PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review bottle with swatch

Ink of the Week – PenBBS #178 Rose Quartz

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 7 Comments

Next up in my Ink of the Week series is an ink that you probably haven’t seen very often, PenBBS #178 Rose Quartz. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s even made any more. Still, it’s a bottle that’s in my collection and its number came up, so while you may not be able to get a bottle of your own, here are my thoughts on PenBBS Rose Quartz.

Note: Pelikan has just announced that their ink of the year color is also going to be Rose Quartz, but I have not yet seen it and can’t say if it will be at all similar to the color of this ink.

PenBBS #178 Rose Quartz

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. It is a very light pink that I’m sure many people would not see fit for daily use. It isn’t nearly as easy to read as some pink inks, such as Iroshizuku Tsutsuji or Diamine Hope Pink. It has a very pale color with a lot of shading, which can make reading it difficult. In addition to the light color, it is also a fairly dry ink, so when not used in a pen with a wet nib, it can appear even lighter in color.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review writing samples

Here are some writing samples from my ink journal with a variety of different pens.

Despite being a hard-to-read ink, I really like it. Most pens that I prefer to use have more broad, wet nibs on them, which help this ink to look its best. I enjoy writing with it and I really like the way a paragraph of written text looks when using this ink (with the right pen, as you’ll see). My favorite use for this ink has to be doodling. The way it shades truly lends itself to some creative uses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really have much chromatography with water, but that’s not a huge deal. It is also not a waterproof ink and almost completely disappears when it gets wet.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review doodle test

The shading this ink gives is fantastic!

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review chromatography

This ink does not have interesting chromatography with water.

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:

Parker 41 Namiki Vanishing Point Pelikan M200 Desiderata BAMF Montblanc 149

Pens used (L-R): Parker 41, Namiki Vanishing Point, Pelikan M200, Desiderata BAMF, Montblanc 149

Parker 41 (vintage) – F nib

I figured I would not enjoy using this pen with this ink, but I was pleasantly surprised. The fine nib on this pen is fairly wet, which means it put down enough ink to be both visible and to make the writing experience feel nice. While I definitely prefer a broader nib with this ink, a nib that is both fine and wet would work if your preference is a fine nib.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review Parker 41

Writing sample with Parker 41 – F nib

Namiki Vanishing Point – M nib

This was easily my least-favorite pen to use with this ink. The medium nib on this VP writes fairly dry, which is not a good combination with a light-colored dry ink like this. I felt like I was fighting the ink while I was writing. Lines looked faint and boring and reading what I had written was exhausting.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review Namiki VP

Writing sample with Namiki Vanishing Point – M nib

Pelikan M200 – M nib

Now we’re starting to get somewhere. Pelikan nibs are known for laying down a wetter, broader line than their Japanese counterparts and this ink really wants a nib like the medium nib in this Pelikan. The ink looks darker and has more shading than with the medium nib on the Vanishing Point. I’d consider this my baseline pen for judging this ink.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review pelikan m200

Writing sample with Pelikan M200 – M nib

Desiderata BAMF – M nib

This pen is fitted with a medium Franklin Christoph #6 nib. It typically feels like a wet writer and I didn’t have any issues with this ink/nib combination. I will say, though, that looking at my writing samples with this pen, they’re not as dark as with the Pelikan. This may actually appeal to some people more, as there is less shading and the color is more consistent.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review desiderata bamf

Writing sample with Desiderata BAMF – M nib

Montblanc 149 (1980s?) – B nib

This is my favorite combination of the bunch. This Montblanc has a very wet broad nib that is a true pleasure to write with. It put down enough ink to make writing more readable and there wasn’t as much shading as I had expected. I do think that this nib is too big for me to write on a 5mm dot grid (as you can see from the writing sample below), but that doesn’t have anything to do with the ink.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review Montblanc 149

Writing sample with Montblanc 149 – B nib

This is the pen/ink combination that, as soon as I started writing with it, I knew would be great for doodling. After spending an afternoon doodling with it, I can confirm it was everything I had hoped it would be. Lines went down wet and without issue. The shading of the ink really helps add interest to the doodle and the color is dark enough to see without issue (especially when reading isn’t involved).

