Parker Penman Ruby Fountain Pen Ink


Parker Penman Inks were introduced twenty years ago and for some aficionados nothing has replaced them. Sapphire is the most often mentioned color but Ruby is no less worthy of note.

Ruby has a bit more yellow and green in its base than other burgundy inks and that gives it a unique, slightly earthy color. It has good shading for its degree of saturation as well as good flow. The color combined with the other properties have kept this ink on my list of favorites for a very long time.

Several years ago, I sent a sample to Diamine hoping they would develop something comparable. After all, Ruby had been off the market since 2000 and there were few burgundy inks available at that time, much less one that offered similar properties. Since then, Diamine has released Syrah and Merlot. From Diamine’s online swatches, Syrah looks like a possible substitute for Ruby while Merlot looks more red or wine-colored.

Inks that are true color duplicates are uncommon so at best Syrah will be similar. If it shades well, it might be a worthy substitute. Not that I’m likely to run out of Ruby anytime soon. My stash of three bottles is more properly a hoard, one that could make even a dragon jealous.

Parker Penman Ruby Ink


  1. Soooo beautiful, for sure… 🙂
    Hope you like Syrah 😉

    Talking about possible ink dupes, have you tested Diamine Music set? I think maybe there are some nearly dupes for some Herbin inks. For example Wagner and Vert Olive…


    • No, I haven’t seen them. Good to know there are substitutes for any inks, be it Herbin or another manufacturer. Choices are always a good thing. 🙂


  2. What a pretty color… I hate when I fall in love with things that are then discontinued! I almost want to try the Sapphire and now this Ruby, but I don’t want to fall in love with it…


    • That’s exactly why I seldom mention discontinued inks. But in truth, several are favorites and it is more accurate to include them on occasion. In this case, there is the potential for a very good substitute. That’s good news. 🙂


  3. Thanks for the post! I have heard so much about Parker Penman Ruby and have been wanting to try it for some time, but, as I’m sure you know, it’s hard to come by due to the fact that it’s discontinued. I appreciate the ink swab comparison, and the suggestion that it’s close to Diamine Syrah – an ink that I can acquire and play with. I still have not tried Syrah. It’s on my list, but about a year ago, I decided to use up the remaining Waterman Violet in my stash b/c I wasn’t crazy about it. I decided to try mix it with Sheaffer Skrip Red and create the much talked about “Binder Burgundy”. I have quite a bit of it left, as I don’t use it all that often. From what I understand, Binder Burgundy and Syrah are similar (at least that’s the impression I was under, but I could be wrong).


    • I’ve never seen the burgundy mix so can’t comment on it. Syrah has been suggested by others as a substitute for Penman Ruby. When I have some for a comparison, I will post about it.


  4. Thanks for the review. Awesome color. I’m jealous of your hoard. We’re up to about 100 inks but no Penman!


    • My pleasure. I’ll let you know if I decide to reduce my hoard. 🙂


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