Diamine steel blue is the first teal ink I bought and one I was never without, unfortunately with the number of new inks constantly being released it has been awhile since I have filled a pen with it, when I do I am reminded as to why I like it.
Steel blue is a shade that is supposed to resemble the colour of steel after it has been blued. Bluing steel is a process to protect it from rust, it imparts a blue-grey colour to the steel (this ink is not grey).
In a redgreenblue (RGB) colour space steel blue is composed of 18.4% red, 34.2% green and 47.4% blue, it was first recorded as a colour name in 1817.
When I use this ink I am always reminded of the 2001 film Zoolander. In the film Ben Stiller plays a dim-witted male model with a famous pose called the ‘blue steel’. I know this ink is called steel blue but still...... The look involves pursed lips and sucked-in cheeks made with the eyes fixed on the camera.
The packaging for Diamine inks especially the 80ml bottles is fairly simple with minimal fuss to announce the ink within. The only identifier for the ink is a sticker on the top of the box and the cap of the bottle.
When you open the bottle it is a nice bright turquoise-teal colour. However, chromotography was surprising for its monochromatic appearance.
The swatch on col-o-ring is somewhat misleading and I have taken a picture multiple times with 2 cameras and tried to improve it through editing tools and can’t. The swatch in the flesh is brighter and more green – just lovely!.
The Tomoe swatch is better but it still hard to convey ‘bright’.
For the writing I used a custom pen from Hardy penwrights it had a medium nib. The paper was the usual Rhodia, Tomoe and copy paper.
Starting with Rhodia it is teal on the greener end of the teal spectrum. Very impressive dry time.
On copy paper it was amazingly quick to dry (5 secs) and behaved impeccably with respect to feathering and show through. Sorry no photo - not sure how it got missed.
Last on cream Tomoe and for Tomoe again a very impressive dry time. Inks tend to be slow drying on Tomoe due to the way the paper is made, ink tends to sit on top of the paper until it dries.
Other inks of a similar shade –
I really like this ink. It is one of the first 10 inks I ever bought, I used to always have a pen inked with this, it went to the back of the ink pile as the number of bottles increased but when I received my Hardy Penwrights pens I wanted an ink worthy of them so filled one with this and the other with Diamines oxblood. I have rediscovered my love for this ink, its dry time makes it very user friendly for work.
In previous Diamine reviews I have recommended buying directly from Diamine and I still make that recommendation.
In summary -
Saturation - high
Shading – subtle
Sheen – no
Shimmer - no
Nib dry-out - none
Nib creep - none
Start-up – Excellent
Feathering - no
Drying – Excellent++++
Cleaning - good
Water resistance - not sold as waterproof but held up incredibly well when held under running water