Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink cover image

Ink of the Week – J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 4 Comments

This week we’re going to take a look at J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor (or just Emerald of Chivor). You might also see it referred to as Èmeraude du Chivor by some people or sites. For some reason it is sold with both names. I know that one is the French name, but I don’t know why both are available outside of France. Anyway, I was really hoping that this ink would come up during this project. It is one of my forever inks and is the only shimmer ink I use on a regular basis. Why do I like this ink so much? Read on to find out.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink doodles

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. The base color of the ink is a rich, dark green, similar to an emerald! In addition to the green ink color, this ink has gold shimmer added to it. This adds a nice extra dimension to this dark-colored ink. But wait, there’s more! This saturated ink also has a great red sheen. Together, the color of the ink plus the sheen and shimmer make this (in my opinion) one of the most beautiful inks around. I love doodling with it, but writing with it is also very satisfying.

This ink doesn’t have an interesting chromatography. When it gets wet it just becomes a lighter green, it doesn’t separate out into different colors. It isn’t very waterproof. When exposed to water, it turns into a smeary mess.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink chromatography

This ink doesn’t have an interesting chromatography

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink waterproof

This ink isn’t very waterproof

As you’d expect for such a saturated ink, it has longer dry times. It also has quite a bit of sheen with wetter nibs. Thanks to all that sheen, it is very prone to smearing once dry. One interesting thing about the sheen is that it doesn’t always seem to show up when you’d expect it to. For example, in the main image for this blog post, there isn’t a bit of sheen on the paper that I used. Other inks have shown sheen on this same paper. I also had a conversation with a friend on Instagram who bought a bottle and was disappointed when they couldn’t get it to sheen with their favorite notebooks. It turns out it just is a little picky about sheening depending on the pen and paper you use.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink smudging

You can see this ink smudged anywhere I touched it while doodling.

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:

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink pens used

The pens I used (L-R): Lamy Safari, Waterman 92, Leonardo, TWSBI 580, Sailor Pro Gear

The nibs I used (L-R): Lamy F, Waterman M flex, Leonardo M, TWSBI B, Sailor Zoom

Lamy Safari – F nib

I have used this ink quite a bit since I first purchased it years ago and don’t think that I have ever used it with a fine nib. Now I wonder why I never tried it! Although I love it in a broad, wet nib, this Lamy fine was truly a pleasure to write with. I didn’t see as much sheen and shimmer as with wetter nibs, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink fine nib

Writing sample with the fine Lamy nib

Waterman 92 (vintage) – M flex nib

Woah, has this pen always been this wet? This is a wet ink, but this ink seems extremely wet in this pen. While I felt a little out of control writing with it, I love the way it looks once dry! Something happened while writing with this pen that has happened in the past with this ink (and I’m sure is common to most shimmer inks). I ended up with a lot of shimmer all coming out at once so part of my writing looks like it’s almost only gold shimmer.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink m flex nib

Writing sample with M flex Waterman nib

Leonardo Officina – M nib

This Leonardo nib is very dry, so writing with this ink was a very different experience than the previous two pens. It hardly shows any sheen, but still shows the shimmer. It actually shows quite a bit of shading and you can see the true color of the ink. Still, I use this ink for some dark green color and nice sheen, so this combo doesn’t do it for me.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink m nib

Writing sample with M Leonardo nib

TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR – B nib

This TWSBI nib is quite wet and really shows off the sheen in this ink. It isn’t so wet that I had a hard time writing with it. I also really enjoyed doodling with this combo.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink b nib

Writing sample with B TWSBI nib

Sailor Pro Gear – Zoom nib

This Sailor Zoom nib is extremely wet and broad, making it almost impossible for me to write with, at least when paired with this wet ink. That’s not typically why I use this pen, though. I love this combination of pen and ink for doodling. The nib shape and size are somewhat unique amongst the pens that I own. Similarly, the ink is quite unique. Together, they make a great combo for doodling.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink zoom nib

Writing sample with Sailor Zoom nib


On cheap paper, all pens bled and feathered. On the Leuchtturm paper, every single pen bled through to the other side and a few of them feathered. On the Oasis, there was a bit of bleedthrough with most of the pens, but no feathering. On the Cosmo Air Light there was no bleedthrough or feathering. Definitely don’t plan on using this ink on cheap paper. In fact, I’d suggest only using it on premium fountain-pen-friendly paper.

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink leuchtturm paper

Writing sample on Leuchtturm paper

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink cosmo air light

Writing sample on Cosmo Air Light paper

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink profolio oasis

Writing sample on Profolio Oasis paper

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

Using an ink that is both saturated and has shimmer in it has a high potential for a difficult cleaning situation. I found this ink flushed out of pens fairly easily, but a good amount remained in the feed and required soaking to fully remove it. This means pens with converters and removable nib units were much easier to clean than a piston-filler or vintage lever-filler. How about the shimmer? As with pretty much any shimmer ink, it is nearly impossible to completely clean all of the shimmer out of your pen without completely disassembling it. If this is something that bothers you, this ink (and any shimmer ink) are not for you.


Emerald of Chivor is not going to be for everyone. I really enjoy using it, even though it is somewhat fraught with peril. It isn’t that easy to clean out of pens, has longer dry times, bleeds through some papers, and is prone to smearing once dry. Despite all of that, it is favored by many people, myself included. The color is beautiful and the sheen and shimmer add an extra dimension that really makes it fun to use. It is an ink that seems to be instantly recognizable by anyone who has used it. Unless you’re very opposed to shimmer inks, I’d highly suggest you try a sample of this ink at some point.

I’ll leave you with a few images of doodles I’ve done with this ink:

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink doodle 1

Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink doodle 2

Comments 4

  1. I just tried a sample of this ink in the last week or so. It surprised me in the swatches I made. My personal favorite in this line is Stormy Grey but I could see myself using Emerald of Chivor for ink art,

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  2. I tried Rouge Hematite when that first came out and didn’t understand why someone would want to make their writing and cleaning experience that much worse to see some glitter on the page, so I didn’t bother trying any shimmering inks for a few years after that. Being a sucker for teals, I finally decided to buy a bottle of Émeraude de Chivor when that came out and it’s still the only shimmering ink that I find worth the hassle.

    It has to be said though that Herbin does the best job of balancing out the ink characteristics out of all the manufacturers making shimmering inks. There is not so much of it that it just flies off of the paper if you dare look at it, and there is an appropriate amount of high sheen that the dye sort of glues the shimmer to the paper to assist with that. I’ve also found that if you put a ball bearing(from a Platinum cartridge or something) into your converter and invert your pen every line or so, the shimmer particles are small enough that you can easily keep them suspended and have shimmer coming out right to the end of your fill. Make the particles even smaller though, and the shimmer just looks like a uniform coating on top of your writing and you can barely see your ink underneath anymore. They really do a good job.

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      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Rick. This is pretty much the only shimmer ink that’s “worth the hassle” for me as well. I haven’t used many other shimmer inks, but have noticed that other shimmers tend to come off of the page. The ball bearing trick sounds like a good idea. I’ll have to give it a try!

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