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