REVIEW: Jacques Herbin Kyanite du Népal Ink

Kyanite du Népal is the third fountain pen ink from Jacques Herbin’s 1798 line, meant to commemorate the end of the French Revolution and the company’s relocation and expansion that year.

The 1798 inks are notable for their lovely sheen and silver shimmer. They are formulated to resemble the colors of mineral gemstones.  The first year’s was “Amethyste de l’Oural”, the second year Cornaline d’Egypte, and this year, Exaclair sent me a bottle of the new Kyanite du Népal, a beautiful blue with a pink or burgundy sheen.

Kyanite du Népal Ink Test Swatch On Paper

The Video

Kyanite du Népal ​- Look and feel

Kyanite du Népal Trial Ink Bottle

This year, I received a trial bottle of Kyanite du Népal​ ink since it had not yet been put on the market.  You can see the type of bottle that is now available for purchase at my review of last year’s Cornaline d’Egypte.

Looking at the ink in the bottle, at first you might just think it was another blue ink.

Kyanite du Népal sampler ink bottle side view

As you hold the bottle up to the light, you’ll see where the shimmery particles have settled.  Before using, whether pen or brush, you need to shake the bottle to distribute the particles.

I’m using the terms shading, sheen and shimmer in this review.  Kyanite du Népal has all three.  Shading refers to an ink that is darker or a different blue shade according to how thickly the ink is applied.  Sheen is a characteristic of the dye used in the ink and means the ink has two different colors at times.  It appears when the ink is very wet, and the paper is slow to absorb.  This means it won’t show up with all pens or on all papers.  Shimmer occurs when glittery particles have been added to the bottle.

This was a difficult review for me because no matter how many ways I scanned or photographed, I couldn’t pick up the silver shimmer unless I was directly by a light and so close that I could only capture a small part of the page. I was expecting this to some extent because this isn’t my first shimmering ink, but the problem seemed worse than usual.

Example os shimmer quality of Kyanite du Nepal ink

The sheen was even more difficult to catch.  The best example I could get occurred in this photo. You see the burgundy very well and hints of pink here and there.  I accidentally dropped a big splotch of ink on already dry ink and the sheen is most apparent in that splotch. The shading shows here as well.

I’ve seen some reviews where the sheen shows up beautifully so I believe the lack lies with my ability and the paper I have on hand.  I also did my examples when the air was very dry, so it is possible the ink was simply drying too quickly.

Ink blot with Kyanite du Népal ink

By the way, if you decide to try creating your own splats with a syringe as I do in the video, be sure to wear an apron.  Heck, wear 2 or 3 and maybe a Kevlar vest.  Paste the room in newspaper.  That ink comes out with enough force to launch a cannon and it stains – be warned!

abstract ink blot example of Kyanite du Népal

The ink starts out as a dark blue on the paper, but immediately the colors start changing and soon you get beautiful shades of blue and a silvery shimmer.  I used the very last of my sample ink on this splat so it’s extra loaded with silver.

Kyanite du Népal ink blot with extra silver sheen

This splat was done in a Rhodiarama journal with Clairefontaine fountain pen friendly paper, but applied this heavily, the ink does bleed through the paper.  I think what you get on the back is as interesting as the front, and I’ll use both sides for a drawing of some kind later.


Kyanite du Népal shades nicely. It leans to turquoise, but I found the shades of blue you get change according to the paper – particularly on watercolor type papers versus the smoother paper you might use for writing. I’m assuming this has to do with absorbency and sizing.

I don’t actually use fountain pens for writing very often – I seldom write! Too busy drawing and painting! But I love using this ink in my art, whether with pen or brush. Because this is a watercolor site, I’ve focused more on using a brush in this review. I also feel with shimmering inks, like the 1798 line, a brush brings out more of the beauty.

Plus, with a brush, you don’t have to worry about clogging. Particles that shimmer and sparkle in any ink can clog a fountain pen. I haven’t had a problem with the 1798 inks myself, but it’s only common sense to expect it can happen.

Ink drawing by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

This example was done using both a brush and a fountain pen.  Scanned flat on, little of the shimmer or sheen shows, but in real life both are definite.  I used a mixed media style of paper so the different shades of blue really show up.

