As a stationery addict, you might wonder whether I have ever purchased two of the same ink/ pens by accident.  I can proudly say no, until a friend of mine mentioned, “wait, is it not Caran d’Ache Saffron the same, if not very similar, to Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin?”  That question got me thinking, “well, they are both orange, but what is the difference?”

Thank you for the friendly reminder that propels me to sit down and compare to two.  From the ink appearance, yes, the two have striking similarities.

Saffron in a vial.
If you can translate color into sound, then its timbre is warm timbre, which reminds me of honey amber.
Caran d’Ache on the left, Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin on the right.
 Did I really have oranges of the same shade?
Just a couple more pictures on Saffron.  From the Q-tip, as well as the ink in the water, Saffron appears as a flaming orange, very similar to the color of blood orange.  At this point, you might think, “well, you definitely did not have an elephant memory on your ink.”  Perhaps not, but we just have to see Saffron in action.
The Q-tip that did the Saffron swab.
Sometime the true color just does not show!
Saffron in water.
For some odd reason, it reminds me of diluted iodine.

As usual, I am using Rhodia dotPad as my primary testing paper.  The image is not altered or enhanced in any way.  From a tester’s point of view, Saffron is definitely more saturated and intense than Pelikan Orange.  It is not a better or worse statement, or of which ink are you in the mood for.  The drying time is a bit long compare to other inks.  This might post as a challenge to lefties, but good ink is worth the wait.  One interesting note is on the water resistance test.  It is apparent that Saffron is not water-resistant in anyway, but after the water washes off the pigment, you can see the grey undertone.

Writing sample I:  note the gray undertone of the ink
in the water resistance test.
Another wonderful feature of Saffron is that it tolerates normal paper.  As you can see the samples below, I use both regular fountain pen and 
Saffron on nornal copy paper.  No fuss!

My random scribbles on normal copy paper.
Though I use a broader nib, still no bleedthrough and feathering.

Now comes to moment of truth:  Are Saffron and Mandarin the same?  To accentuate great shading qualities of both ink, I elected to use Brause Bandzug 2.0mm nib, since the color gradation has tendency to be lost in finer nibs.  
Can you see the differences?  Saffron gives me a sense of exoticness and vibrance, while Mandarin is a bit dainty.  To employ an odd analogy, if Saffron were a flamenco dancer, then Mandarin would be a ballerina (not a prima donna) in comparison.  Saffron has this robust red undertone, while Mandarin leans toward yellow.  Another difference that Saffron has is that it encompasses more color gradation than Pelikan.  At the first encounter with the paper, the ink appears to be red, then transitions into orangish red, orange, and ends the note at lighter orange.  It almost embodies the colors of the sun for the entire day, at a reverse order.
Saffron v. Mandarin
Please excuse my amateur attempt on swashes, blame the sudden burst of energy at 3AM.

Personally, I believe both inks are great at their own rights.  What is your preference?

More insightful review and usage on Saffron:


8 thoughts on “Ink Review: Caran d’Ache Saffron

  1. AWESOME! I love love love the writing sample in the last picture! I think you compared them pretty accurately. At first glance, they really do look similar but they are indeed a bit different. Good. This justifies me getting the Saffron as well. Muahahaha!


  2. I think they have different ink personalities, which sounds crazy, but it is interesting to see how ink morphs before your eyes. All this indicates the paramount importance of ink cataloging… better start doing that or one day, I will really buy two of the same ink!


  3. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?
    There's a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks
    My web-site ; Saffron X


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