I don’t often write ink reviews outside of ‘Ink Of The Month’ but every so often an ink comes along that deserves its own review and Tanzanite Sky is just such an ink.
For anyone not familiar with Tanzanite it is an increasingly rare gem found in Tanzania and its colour range extends from nearly colourless to very deep purple/blue; for more information on Tanzanite see this Wikipedia entry: Wikipedia – Tanzanite
I first took serious notice of Ferris Wheel Press when I read Anne’s review at Weirdoforest Pens where she had both the ink and a Ferris Wheel fountain pen and one of their pins, aka the Junior Scribe Kit. It’s an excellent review of the kit and I recommend you read it if you are thinking of buying one of these kits.
So, this was back in January of this year and after reading Anne’s review I started to look around to see where I could buy a bottle of ink from somewhere a little closer than Canada, where Ferris Wheel are based. I couldn’t find anywhere at the time and so it went on hold until a few weeks ago when I noticed Pure Pens had a page set up for the inks but at the time they were waiting for stock.
Stock arrived and knowing I needed to act quickly, in case the ink sold out, I fired off my order and a couple of days later it was sitting on my desk waiting to be opened. Ferris Wheel talk a lot about drawing inspiration from the ink you use from the moment you receive it and, if I’m honest, I thought this was just sales hyperbole intended to persuade us to buy ink in a pretty box.
I was wrong, very wrong.
I’m happy to admit I’m wrong, what I thought was just a fancy box is so much more than just that; it’s a beautifully packaged and presented bottle of ink.
When you take some time to look at what Ferris Wheel have created it’s obvious just how much time and effort went into the design, manufacture and the choice of materials; it is clear that Ferris Wheel set out to make something special and did not intend to compromise their vision by using anything other than the best materials available.
What you get for your pennies is a round cardboard, two part container, which as you can see from the images has an inner tube which gives you a lovely step on which the name of the ink is printed in gold lettering in English and French, similar text is found on the top of the lid and more again, in light purple, on the base.
The Tanzanite Sky box just like the other inks in the range is printed in a mixture of matching colours and gold and to me the whole design is reminiscent of high-end fragrances and some of the packaging you see in Fortnum & Mason; in short it’s quite a work of art.
Anyway, when you take the lid off, you’ll notice it’s not stuck down it just slides off doing no harm to the box at; a very important point if you are thinking of giving this as a gift. So, once the lid is off, what’s next; well the next thing you see is a velvet drawstring bag and inside this is your bottle of ink.
The bottle is roughly the size of a pool ball holding 85ml of ink and on it is printed in gold lettering is ‘Ferris Wheel Press’ and a tiny gold maple leaf. The cap is gold in colour and shaped like a large hexagonal nut; this is the same idea you will see translated onto their fountain pens where is serves as an excellent roll stop on the cap. It’s things like this that show how much thought has gone into the design, this shape makes the cap easier to hold and consequently the bottle easier to open and close; which I imagine would be very helpful, especially, if you suffer with problems like arthritis.
Now on to the ink itself which is a deep purple/blue, well saturated and having tested it with both a regular medium nib and a 1.1mm stub nib I would definitely say it is a wet ink, however, drying time was perfectly acceptable. As a point of comparison, I put side by side with my favourite purple/blue, Diamine Bilberry, and it appears darker than Bilberry; the nearest match I can find in my collection is Diamine Regency Blue.
When testing I normally I just do a swab and text test but this time I decided I would do something a little different; I did a one, two and three passes with the swab and the text was written using TWSBI Eco with a medium nib. The results were interesting; the swab test does get a little darker with each pass but not significantly whereas the text was very dark from the outset. This particular TWSBI is has a very generous flow rate and in daylight the text looks almost black.
Tanzanite Sky is a lovely ink to use; the flow rate is steady and when tested in normal use I could not get the pen to hard start or skip. Overall this is a great ink to use and one that would be suitable for both work and personal use.
However, it is an expensive ink, at an average of $32USD/£32GBP it’s not going to be an ink you buy on impulse; but when you consider the amount of thought and effort devoted to creating it you realise it’s not just meant to be something special it is something special.
Do I think they could have done anything better, no not right now.
I think what they have done is quite revolutionary. We’re all used to buying square or oblong boxes with our bottles of ink in them but Ferris Wheel want it to be something special and inspirational and I think they have achieved just that and in doing so they have raised the bar and I look forward to them creating some limited editions, maybe a Christmas snowball?
Taking all of this into account the big question is, is this ink worth your pennies?
Whilst I think it is very good value for money I understand it is a lot of pennies for one bottle of ink so if you are unsure then I would suggest looking at the Ink Charger set which contains three 15ml inks for $15USD/£11.99GBP and is a great way to try all the colours before taking the plunge and buying a full bottle.
However, if you are planning to take the plunge and buy a bottle then any of the Ferris Wheel colours are a great gift either for yourself or for the pen and ink addict in your life and anyone finding one of these under the Christmas Tree or in their stocking will be very happy this year.
So, in short, yes, I do think this ink worth your pennies, and I’ll be spending more of my pennies on another bottle or two whilst I wait for their fountain pens to arrive on this side of the world.
Disclaimer: This ink was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.