Kyanite du Népal shimmer example

Notice that characteristic turquoise as well as the shimmer when I photograph the drawing at a slant (I’ll show more of the sheen later).

patterns zentangle art blue ink by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

The ink is so transparent that when you use it over a drawing (waterproof pen works best), the line work shows right through.  It’s fantastic for negative painting.

You can see the shading, but it’s more subtle on paper this smooth.  I think the shimmer is more evenly distributed, probably because there is less tooth to catch the particles.  I didn’t get any of the sheen in this painting.

Even if you have a work with color that you want to liven up, this ink is fantastic for negative painting.

Patterns with ink and wash example

The color doesn’t show through, but it creates a subtle shading in the blue that I love.  I’ve seldom had a problem with the original color smearing, but the paper and the color medium matter. You might want to test a small area before starting your negative painting.  

It might just be me, but this painting makes me think of those 3D drawings where you have to squint to see the image.

The color can also affect the color of the shimmer.  In this painting, the shimmer turned gold in some areas, and more of a silver steel in others.  I don’t know if there was sheen – the color would mask that.  You just never know exactly what you’ll get, except it will be beautiful!

Ink Drawing by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

Orange and blue are complementary colors that make each other pop when next to each other, but can be muddy when actually mixed.  I don’t think these two inks create mud, but it looks like they did from the scan.  I wish you could see the real thing. Last year’s Cornaline d’Egypte really pairs well with the Kyanite du Népal.

Example of pairing Kyanite du Népal ink with Cornaline d’Egypte ink

Where I actually used the orange over the blue, I got a sort of seaweed green that I think worked well for a mermaid painting.  You can see the pinkish burgundy sheen here too, where I used a wet pen over dried ink that I had painted earlier.

Kyanite du Népal – Overall

Kyanite du Népal is the third of Jacques Herbin’s 1798 line of inks.  It has shading, silver shimmer, and a burgundy/rose sheen.  As with any ink that has sheen, the sheen only shows up with wet ink and slow-absorbing paper.  I think it is most likely to show if you apply wet ink over dry. The blue shades from turquoise to true blue and some shades in-between.

The color is highly transparent, making it a good choice for adding color to existing drawings or paintings. The line work will show right through.


Other Reviews on Doodlewash

Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
  1. basai5 4 years ago


  2. LoriCtoo 4 years ago

    You are too funny! Sounds like a hazmat outfit would work best! . These sound and look beautiful! Thanks for the info!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 4 years ago

      Thank you, Lori! I definitely need a hazmat suit. My house is one big paint/ink stain!

  3. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Love their inks and this is going to go on my wish list. Kyanite is one of my favorite stones and I’ve used Kyanite cabochons in my jewelry quite often. What kind of fountain pen are you using? Thanks for the review!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 4 years ago

      Thank you, Mary! I did forget the fountain pen didn’t I. It was a Lamy Vista with a broad nib.

  4. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 4 years ago

    Fabulous!!! 🙂

  5. Fatima Chamkha 4 years ago

    Didn’t know about Kyanite is a gemstone fron Nepal,amazing drawing from you mermaid like the turquois color with a silver glimmer was very interesting!

  6. Karen Fortier 4 years ago

    I have never tried this brand of ink. I have Lamy Safaris so it it works in your Vista if should in one of my Safaris. Love your mermaid!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 4 years ago

      Thank you, Karen! I have a Safari too and the ink does work. Wetter nibs though if you want the sheen and shading.

  7. Walter F Pierluissi 4 years ago

    Another amazing review…. I do enjoy your reviews, informative and entertaining… You are simply amazing… Thank you for taking your time to do such good reviews….

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 4 years ago

      Thank you Walter! Your compliment has made my day!

  8. jayton1 4 years ago

    Great review! Who is the music by?

  9. Author
    Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    Thank you, Jayton! The intro music that I always use is ‘Bongo Madness’ by Quincas Moreira. The rest of the video is ‘Dude, Where’s My Horse?’ by Nat Keefe with The Bow Ties. It’s a real ear worm isn’t it. I was hearing it in my head for days afterward, lol. Both of these came from the YouTube audio library of free music.

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