J Herbin Annniversary 1670 bottles

What’s Next For J. Herbin Anniversary Ink?

J Herbin Annniversary 1670 bottles

We have a quick look back at the golden lineage of J. Herbin Anniversary Inks and their beautiful shimmers. What do you think will be next?

In the Beginning

In the beginning, the humble 1670 Anniversary Inks started with a single incarnation called Hematite Red. This was one of their first inks to introduce a gold like reflection in the ink itself to add some magic to your writing. Although a brilliant red with a fantastic sheen, it never really garnered much critical acclaim but did start a small following. Not sure why, it is still a beautiful ink anyday.

(left: old formula, right: current formula)

J Herbin Anniversary 1670 Hematite Red old
J Herbin Anniversary 1670 Hematite Red new

J. Herbin went back to chemistry lab and had re-formulated the ink with real gold particles and came back with the ground breaking Ocean Blue. People started noticing that this was a serious line with a luxiourious look. Hematite Red was reformulated the same way and came back with a big revival. This will go down as a defining moment in the history books that helped define the gold/silver particle ink craze we have grown accustom to. With the foundations now set in place we were eager for the next.

J Herbin Anniversary 1670 Ocean Blue

All expectations flew out the window when Stormy Grey arrived at the scene. The build up in anticipation for this was on cloud nine and somehow when the ink was released we reached cloud ten. Oh boy did people go bananas for it. A classy look of gold shimmering upon a dark grey canvas. You could just about get away with it on office paperwork 🙂

J Herbin Anniversary 1670 Stormy Grey

You would think the story would have reached a climax but the 1670s had a super secret weapon for the next release. Emerald of Chivor, or as I refer to it as the Holy One. Our beliefs of gold and sheen shaken to the core by the unfound beauty that had been revealed to us. There will not be another ink like this in our generation. We have witnessed peak ink.

J Herbin Anniversary 1670 Emerald Of Chivor

Now surely we must be on the ink plateau, it can’t get better can it? No, nothing will ever come close to the Holy One, but among the rest Caroube De Chypre holds it’s own as a pleasant golden brown. Even if for it’s unfortunate choice of picturing on the box…

J Herbin Anniversary 1670 Caroube Chypre

With the Famous Five now set firmly in stone, that leaves us with a big question, what’s next? Will they be able to recreate another Emerald Of Chivor? What do you think will be next?

Oh and if you’d like to own one of your very own bottles, you can the get inks here: J. Herbin Anniversary Inks.
Swabs were done on Tomoe River paper, 68gsm, white found in the Taroko Design notebooks.

P.S. Remember to keep those pens clean to keep the gold flowing!

the price of ink

Q&A: Is Bottled Ink Cheaper Than Cartridges?

The Price Of Ink

the price of ink

It is a question often asked – is bottled ink cheaper than cartridges? Is it more economical to buy ink in bottles or go for the simplicity of cartridges? And if it is cheaper, how much cheaper is bottled ink? Well I decided there was only one way of resolving this problem – find out how much ink costs pound for milliliter. And with the results in we have a clear winner and sort of an answer to the question.

Is bottled ink cheaper than cartridge ink?

Bottled ink - Price per ml

Diamine 8p per ml
Lamy T52 19p per ml
Diamine Shimmer 20p per ml
KWZ 22p per ml
Lamy T51 22p per ml
Blackstone 23p per ml
Herbin D 23p per ml
KWZ Iron Gall 28p per ml
Herbin Scented 30p per ml
Herbin 1670 Anniversary 30p per ml
Robert Oster 30p per ml
Edelstein 34p per ml
Herbin Mini 38p per ml
Kaweco 40p per ml
Herbin 1798 Les Encres 42p per ml
Blackstone Barrier 47p per ml
Kyoto 50p per ml
Colorverse 56p per ml
Pilot Iroshizuku 64p per ml

Cartridges - Price per ml

Lamy T10 Cartridges 20p per ml
Monteverde Cartridges 24p per ml
Kaweco Cartridges 32p per ml
Herbin Cartridges 55p per ml

Well, the simple answer is yes – bottled ink is cheaper than cartridges. However it is surprising how little there was in it, in some cases not at all. Take Lamy ink – at 20p per ml in T10 cartridge form it isn’t that much more expensive than bottled T52 ink which comes in at 15p per ml. And Kaweco ink cartridges actually came in cheaper than their bottled ink. But if you want real value then of course a bottle of Diamine ink will see you through for a long time with an 80ml bottle costing just 8p per ml.

