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Thread: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    In light of my post in another thread, I brought my three iron gall inks out of my ink box, and after shaking their bottles, I sampled them by swiping a Rhodia pad across their bottle necks (see photo). I was surprised to find the Diamine Registrar's ink had decomposed, losing its color to become this washed-out "grey-water" color. I've only taken one or two fills from that 30ml bottle since new three years ago. Alas, into the bin the Diamine goes, and now I have two iron gall inks.

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    Last edited by FredRydr; August 26th, 2019 at 09:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    I had an old bottle of Pelikan 4001 blue-black (IG) that decomposed over time too.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Do IG inks have a shelf life shorter than normal inks? What causes the decomposition, the nature of the ink or environmental/contamination issues?


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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Quote Originally Posted by Butthurticus-VIII View Post
    Do IG inks have a shelf life shorter than normal inks? What causes the decomposition, the nature of the ink or environmental/contamination issues?
    I was going to ask you!

    Seriously, this is my first experience with this issue, so I don't have the answers. There's been much discussion about iron gall inks in this and other forums, and I'll have another look. The purchase date of this Diamine bottle is much more recent than the others, and has not been opened more than five times, certainly far less often than the others. The cap was not loose. My first suspicion is a contaminant in manufacture or bottling.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    They change colour over time on paper, so they must change colour in their bottles too. Surely galls must decompose, even in ink? Also, it might have been older than you think depending on how long it had been in stock when you bought it.

    I would clean out and keep that lovely little bottle though. They are great bottles.

    I have this ink to review....
    Last edited by Chrissy; August 27th, 2019 at 12:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    I bought a privately made bottle of IG about ten years ago. After I opened the bottle the first time, I had to add a bit of water each time I used it, because it evaporated and became viscous fairly quickly.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Iron gall ink does indeed decompose after a while. That is why in ye olden times suppliers had to ensure by contract to deliver continuously fresh ink every 3 or 6 months. The sediment that settles to the ground after a while should not be mixed into the ink again.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Quote Originally Posted by JulieParadise View Post
    Iron gall ink does indeed decompose after a while. That is why in ye olden times suppliers had to ensure by contract to deliver continuously fresh ink every 3 or 6 months. The sediment that settles to the ground after a while should not be mixed into the ink again.
    I see. I guess it depends on the quality of the ink as well I suppose as there are those old Montblanc blue blank ink bottles around and Iíve never seen the ink deteriorate.


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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Quote Originally Posted by Butthurticus-VIII View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JulieParadise View Post
    Iron gall ink does indeed decompose after a while. That is why in ye olden times suppliers had to ensure by contract to deliver continuously fresh ink every 3 or 6 months. The sediment that settles to the ground after a while should not be mixed into the ink again.
    I see. I guess it depends on the quality of the ink as well I suppose as there are those old Montblanc blue blank ink bottles around and Iíve never seen the ink deteriorate.

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    I have an old shape, partly filled, Montblanc Blue-Black ink bottle, and I regularly pick it up and see sludge in the bottom of the well as well as in the bottom of the bottle. I tried cleaning it off of the bottom of the well, but gave up doing so as it seems I was flogging the proverbial dead horse when it was all there again next time I picked it up.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    I normally find my IG inks to get darker over time. When sludge occurs, in the bin it goes. I have never found ink to get lighter, though I guess it makes sense that it would get lighter when the acid draws the particulate out of the ink mixture. IDK....I'm a lost child concerning anything related to chemistry.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Fred, I had ESSRI about 1/2 bottle decanted into a MB boot. I just checked it last week and it looks like the Diamine you show - grey and weak and junk in the bottom. I'm going to check what is still in the original bottle. Maybe there is a shelf life, because mine is at least 4 years old.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Quote Originally Posted by JulieParadise View Post
    Iron gall ink does indeed decompose after a while. That is why in ye olden times suppliers had to ensure by contract to deliver continuously fresh ink every 3 or 6 months. The sediment that settles to the ground after a while should not be mixed into the ink again.
    +1

    Never shake up those (normal) sediments, the won't go into solution - just help clogging the pen!
    Yes , iron gall inks degenerate, depending upon storage conditions (light, temperature, oxygen).
    Anway they should be fine for two or more years.
    I have some Pelikan Blue-Black cartridges made in the 1990s that look grayish like that...
    Maybe the bottle is just old, it's label looks different than the one I got directly from Diamine last year.

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    Last edited by SchaumburgSwan; August 26th, 2019 at 08:49 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    I have a brand new bottle direct from Diamine. These pictures show the current bottle/box. This latest wrap around bottle label was introduced two years ago, and the box was changed about five/six years ago.

    Diamine says: Registrar's ink can have a limited shelf life. It all depends on how it is stored. Ideally in a cool place away from light sources. Usually it is more often the case of some of the solids falling out of the solution than the ink actually going off.

    Diamine Registrar's ink_001a.jpgDiamine Registrar's ink_002a.jpg
    Last edited by Chrissy; August 27th, 2019 at 04:45 AM.
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Thank you all for heads-up on shelf life and expected decomposition of iron gall inks. I will keep an eye on them.

    My inks are stored in a closed wooden artist's box in a closet, so light is not an issue. Alas, summer temperatures may force me to move the iron gall into the cellar. Imagine the impression I'll make when I say to pen friends, "Just a moment and I'll pop down to the ink cellar to get you a bottle of my finest."

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    On second thought, I'll put it in the back of the fridge.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    I think the decomposition may be more due to the particular formulation of the ink. All of the Ig inks contain iron in some form as ferrous ions ( Fe+2) which allows the iron to stay in solution. Over time, ferrous ions absorb oxygen from the air and become ferric ions ( Fe+3) which are not soluble. That's what you are seeing on the bottom of your ink bottles, the iron that has precipitated (settled) out of solution. Think rust, which is iron in the Fe+3 form. Heat will accelerate the change, but in Fred's case I think it may be due to ink batch problems or a different source of raw material than usual. The Ig inks are acidified to slow down the conversion of ferrous to ferric, and the amount and type of acid added makes a difference. That may be why the MB and ESSRI have a longer shelf life than the Diamine. ( A quick search at the FPN forums show that this seems to be a problem associated with Diamine compared to the other two Ig inks.)

    I would recommend that you circle file the old Diamine and and buy a new bottle.

    All the Best.
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iron Gall ink - Diamine Registrar's decomposes in full bottle

    Quote Originally Posted by junglejim View Post
    ...( A quick search at the FPN forums show that this seems to be a problem associated with Diamine compared to the other two Ig inks.) I would recommend that you circle file the old Diamine and and buy a new bottle.
    Well, I have an almost full 110ml bottle of ESSRI, a half full 50ml bottle of Montblanc old blue/black and yet another N.O.S. 50ml bottle of Montblanc old blue/black. I believe I have enough IG as it is to last a long long time.
    Last edited by FredRydr; August 27th, 2019 at 11:23 PM.

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