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Ink Review: Vinta Inks Mother of Pearl (Nakar 1934)

All the doom and gloom of COVID-19 virus news and stock market crashes are coloring the air grey these days, so I thought I would review on my “color of the moment” – Grey. I am in love with all grey inks and am liking this great new alternative to black. The Mother of Pearl is a limited edition ink from Vinta Inks – an amazing vividness of color washes across the page when I swatch.

This grey ink has got all the colours of a pearly shell:

  • The off-purple tone of an oyster shell
  • A hint of green detected in the shading (like the green outline of the shell)
  • The grey translucency of the sea 

When you write, the medium wetness in the ink brings good mileage. You can write longer with just one dip, compared to drier inks. 

The ink presents a lot more green upon contact with the Leuchtturm 1917 paper but dries off like a normal grey. 

Vinta inks are rather viscous, it looks like a thick, dense drop, that hardly glides around on paper. This makes it quite fun to do art projects with the ink. For example, drop a few drops of the Mother of Pearl ink on paper, use a straw to blow patterns. We did a fun video to show how we swatched it differently using a cotton bud.

Inspired by what I saw, I decided to pick more shades of grey to do a comparison. Here, we have

The Doldam from 3 Oysters looks more like grey concrete, with hints of red. The Cool Gray, as the name suggests, is from a cooler palette of grey. Gris de Houle (Jacques Herbin) is my other favourite besides the Mother of Pearl – Gris de Houle is slightly lighter but perfectly legible, a great alternative to black. The Aurora Special Edition Grey is a warm color like the Doldam, and reminds me of the stone steps in Gion, Kyoto.

Although it is impossible to pick favourites from these 5 shades of grey, the Mother of Pearl from Vinta Inks is a mischievous ink. It shows a different shade each time you write, perhaps due to the Vinta formulation. You can expect anything from reddish purple, tinge of green amidst a grey, or even some rusty grey – colors you’d observe in a shell, really.

The deep complex personality of the Mother of Pearl struck me – I keep wanting to take another look and peep to see if anything changed. It makes my imagination run wild, thinking of how mysterious it is. A line from John Steinbeck’s novel, The Pearl, came to mind:

“Every man suddenly became related to Kino’s pearl,

and Kino’s pearl went into the dreams,

the speculations, the schemes, the plans,

the futures, the wishes, the needs, the lusts,

the hungers, of everyone,…”

            – John Steinbeck, The Pearl

Try comparing with


What I used:

Paper: Leuchtturm1917 notebook


(Scale of 1 to 5)

Dry time – ★★★☆☆ (1=slow, 5=fast)
Flow – ★★★★☆ (1=dry, 5=wet)
Shading – ★★★★★ (1=low, 5=high)


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