To be clear, these results were based on our retail prices as of 1 May 2017, across all bottled and cartridge inks in our range. For cartridge ink there was a small problem because no one seems to quote the volume of a cartridge, but general consensus seems to suggest that a small cartridge (e.g. Kaweco or Herbin) is 0.9ml and a larger cartridge like the Lamy T10 is 1.5ml so I based all calculations on those volumes.

colour choice

What Is Our Favourite Colour?

colour choice
The team in our colour choice. See, we do like the colour we chose!

And what does it say about us?!

Here at Bureau we spend a lot of time choosing colours for our products, everything from notebooks, bags, pens and of course inks. Everyone here has their favourite, usually reflected in their clothes, but also in their ink choice. But what does your colour choice say about you?

We decided to investigate with a thoroughly non-scientific piece of research and found that even the most sceptical (that would be me) found something to cling on to. Some of it was spookily accurate so check out our findings and see what you make of it all.


Lovers of black typically have a secretive, hidden nature and an air of mystery. It can be sophisticated and elegant with artistic and intuitive leanings but can hide vulnerabilities, creating a barrier between you and the outside world.

Jo’s Choice

I feel black has a bit of a bad rap here but I do like pink too so maybe I have tempered my dark side a little. My current ink choice is Diamine Moon Dust, a sort of black/grey with silver particles.

colour chart black
Colour chart red


Those who love red are pioneering, ambitious and strong-willed. They tend to be optimistic, confident and competitive with great determination and drive. They are also risk-takers and crave attention.

Dominic’s Choice

I chose red before reading the description of it and so I am having to retro-fit that description around myself. Pioneering? Well… maybe. Ambitious? OK. Strong willed? Is that the same as stubborn? Whatever, red it is. Occasionally in what I wear, sometimes in my pen (Robert Oster Fire Engine Red is there right now and it’s a stunner), and always in my choice of football team (Arsenal, since you ask).


If you love green you will be down to earth, practical, calm, loyal and frank. Good in a crisis and quick to learn, your reputation is important to you and you like to belong to social groups.

Mishka’s Choice

I have hundreds of pens and more inks than Bureau so my current ink is hard to define. One of my all time favourites is Herbin Vert Olive though and I am just about to put Diamine Golden Oasis in a pen.

Faisal’s Choice

I find green very calming and my current choice is Herbin’s Lierre Sauvage which reminds me of the peace and tranquillity of forests.

colour chart green
colour chart blue


If blue is your go-to colour then you are likely to be conservative, reliable and trustworthy. You think before you act and you are genuine and sincere, taking your responsibilities very seriously.

Des’s Choice

In all honesty I don’t write much, I’m a computer guy, I type it up and print it off. If I do write though, I use blue, always have. Current ink choice is Lamy Blue.


Purple indicates a sensitive, compassionate and understanding nature, sensitive to hurtful comments, dignified, creative and perhaps a bit unconventional. You are a perfectionist and a good humanitarian.

Armi’s Choice

I have Diamine Purple Pazzazz in my TWSBI Eco and I write with it daily here at Bureau and at uni. My notes are definitely unconventional and hard to follow but purple makes them magnificent.


Colour chart purple
colour chart yellow


You are happy, fun to be with, creative, analytical and independent. Though methodical in your thinking you can still be impulsive and are prone to snap decisions. Yellow lovers tend to prefer small groups of close friends rather than big social groups.

Emma’s Choice

I’m using a brown ink at the moment but accenting it with a yellow felt pen to give my diary a bit of colour. Current ink choice: Herbin Caroube de Chypre.



Unsurprisingly, pink is strongly connected with the feminine side of our nature, in both women and men. A love of pink is associated with a warm, kind and generous nature. The maternal instinct is strong and care of others is paramount.

Monica’s Choice

I love pink and as a passionate animal lover I have to agree with this. My current ink is Diamine Hope Pink.



colour chart pink
colour chart orange


If you have chosen orange then you are probably warm and optimistic as well as friendly and good natured. Likely to be a bit flamboyant, you are often the life and soul of the party and need people around you.

Sadly we had no takers for orange but if this is your choice then we can wholeheartedly recommend Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin  or Herbin Orange Indien.


