The Verdict: TWSBI ECO with J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor

TWSBI ECO with Emerald of Chivor ink

The pre-release photos of J. Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor ink were so dramatic that I was drooling over the stuff well before it was available for purchase. The reviewers often used folded nibs which brought out the shine and sheen in very dramatic fashion. I don’t own a folded nib so I knew that my results would be more subdued, but I still pounced on the ink as soon as it was available. I picked up two bottles as fast as my “BUY NOW” finger could hit “Enter.”


There was a lot of chatter about the suspended gold particles in the ink, and speculation as to whether or not the particles could/would clog a pen’s feed. So I after I ordered the ink I spent some time thinking about the pen that I’d use it in. I decided to steer away from pens that were pricey or very dear to me, and knew I’d want to go with something replaceable, should there be catastrophic cloggage. One of my many Lamy Safaris would’ve been a perfectly fine candidate, as they aren’t costly, and nibs, or even whole pens, are easily replaceable without breaking the bank.


But instead of going the Lamy route, I caved and purchased a couple of TWSBI ECOs— a white one with a bold nib and a black one with a medium nib. I initially decided to forgo the ECO as I wasn’t sure I liked the look, and was content with my 540s, 580s, Vac 700, Micarta, and Minis. That seemed like plenty o’ TWSBIs for one person. But then I got it in my head that an ECO paired with the Emerald of Chivor ink would be the perfect match, and my “no more TWSBIs” resolution evaporated, as many of my pen-themed resolutions seem to do.


So…was that a good move?

TWSBI ECO filled with Emerald of Chivor ink

Hell Heck, yeah!


The TWSBI ECO is a very reasonably priced ($28.99) piston-filler fountain pen available with EF, F, M, B, or 1.1 Stub mm nibs. I find the 1.1 mm to be a little too wide for my handwriting, but wanted a good amount of ink on the page so I opted for both the bold and medium versions. At the time of this review, I’ve only inked the pen with the bold nib and am very happy with the nib’s smoothness and wetness. My small handwriting is still legible and some of the dramatic characteristics of the Emerald of Chivor ink pop on the page, though maybe not as much as would be seen with a wider stub. It’s a good compromise for me—a good amount of ink, some shine, some sheen, and legible writing.


The clear barrel allows for an unobstructed view of the gold sparkles in the ink. I may be easily fascinated, but I have to admit that this sight continues to dazzle me. A quick shake of the pen and the gold particles are resuspended so that they flow onto the page.

On Rhodia paper

On Rhodia paper, I see a good amount of sparkle, but not much of the red sheen. Still, the color is killer and there’s enough pizazz here to make letter writing or journaling, or even to-do lists, fun.

On Tomoe River paper

On Tomoe River paper is where this ink really shines and sheens. It’s hard to capture with my so-so camera and lighting, but there’s a lot going on on this page—red and gold and teal and blue. It’s pretty marvelous.

Tomoe River paper

I have two bottles and expect that this pen will be continuously inked until I run out. I can’t speak to how hard or easy it is to clean a pen inked with Emerald of Chivor as I haven’t done that yet, and it may be awhile before I do so.


Maybe this Emerald of Chivor seemed too good to be true, or over-hyped, but I’m in love with it. It mesmerizes me in the pen and on the page. Especially as the days turn darker and grayer, the surprising pops of color and shine in the words I write make me swoon in an inky kind of way. And for me, the TWSBI ECO is the perfect vehicle—sturdy, transparent, easy to fill (and probably to clean), with an easy-to-swallow price tag—to lay down a smooth rich line.

I love it when a plan comes together.

22 thoughts on “The Verdict: TWSBI ECO with J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor

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  3. Dear Mary,
    I am feeling really inspired by this post and would like to introduce some of this simple glamour into my own writing (although my taste will probably be for J. Herbin’s ‘Ocean Blue’). Before I take the plunge, I wonder whether you have now had any experience of cleaning or refilling the broad-nibbed TWSBI Eco, please? I have read suggestions that the gold flecks are not compatible with TWSBI’s pen design, but would like to know what you have found out in actually using this pen and ink combination.
    Thank you.

    • To be honest, I still have the Emerald of Chivor ink in the pen so I can’t comment about cleaning it out. When I go to use it after a spell, I need to coax the ink to get it going, but then the pen writes fine. I suppose I should see about emptying it to see how cleaning goes!

  4. Hi there,
    After reading your post I went ahead and purchased the same combination. I love the ink and the pen but have noticed that my pen clogs and the ink fails to flow through after leaving the pen unused in a pencil case for a day. Is this normal or am I doing something wrong? 😦


    • Hmmm…I’ve had the ink in the pen since I got it and haven’t had any issues with clogging. If I don’t use it for awhile, the pen will hard start, but I wipe the nib with a tissue, scribble a bit and it starts right up. Do you have a bold nib? Wondering if something finer may clog easier. I also make sure to give the pen a good shake before I start writing again.

  5. This is an excellent review, Mary! I had my share of doubts regarding this ink but you have convinced me to acquire it. I have a trivial curiosity, though. Was the Tomoe River paper you used white, or was it ivory? And which of the two do you think would better complement this beautiful ink?

    • I have the “White” Tomoe River Paper. I put “white” in quotes because it’s still sort of creamy vs. true white. I haven’t used the ivory so I can’t really compare the two, but I do know that the Chivor sheen/sparkle shows up nicely on the paper I have. The broader the nib, the better for seeing that sheen. It’s really cool ink.

  6. I love that ink! I just bought my first TWSBI pen (stub) and am super excited to test it out with Emerald de Chivor! Thanks for testing this. 🙂

  7. Just stumbled across this post. I am a fountain pen addict too, and I prefer the clear version of Eco. Your handwriting is great, by the way. That’s the reason I took this effort to write this comment. 🙂

  8. I’m so happy others like it. Very well writen artical. I put mine in a green twsbi eco with a stub I carry it everyday but only a few forms I can use it on (small spaces wide lines) the color stays up by the plunger untill I spin it in my hands I also put a small stell ball bearing in one and a small spring in another when I’m writing I just tilt back and forth to mix the colors unless I want to Xtra sparkle

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