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review doodle shading

Here’s a detail from the doodle I did.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review doodle closeup

This closeup really shows the amazing shading possible with this ink.


Writing with this ink on a variety of fountain-pen-friendly papers went as expected. With a low-saturation ink like this, I didn’t expect to have any issues with bleed or feathering. It turns out I didn’t. I was surprised to see a bit of bleed through on cheap copy paper, as I didn’t even see that with Rikyu-cha. Maybe it was just the different pens I used? I kind of doubt it, as I used some pretty wet and flexy pens with Rikyu-cha.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review MIdori MD

Here are some writing samples on Midori MD paper.

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review Stalogy paper

Writing samples on Stalogy paper.

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

As you might expect for such a light-colored ink, cleaning it out of pens is no problem. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this in any pen that I own. One thing to be careful of is making sure the pens that you use it in are very clean before you fill them. I filled the Parker 41 and there must have been a bit of residual ink from a previous filling left in the feed, because when I started writing it came out more purple than pink. After some scribbling to get the ink flowing through it, the color started to look the way it should.


I first tried PenBBS Rose Quartz many years ago at a local pen meetup and instantly fell in love with it. I bought a bottle as soon as I found one and have enjoyed occasionally using it ever since. It wasn’t until I started writing this article and couldn’t find it for sale that I realized that PenBBS does not make it any more. It’s a shame, but I understand that it is not an ink that will appeal to everyone. Its light color does not lend itself well to reading, but I personally enjoy writing with it. More than writing, I enjoy doodling with it. I find the shading to be very interesting and dramatic. It is a dry ink, so your pen/nib selection will make a big difference in your writing experience. I prefer it with a wet nib, the larger the better. It seems to play well with fountain-pen-friendly paper. If you can find some for yourself, grab a pen with a wet nib and give it a try!

edit: for anyone interested in finding a similar ink, Mountain of Ink may be able to help

PenBBS Rose Quartz fountain pen ink review

Comments 7

  1. John, I hate to carp, but what is the point of reviewing an ink which your readers cannot obtain? It did occur to me that many of your observations could apply to any pale or lightly hued ink, but if true, that could have been pointed out. Maybe you do not agree with that. I do think it is valuable to point out which pens and nibs are dry writers, which inks are better lubricated and wetter, and perhaps more or less saturated, and which inks may be hazardous to the health of your pen, or perhaps a certain type of pen, like a shimmering ink or ink with particulate matter in it in a pen where you cannot thoroughly (e.g., forcefully with a bulb) flush the section and feed.

    1. Post

      Edward, are you telling me you’ve never read a review for something that you can’t purchase, be it out of your price range or not made anymore? I think that people, especially pen people, enjoy reading about fountain-pen-related things regardless of whether they can purchase them or not. As far as I know, this is the only ink I have (outside of my vintage inks, which are not included in this project) that’s no longer produced, so from now on you’ll be able to purchase any inks I write about.

  2. Gorgeous color, even if not practical. Love it in your Montblanc, but also the Pelikan. I notice you write in all caps. Is that because of the narrow ruling? (I hate ascenders and descenders messing up my page.) (<–Way nerdy.)

    1. Post

      Linda, I started writing in all caps a few years ago when I wanted to change up my handwriting. It kind of stuck and that’s just how I write now. I plan to start working on my cursive at some point, so who knows, my writing may change again!

      1. I’ve always liked the way it looks, but it seemed like it might be tedious to actually write that way. You’ve inspired me to do it! Also, I don’t mind occasionally seeing discontinued inks! It sometimes puts me on a hunt to find something comparable. Maybe it would be nice–if you have the time or inclination–to recommend one or two current production inks that are similar. A bit more work on your part though.

        1. Post

          Writing in all caps is a little tedious at first, but speed definitely comes with practice. I am not an ink expert, so I have no idea what inks are out there these days. I added a link to the Mountain of Ink review of this ink where she suggests similar colors.

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