If grey is your choice then you are likely to be unemotional, neutral and impartial. Other traits include practicality and calmness and you are likely to want to keep the peace. Your cool nature can come across as indifference though and you are no attention seeker.

Pawel’s Choice

I have a lot of pens with different inks including grey but at the moment I am using an orange – Diamine Ancient Copper though I am definitely not flamboyant!




colour chart grey
colour chart brown


If it’s brown then you are likely to be steady, reliable and approachable. You are hardworking with a dry sense of humour and people like to confide in you. You make a great friend and family is very important to you.

Again, no one claimed brown as a favourite so we simply don’t know if it is spot on or not. If you are a brown lover though we still have the very amazing Herbin Caroube de Chypre – brown with flecks of gold. So pretty.


This indicates someone who is neat and immaculate in appearance and presentation. Well balanced, positive and careful, the white fan has good self-control, high standards and is very discreet.

And no takers for white though it is quite hard to write in so probably just as well. If you want to then we do offer the Herbin white ink but you must never ever put it in a fountain pen! Dipping pens only please.

colour chart white
what ink is in my pen?

What Ink Is In Your Pen?

what ink is in my pen?

Here's what's in ours!

I’m always fascinated by the inks we all choose to use, and just a bit envious if I am honest! It seems that we also change our inks on an amazingly regular basis – when I started out with the idea to do this post last week I could swear that there were other inks in use but they had all changed by the time I got everyone to write out a short line with their ink of choice, and photographed it.

Who chose what?

diamine imperial blue
Dominic is using Diamine Imperial Blue ink
diamine ancient copper ink
Pawel is using Diamine Ancient Copper ink
j. herbin lierre sauvage
Faisal is using J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage ink
caroube de chypre ink
Emma is using J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre 1670 ink
diamine shimmer moon dust
Jo is using Diamine Shimmer Moondust ink
lamy pacific blue
Mishka is using Lamy Pacific Blue ink (amongst many)
j. herbin perle noir
Armi is using J. Herbin Perle Noir ink

So what ink are you using? Please do let us know with a comment below.

winter stationery

Winter Stationery

anatomy of winter stationery

Anatomy of a winter stationery scene

As we clear up after Storm Doris and the newspapers are full of winter weather bombs, it’s time to squeeze in a quick winter stationery blast from the colder recesses of our warehouse. Inspired by the obvious lead item – the Field Notes Black Ice edition was create with winter in mind – I assembled a collection of wintery themed stationery. Enjoy them all before the first green shoots arrive, spirng is upon us and everything goes green and yellow.

From Nordic Blue notebooks to Stormy Grey ink it might seem that there is a lot of winter stationery to choose from. In fact it proved very hard to find anything suitably themed around the idea of winter, especially if you try and avoid Christmas!

With help from Monica I did get there but it maybe says a lot about our aspirations that colours and products are notably leaning towards more hopeful seasons. Spring and summer obviously encourage positive thoughts and so people make and name their products and we duly buy them. Winter turns us off. That’s my theory anyway – here’s what I found in the meantime:


News: The Bureau Shop Is Open

bureau shop - lamy

It's been several years coming...

There’s a long back story to this which we will skip over, and get straight to the big news that we have opened a shop. We started out with a shop way back in 1995, in the bright lights of the West End, so it’s sort of going back to our roots, but then it’s also a long way from Great Newport Street to Scrubs Lane.

It’s certainly not a high-street shop but you can come by, browse, test and buy. The focus of the shop is really around pens, books and inks. Somewhere you can come and test out different pens with different inks on different papers and work out what works for you.

the bureau shop

We took inspiration from our appearance at the London Pen Show last autumn where, with KWZ Ink, we let people test out all their inks and it created a real buzz. In our new shop you can test out pens from Lamy as well as J. Herbin, TWSBI and Kaweco.

Perhaps of most interest will be the range of inks, and with some very generous support from the good people at Diamine we can offer their full range of inks to play with, as well as other inks.

Throw in some great paper from Rhodia, Taroko and others and what the shop won’t offer in terms of size and high-street glamour it will make up for in terms of being able to actually try before you buy.

The shop does come with some big caveats around location and hours. It is open during our office hours only, and we cannot offer parking. There is street parking outside (metered), and it is not the most glamourous of locations but don’t let Scrubs Lane put you off. Cold industrial wasteland on the outside, warm and inviting on the inside.

