Pelikan Edelstein Inks Go Under the Sun

I feel that the harsh news must be tempered.

I LOVE Pelikan pens. It is my favorite modern pen brand. I LOVE Pelikan’s Edelstein inks. They are so vibrant and beautiful. I had extremely high hopes for testing them and having far better results than standard Pelikan inks. (I wrote a travel journal at 17 when visiting Germany and bought my first bottle of Pelikan Konigsblau Tinte—King’s Blue Ink, or Royal Blue by regular English naming conventions. I can barely read it, the ink is so faded after nearly 30 years.)

Look how vibrant and beautiful Pelikan Edelstein inks look when fresh on the page. Do you see what happens to them after 3 months in direct sunlight?

As fate would have it, I bought out an ink collection this past winter. There were more than 270 bottles of ink. Among the bottles were 12 different colors of Edelstein ink and 3 bottles of standard Pelikan inks, which I had not previously tested. Also included in this test are two non-Pelikan related inks.

Assisting me in this endeavor was my ever-more talented fiancé Dawn. You can immediately tell which test sheet is her’s by it being so much easier to see and read.

Pelikan inks were first started by German chemist Carl Hornemann in 1838, making Pelikan one of the oldest and most successful continuously operating ink companies in history. Yet, the company wasn’t really known as Pelikan until chemist Günther Wagner took over the company in 1871 and started using the Pelikan logo. The gemstone-inspired Edelstein inks were first launched with great success in 2011.

Our ink-fast test methodology remains simple. Put one sample in a sunny window for three months and one sample in a dark, cool place and check out the differences.


Pelikan regular inks fare badly in three months of UV light. However, No. 5 Aonibi does very well.

None of the Pelikan inks withstood 3 months of UV light from the sun very well at all.  The beautiful Amethyst turned from purple to a faded brown. Blue-grey Tanzanite also turned colors to a faded brownish. My favorite Sapphire almost completely disappeared. So did Jade, Ruby and Topaz. When applied very thickly, Aquamarine, Olivine, Mandarin and Adventurine kinda held out. Only Garnet seemed to survive mostly intact.

Moving on to the standard Pelikan inks, Brilliant Red almost disappeared completely, turning a very faded yellow. Violet and Brilliant Green also lost about 70% to 80% of their color and visibility.

Our two non-Pelikan contestants were No. 5 Aonibi, which is a lovely blue-black when fresh and Organic Studio “N,” which is a stunningly beautiful sheening blue. Although I’ve never heard of No. 5 Aonibi, it held its own quite well in this test. Of the 17 inks sampled, it won the contest of looking the most like it did when it was first put to paper.

Organic Studio “N” could easily win the contest to be my new favorite blue ink, but it inexplicably turned black in the sun. That is way better than fading to near invisibility, but I really wish it held its true color when fresh on paper.

4 thoughts on “Pelikan Edelstein Inks Go Under the Sun

  1. Mohamed Jaffar

    Dear Sir, I have long wanted to ask about your favourite brand of fountain pen and ink. I am really glad that I got your answer today. You are among the most discerning people when it comes to fountain pen and bottle inks.

    1. Nathaniel Cerf Post author

      Dear Mr. Mohamed Jaffar, Thank you for reading this blog and responding. While I love the color of fresh Edelstein inks, I am very disappointed by their inability to survive UV light. My favorite ink is an ever-changing thing. Right now, my favorite black is Aurora Black. My favorite blue is Diamine Majestic Blue and my favorite non-traditional color is Monteverde Fireopal or Diamine Autumn Oak…or Ancient Copper. 🙂

  2. Bryan

    Kyo-no-Oto inks from the TAG stationery store in Kyoto…great place! No. 5 reminds me of Akkerman’s Laan van Nieuw Oost, another indigo ink. I wonder if Akkerman’s products deteriorate like those of Pelikan, or are more like TAG’s.

    1. Nathaniel Cerf Post author

      Thanks, Bryan! Those are great observations and a great recommendation. Among the many hundreds of ink bottles we will be testing, we have only one Akkerman. (I love their bottles!) However, we will have many more ink tests to come. Coming soon are Diamine, Levenger, J. Herbin and more.


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