Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink

Cornaline d’Egypte Fountain Pen Ink Review

It was 1798. The French Revolution was almost over, and Jacques Herbin, relocated to Rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois in Paris. In 2017, J. Herbin’s “Amethyste de l’Oural”, the first 1798 Anniversary ink was released and this year, the second in the series, Cornaline d’Egypte hit the shelves.

I received a bottle from Exaclair, Inc., who distributes J. Herbin in the U.S. and I’m thrilled because this is a beautiful ink.

The most common use for a fountain pen ink is writing and calligraphy, of course. I don’t do much of either, but I love using the inks in my artwork. The 1798 inks are intense in color, and highly transparent with a lovely silver sheen.

Cornaline d’Egypte Ink – Look and feel

The Cornaline d’Egypte ink comes in a handsome gray box that contrasts nicely with the orange label. It has a simple design – the label, the Jacques Herbin logo on the front, and …

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink box

… Usage Guidance information on the back, written in both French and English.

J. Herbin Ink Usage Guidance

The bottle has an orange lid and a wax seal stamped “1798”.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink bottle

The bottom has the Jacques Herbin logo etched into the glass.  Silver particles give a sheen to the ink. In the bottle, they settle, looking like gold through the orange ink. I’m almost tempted to just keep the bottle and ink as a coffee table decoration, because it’s fascinating to turn it around and around and upside down and watch the gold swirl through the orange.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink bottle bottom

“Cornaline d’Egypte” translates to “Carnelian Egypt”. Carnelian ranges in color from pale orange to a deep reddish-brown. There isn’t much pale orange to this ink, but it does shade nicely, starting with a rich orange all the way to a deep brownish-orange.  As you might expect, the paper and pen matters. You don’t get as much shading on a smooth, writing paper or with a fine nib. With a large brush and watercolor paper, you get glorious variation.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink Sample

On mixed media paper, with a brush, I was able to get streaks of almost pure metallic silver.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink Sample Page


The silver particles in this ink settle quickly and you need to shake both bottle and pen frequently to keep them distributed.   As the box indicated, it isn’t an ink to leave in your pen for more than a week or so.  I did, for about a month, in two of my pens.  I had to clean out my Pen & Ink Sketchpen with an extra-fine nib to get it working again, but never had a problem with my TWSBI ECO Fountain Pen White B Nib. I don’t recommend leaving any ink in this long unless you’re using it often, unless you’re testing something like I was. And note, I used my cheapest extra-fine nib because I knew it was most likely to clog.

I used both pens to write in a Rhodia Heritage notebook, which has a smooth ivory paper with an orange grid.  You can easily see the shading in the writing.  If you look at the practice strokes on the upper left – I wrote slowly, giving the ink time to flow well, and you can see the silver sheen were the strokes overlapped at the bottom of the stroke.

On the right, I used the extra-fine nib.  There is little shading or sheen.  It’s still a beautiful color, but it’s obvious that the broader the nib the more effects you will get.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink - Lettering Example - Doodlewash

It is difficult to get a good scan or photo of the sheen, but you can see a bit of it in this one. It isn’t an in-your-face sparkle.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink Lettering Detail - Doodlewash

When I used a white, even smoother paper,  with both pens, the orange started at a lighter value and the shading was obvious, but I didn’t see much of the sheen.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink - Pen & Ink Drawing - Doodlewash

Next, I did a drawing in a mixed media sketchbook, again using both pens. The range of color, the shading and sheen was wonderful, though the sheen doesn’t show in the scan.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink - Pen & Ink Drawing Doodlewash

For my last example, I used a brush on watercolor paper over a practice sheet, and I love the results. The darkest areas show how transparent the ink is – it’s is showing the brush strokes of a Van Dyke brown I was trying out.  The sheen and shading are spectacular and show up well, even in the scan.

Cornaline d’Egypte J. Herbin Ink Drawing - Doodlewash


J. Herbin’s Cornaline d’Egypte 1798 Anniversary Ink comes in a handsome box and bottle.  The silver particles appear gold in the bottle and beautiful enough to be an ornament (hmmmm.  I wonder if you could pour this into a clear Christmas ornament?).

The ink shades well and the silver sheen ranges from a slight sparkle to metallic streaks depending on the paper and pen or brush used. The effect is least noticeable on smooth paper with an extra-fine nib, and most noticeable with a large brush on watercolor paper. Even without the shading or sheen I find it to be a beautiful orange color, and when used on watercolor paper I’m totally in love with it.


Exaclair, Inc. sent me a bottle of Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Egypte 1798 Anniversary Ink for the purposes of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews

19 thoughts on “Cornaline d’Egypte Fountain Pen Ink Review

    1. Thank you, Kate! One of the reasons I like using a brush over the pens is because you don’t have to worry about the clogging (plus I just prefer the feel of a brush over a fountain pen). But honestly, I haven’t had much trouble with this ink clogging except in my cheapest finest point pen.

  1. Sandra, you’re wonderfully creative with ink, your art is gorgeous. The Cornaline ink bottle looks like a fancy perfume bottle – imagine a row of them on a shelf. I like using brushes with ink – the value range, even a monochrome painting – is exceptional – as you’ve shown. I think I’ll try this ink – thank you for a great review.

    1. Thank you, Sharon! J Herbin also has a line of 1670 inks with gold sheen instead of silver. The bottle is slightly different but similar, I don’t have them all, but enough that I can say, “Yes! They are gorgeous lined up on a shelf!”

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