Closest tube station is Willesden Junction (approx. 10-15 min walk) or the 220 bus stops right outside (Hythe Road stop).

Opening hours

Monday to Friday, 9.30 to 5.00

A big thank you to the following suppliers who have very generously supported this venture by providing samples:

Diamine Ink



The winner - Lamy Safari Dark Lilac Fountain Pen Special Edition

Who is the most special of all…?

The results of our 'Special Edition Stationery of the Year 2016' competiton

We recently ran a competition to win some now-unavailable special edition stationery. To enter you had to vote for your favourite special or limited edition item of stationery which we had featured during 2016. There was a surprisingly long list drawn up, of 16 items. And when the competition had closed we were left with a nice little table from 1 to 16 which I thought made for interesting reading. Interesting enough that it was worth sharing with everyone, so here it is.

The winner - Lamy Safari Dark Lilac Fountain Pen Special Edition

No.1 – Lamy Safari Dark Lilac Fountain Pen

Perhaps no surprise that this should win – the clamour for a purple Safari pen had been building for years, online forums had championed it, petitions demanded one. So when Lamy announced that 2016 would be the year the Safari went purple…well, it sold! So well that it has long since sold out and we can’t offer any for you to buy now. You can get get the Safari in 8 other colours but if purple is your thing you’ll be disappointed.

Click here to see the Lamy Safari fountain pen

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen vs J. Herbin Fountain Pen

Lamy Safari vs J. Herbin Fountain Pen

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen vs J. Herbin Fountain Pen

Head to head review


The Safari fountain pen has been a staple of the Lamy brand since the 80s, and while we at Bureau might not have stocked it for quite as many decades, we’ve definitely welcomed it as a permanent addition to our stock. The J. Herbin fountain pen is a relative new comer, having started stocking it towards the tail end of 2014 – but it’s proven a popular seller, especially when paired with a J. Herbin ink tin. As a newcomer to Bureau myself, I thought it’d be interesting to compare the two from the point of view of someone not quite as well versed in the world of fountain pens as other members of our team.


Style is always a touchy subject, so full disclosure – you might very well disagree with my views on this. If you’ve read some of my staff reviews you’ll know I’m quite the fan of industrial, minimalist, and functional design – most of which the Safari pen covers. Every line on the pen has clearly been carefully considered, from the flat edges of the barrel that curve around the ink level window and flow into the sculpted grip section, to the chamfered edge of the cap – it all suggests an excellent grasp of design that doesn’t compromise functionality for the sake of looking good. For such a relatively inexpensive fountain pen, it is an absolute pleasure to look at.

On the other side is the J. Herbin fountain pen, and next to the Safari it’s quite boring – disappointing even. While the design is simple it’s not really that interesting. Almost the entire body of the pen is a clear plastic, with some chromed plastic accents finishing off the cap, clip, and barrel ring. It’s a very safe and standard design, even down to the flourish on the nib. I found it quite difficult to write about the style of the pen, simply because it is so inoffensive – other than the scuff prone chrome orb on the top of the lid which I personally think detracts from the pen more than help it. Having said all that, seeing the ink in the feed of the pen is a very redeeming feature, as it pools nicely just below the nib as you write.

Both pens feature the respective company branding, and both work well to be subtle and refined – the Herbin pen does this with slim, silver lettering on the side of the cap while the Lamy has a cleverly debossed lettering at the end of the barrel.

Scores: Lamy – 9/10. Herbin – 6/10

Lamy Safari fountain pen

The standout feature of the J. Herbin pen is the completely clear barrel design, turning the entire pen into an ink level window – you’d be hard pressed to unknowingly run out of ink with this pen. The J. Herbin pen is quite a bit shorter (2.5cm capped, 3cm uncapped to be exact) than the Lamy pen, ideal for slipping into a pocket and has a no-frills clip on the cap. The pen uses the international standard cartridge type, so finding cartridges that fit the pen beyond J. Herbin’s own shouldn’t be a problem. Be wary of putting this pen down with the cap off, it’s an extremely adept roller – it’s found its way under my desk a fair few times during this review.

