Diamine is my favorite brand of ink. It's a brand I wouldn't have tried unless Doug Kennedy at Appointments in Cincinnati had recommended it to me. Appointments is a little shop downtown and they've determined, through trial and error, that Diamine is truly outstanding.
Most people have not heard of it.
I received Monaco Red as a gift this year from a family member and it's just lovely. I would say it's more of a red with brown undertones. I also use Poppy Red (a chipper red) and Saddle Brown (a calm brown). In certain light, I see more browns in the Monaco Red (like the brown in Saddle Brown) but in others, the red is very clear and bright (like the Poppy Red.)
Here, I suppose, is my verdict:
- Monaco Red is the red I would write with
- Poppy Red is a color I would edit with
In the photos below, I used a LAMY Al-Star with a fine nib. The paper I used was of very high quality. It's a Strathmore Arctic White Cover Stock. This is not a paper I would write a letter on, but I wanted to do it on the Strathmore because this stock would be more absorbant than probably most standard papers used for letter writing. You'll be able to see some bleed in the samples below, and I got nearly zero bleed on my Moleskine Volant paper and my Neenah Letterhead Stock.
Below is a smudge test after 10, 15 and 20 seconds. On my Moleskine Volant and Neenah stock, I had smudging only after the 10 second and just a tiny hair at the 15 second.
I love this color.
And I really like taking photographs of handwritten words on paper.
Edit: Here are a couple photos for InkyJournal ;)
The Monaco Red was written with a medium nib.
The Diamine Blue was written with a fine nib.