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Does Fountain Pen Ink Fade With Time?

Most fountain pen ink is dye-based rather than pigment-based, so the answer is yes, it does fade with the passing of time. The speed and degree of fading depend on a number of factors including the type of ink, type of paper, environmental conditions and exposure to light. I've noticed some fountain pen ink in various stages of fading in my old journals.

Iron-gall inks eventually fade to a brown color due to the iron that is in the ink. Other inks just fade to a paler shade of their original color or another unexpected hue. I found that the pen friends at Fountain Pen Network have done many of their own experiments to test what happens to various inks when exposed to UV light. It’s worth doing a search there if you’re wondering about the light resistance of a specific ink. If you are looking for a fade-resistant fountain pen ink there are several inks out there that may work for you.

Platinum Pens has years of experience with fountain pens and ink and they have developed pigment-based inks for use with fountain pens that are water-resistant, fade-resistant and heat-resistant. Platinum Carbon Black ink is especially prized by artists and others looking for ink that is very water and light resistant. Platinum pigment ink is available in just a few colors: black, sepia, blue and rose red. Some fountain pen users are nervous that using ink containing ultra-fine pigment powder may clog their pens. If this describes you, you might want to try this ink in an inexpensive pen first and follow the pen maintenance tips included in with this ink – these tips are originally written in Japanese but are mentioned in English on our website.

Noodler’s Ink makes several types of ink that have what they describe as “bullet-proof” qualities including resistance to fading when exposed to light. I am unclear as to whether or not any of these inks include any sort of pigments in their formulas, but can tell you Noodler’s ink is included among the favorite inks of many writers. Their UV light-resistant inks include such inks as regular Noodler’s bullet-proof black, Noodler’s Eternal inks, Noodler’s Polar inks and any of the inks in the Warden’s series such as Bad Black Moccasin and Bad Belted Kingfisher..

Do you use fade-resistant ink in your fountain pen? What type of permanent fountain pen ink is your favorite? Have you done any UV light tests with ink that you’d like to share?


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