The Lamy pen also features the ability to view the ink level, however it does this with an understated oblong cut-out along towards the grip end of the barrel. The Lamy features its iconic (and very strong) clip on the cap, but it’s what is underneath that cap that is the Safari’s standout feature in my eyes – the swappable nib. Lamy provides a variety of nibs from extra fine to broad and everything in between, and swapping out your nib is a simple tug away. You’ll find the Lamy less likely to roll away from you on the desk, due to the barrel not being a perfect cylinder – it’s been flattened along two sides that helps prevent it from rolling (although once it gets started it’s just as spritely as the Herbin).

Scores. Lamy – 9/10. Herbin – 7/10


Personally I always prefer a larger or longer pen, as I find them far more comfortable to hold. In this regard, the Lamy Safari is one of the more pleasant to hold pens that I’ve used so far – the triangular moulded grip provides an ergonomic and comfortable position to hold the pen, while the long barrel rests snugly in the crook of the thumb and forefinger. If you go for the Charcoal or (now likely sold out Dark Lilac) the pen is even better to hold due to the matt, texturized finish. Whether you post your pen or not is of course a personal preference, however I find that doing so causes the Safari to become a little top heavy, and the lip of the cap can scratch against my hand while writing.

The overall writing experience with the Safari is very pleasant, with the fine nib gliding smoothly across the page, and with good ink flow. I’ve found the Lamy nibs to be quite forgiving when it comes to finding the “sweet spot” of where the nib writes best.

The J. Herbin pen, unfortunately, is a different experience. I have to knock some points off for the size of the pen, as I mentioned earlier the smaller pens just don’t sit as comfortably in my hand as I’d like. Luckily, posting the cap doesn’t drastically affect the balance, as the pen is very light – nor does the lip of the pen cap get in the way due to the shorter barrel letting the cap sit lower overall. The grip section of the Herbin pen is a simple tapered cylinder, and isn’t outstanding, I find it a little bit slippery and find myself having to hold it a little tighter than the Lamy.

The nib on the Herbin is much finer than that of the Lamy, comparable to their Extra Fine nib. Unfortunately this means the pen is a bit more temperamental with regards to the position of the nib on the paper – angle the pen out of the sweet spot and the writing experience becomes scratchy and unpleasant. However, I did find myself adjusting to it fairly quickly and once you find that angle the writing is much smoother, albeit not quite as smooth as the Lamy fine nib.

Scores. Lamy Safari – 9/10. Herbin – 7.5/10

J. Herbin fountain pen


With the Lamy and Herbin pens costing £13.95 and £8.95 respectively, neither of these will break the bank. Taking into account the features presented by both pens, I find that despite the higher price you’re getting about the same value for money out of both pens, with a slight edge towards the Lamy. For an extra £5, you get a better build quality and the bonus of easily swapped nibs with the Lamy, although the possible downside of being dependent on Lamy’s proprietary cartridges (though we do stock Monteverde Lamy-compatible cartridges, which provide more colours than Lamy’s standard offering, the odd special edition ink excluded). Of course you can always add in a Z24/Z28 convertor for £3.75 and use any ink you could imagine. Meanwhile the J. Herbin pen may not be as nicely built, nonetheless it does have the benefit of using the international standard cartridge type, therefore being compatible with a wider range of manufacturers. It’s worth noting that the Herbin cartridges have a capacity of about 0.8 – 0.9ml, about a third less than Lamy, although how noticeable that’d be in daily use is up in the air.

Scores. Lamy – 8/10. Herbin – 8/10


Going in to this review I knew I’d be quite biased towards the Lamy, as the design and size of the pen immediately appealed more to me than the Herbin. While I can’t quite look past some of the Herbin pens personal faults (the slipperiness being the worst offender), I’m not quite as put off by it after a week as I thought. I’ll likely always pick a longer pen given the choice, but I don’t think I’ll turn up my nose if I’m passed a shorter pocket pen – once I found the sweet spot of the J. Herbin nib it became a very pleasant and capable writer. For the price, I feel like the J. Herbin pen would be a very nice choice for people looking for a pocket-sized pen, especially with the multitude of fantastic ink colours that J. Herbin provide.

Total scores: Lamy – 35/40. Herbin – 28.5/40

Click here to see the Lamy Safari fountain pen

Click here to see the J.Herbin fountain pen

NB: All details correct at time of publishing

Please also note that Pawel has customised his Safari pen to be a ‘Stormtrooper’ pen, so that’s with an Al-Star front piece and a black clip. Possibly a side line for us one day…