Ink Spot: KWZ Iron Gall Turquoise

I first heard about KWZ inks in the middle of 2015 when watching a Periscope put on by Lisa Vanness of Vanness Pens in Arkansas. KWZ is a Polish-made ink that, to the best of my knowledge, is only available in the U.S. from Vanness Pens. One of the things that makes this line of inks interesting is that it has a very wide selection of iron gall inks in colors that are not usually available in iron gall formulas. Such is the case with this ink, KWZ Iron Gall Turquoise.


For the uninitiated, Iron Gall inks have been around for many centuries, and have some interesting properties. They are generally quite permanent inks, but have the downside of being rather acidic. For folks who want the permanence properties of iron gall (IG) inks, they should be aware that using IG inks in their fountain pens requires a bit more attention to maintenance than non-IG inks do. They are generally better suited for gold-nibbed pens (as gold is less reactive), and should not be kept in pens for long, long periods of time. Modern IG inks are generally safer for fountain pens than older IG formulas, but even still, care should be taken when using iron gall inks.


One of the other unique properties of IG ink that they have a tendency to oxidize or age as they dry and over time. In the image above, you can see KWZ Iron Gall Turquoise seconds after being applied to the page (right) and about 2 hours after being applied to the page (left.) The darkening or aging continues on for a while afterward.

I don’t have a ton of experience with Iron Galls inks, only having a couple in my collection. I don’t have a lot of call for ink permanence in my day-to-day writing, but I do keep a couple around for their water resistance. I will often keep a fine-nibbed pen inked with and IG ink for addressing envelopes or if I need to sign important documents (like mortgage paperwork.)


This is my first experience with KWZ inks, however. I picked this ink up at the DC Show from Vanness Pens, and I’ve really, really enjoyed this ink right up front.

KWZ IG Turquoise goes on as a lighter blue, with a bit of a green undertone. It’s very well-behaved on all of the papers on which I tested it, and dries to a really beautiful blue-black, while still retaining just a hint of its green undertone. I like the color of the new ink a lot, but I’m in love with the color to which it dries.


Of the most interest to me, however, was the shading on this ink.  A lot of inks have a rather binary shading, almost as if the shading is either one or off. IG Turquoise, on the other hand, has a rather attractive ombre effect to its shading. It’s not 1’s and 0’s, but rather, a gradual transition from medium blue-black to dark blue-black. It’s deep and rich in color, and unlike most other blue-blacks I have in my collection.


KWZ IG Turquoise is a really good performer. I find most iron gall inks that I’ve tried to run a bit dry. Such was not the case with this ink. It had a nice flow and felt well-lubricated. But it also performed pretty well, even on cheap copy paper. Dry times on everything but Tomoe River were less than normal: around 16 seconds for Rhodia, about 7 seconds for Staples Copy Paper. Tomoe River did have a rather long dry time for this ink of around 40 seconds. The ink was also nearly feather-free, even on the Staples paper. Even bleed-through was minimal on the cheap copy paper, especially with a fine or medium nib of moderate wetness. (There was some bleedthrough on the wider or wetter nibs, but far less than you would see with most other inks.)

In short, this is an ink that I would HIGHLY recommend for use on lower-quality papers. It does very well.


Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the KWZ IG Turquoise. I consider this a great ink for someone who wants to use a vibrant, bright ink in the workplace environment, but doesn’t feel comfortable (or able) to do so. It goes down as a great turquoise color, but by the time it dries, it’s a great blue-black color. It’s rich, vibrant, and really, really water resistant. And, at $14 for a 60ml bottle, it’s a really good price as well.

Were I not on an ink-buying hiatus at the moment, I would be stocking up on a whole lot more KWZ inks. I’ve only tried the one, but I’m seriously impressed with its performance.


  • James Wood

    Great review, Matt!

    Konrad Żurawski is the guy in Poland that makes the ink. He answers emails whenever he has a chance and is extremely helpful in discussing the pros and cons of IG ink in fountain pens and how well they can work on cheaper paper. Lots of colors.

    In the quest to find inks that do better with cheaper papers I have tried…
    ESS Registrar (UK) – good stuff
    (Search ESS Registrar ink. It should pop up)
    Four samples from Goulet…
    Roher & Klingner (Ger.)
    Poor/Fair – Salix did better than Scabiosa
    Platimum Blue Black
    Diamine Registrar’s

    Don’t know if you tried them or not already but thought that I would pass that along.

    Oh! The pens. An unmodified Ahab. ESS is doing fine so far.
    Jinhao x750 with Zebra G nib. Great fun. The ink did well but when I left the nib in for a day or so without cleaning, the nib/feed/section fused permanently. Good reason to use cheaper pens when we experiment.

    Also I was surprised that all five inks were easy to use with my dip pen with Zebra G nib. Great for quickly comparing all five once the Goulet samples arrived.


    • tg

      Yes, met the guy couple of weeks ago at Warsaw’s Fountain Pen Day celebration meetup. It was really cool to check out all of the inks in person.

  • Marc Florent

    Great and very interesting review Matt. I really – really – appreciate the efforts you go to to colour correct the ink photos. I can’t tell you how infuriating I find it when I order ink from the Internet (even from highly specialised sources) only to find that the ink is a completely different colour or shade to the pictures provided.

    • Thanks. I’m certainly not a master of color correction, but I, too, get frustrated when images online don’t even come close to matching. I’ve learned a bit about how to color correct when I’m shooting, but even still, there’s a manual bit of work as well.

  • ksm@FPN

    I see, that you are using TWSBI Vac 700 with KWZ Ink IG ink. How long did you use this combination, did you have any discolouration on the feed (i.e. dark, almost black residue of oxidized iron).

    ps. I’m using KWZ Ink IG Blue Black and KWZ Ink IG Green Gold in TWSBI 580’s.
    I initially intended to buy Vac 700, but Konrad warned me about oxidation problem in a Vac 700 he worked with.

    • I had the ink in all of the pens for about 2 weeks. (I had kept it in my Platinum 3776 for about four weeks before that.) I noticed no discoloration either on the barrel or the feed.

  • Paul Burberry

    I’ve been keen to try the line of inks from KWZ. A friend of mine who attended Scriptus (the Toronto show) brought be back a sample of the KWZ Maple Red. I understand this was a one off for the Scriptus show. Anyway, this ink looks stellar and would suit my Starburst Galaxy down to the ground. Cheers Matt

    • I am certainly interested in trying more of them…although I’m on a bit of an ink-buying hiatus for, well, the rest of my life. 🙂

      • Paul Burberry

        What justification can we put to this hobby if not to sample the plethora of amazing inks and the tools to lay them down on fine paper. 🙂

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  • slkinsey

    The KWZ inks are great. I love iron gall inks in general, but these are something special. Great flow; work on all kinds of paper; nice shading; wonderful selection of colors; reasonably low-maintenance… I’ve got fat stubs inked up with KWZ Gold and KWZ Green-Gold right now. As a professed lover of green inks, you really should get some KWZ Green and Green-Gold.