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. It is a rich purple color that won’t be mistaken for anything else. When I think of violet I usually think of a light purple, but this is a true purple color. It’s also not so dark that it could be mistaken for a black ink. If you want a rich, dark purple ink, this is a great one to consider.

It doesn’t have a very interesting chromatography. When exposed to water it just gets lighter and almost turns pink. It isn’t waterproof, but when dry ink gets wet a good amount remains behind on the paper.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink chromatography

There isn’t much to see here with the chromatography

Cross Violet fountain pen ink waterproof

This ink is still fairly legible after being exposed to water

This ink is fairly wet and dry times are on the longer side, but that’s not unusual for a saturated ink. Once dry, this ink has a nice green sheen and low shading. I wasn’t surprised to see that the ink smeared once dry, but it didn’t smear as much as I expected it would. If you’ve had bad experiences in the past with sheening inks smearing while you write, this might be one to consider.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink green sheen

Here you can see the green sheen this ink has

The Pens I Used

Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:

Cross Violet fountain pen ink pens used

Pens used this week (L-R): Esterbrook SJ, Lenoardo, Edison Secretary, TWSBI Eco, Bonecrusher Velma

Cross Violet fountain pen ink nibs

Nibs from this week (L-R): Esterbrook 2556, Leonardo M, Secretary M, TWSBI 1.1 stub, JoWo B

Esterbrook SJ (vintage) – 2556 F nib

This vintage nib isn’t as fine as some fine nibs I’ve used. It is fairly wet, so I actually really liked this combination. It was a pleasure to write and doodle with.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink f nib

Writing sample with Esterbrook 2556 f nib

Leonardo Officina – M nib

This Leonardo nib is fairly dry, but this wet ink made it an enjoyable combination to use.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink m nib

Writing sample with Leonardo M nib

Newark Pen Co. Secretary (Vintage) – M flex nib

This is on the finer side of medium nibs, but it is quite wet. This made the ink look quite dark and gave it some nice sheeny accents.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink m flex nib

Writing sample with Secretary M flex nib

TWSBI Eco – 1.1 stub nib

This TWSBI nib is wide and wet. It makes this ink look super dark and really brings out the sheen. It’s not the best nib to doodle with and it is a little tricky to write with, but I still really enjoyed this combination.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink stub nib

Writing sample with TWSBI 1.1 stub nib

Bonecrusher Velma – B nib

This nib is quite wet put down a line almost as broad as the stub. Still, I found it much easier to use than the stub and enjoyed writing and doodling with it.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink broad nib

Writing sample with broad nib


On cheap paper, this ink didn’t do too bad. It did bleed through, especially with wetter nibs, but I didn’t really see much feathering. On fountain-pen-friendly paper, I did see a tiny bit of bleedthrough on the G. Lalo and Strathmore paper. There was also maybe a tiny bit of feathering with the flex nib, but with all other nibs this ink seems to be well behaved. I’m not going to say it has disappointing performance, but I wish it didn’t bleed through on any of the good papers. Be careful when using with really wet nibs.

Cross Violet fountain pen ink g lalo

Writing sample on G. Lalo Verge de France

Cross Violet fountain pen ink Strathmore Writing paper

Writing sample on Strathmore Writing paper

Cross Violet fountain pen ink clairefontaine basic

Writing sample on Clairefontaine Basic paper

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

There are two types of ink that I think are usually more difficult than others to clean out of pens. Those types are highly-saturated inks and red inks. This ink has strong elements of both, so it tends to linger in pens longer than other inks might. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it didn’t take a huge amount of effort to clean out of my pens this week. While I probably won’t be using it in any of my vintage pens that can’t easily be disassembled for cleaning, I’m not going to think twice about using it in any of my modern pens.


Saturated inks are always a mixed bag. While the colors are bold and beautiful, they tend to smear once dry and are harder to clean out of pens. Cross Violet is no different, but it is not as high maintenance as it could be. Smearing is not as much as expected and cleaning is not that difficult. For such a great color of purple I would say that is is worth the extra effort. If you’re a purple fan and have overlooked this ink, I’d highly encourage you to try it out.

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