The Palomino Blackwing Volumes 205 is named such because of the molecular value of Jadeite, apparently the most sought-after type of jade. I didn't know there were different types of jade, so at least I learned something with this release.
The theme with this release, if you stretch it, is the Exchange of Ideas. Jade was one of the most prominent goods traded on the Silk Road, according to the marketing text. Arguably, the ideas exchanged had a more lasting impact on the world than any product traded across the continent.
Also according to the marketing text, jade is believed to protect its owner in their travels, encourage creativity, and stimulate mental agility. Maybe if I carry this pencil with me everywhere, I'll have better luck?
The 205 has a "Jade" finish. What does that mean? It's a swirly print wrapped around the pencil. There are two color options, white and green, to represent the two different kinds of jade. The best thing about this release is that they've done something they haven't done before in the Blackwing line: put 6 of each color in the box. And subscribers get 2 of the archival tubes. I think that's pretty nifty and I'm glad that they aren't offering both colors as a separate box, which always seems like a money grab to me. The wrap is similar to the 1138 in terms of quality, however with the 205 it's a little easier to pick up on the pixellation of the printing. This is not to say it's bad, just there. It's almost like "halftone", like a dollar bill. The ferrule is gold, but seems to be a little more GOLD than some of the other gold ferrules in the Blackwing line. Brighter. The imprint is also gold.
Back to the finish. It reminds me of a bowling ball or an Ebonite fountain pen. And I really am not a fan of the look. To me, it's cheesy. I would never buy one of those pens, no matter how awesome and expensive it was, and the same goes for this pencil; had I not gotten it in a subscription, the theme would not be enough to sway me to buy a box, especially when it has the 602 core in it. I can see this one being available for longer than most, like the 56 was.
Of course this is made with premium California Incense Cedar. It wouldn't be a Blackwing without it. The core is the Firm core, which is the same as the Blackwing 602. Last year we got 2 pencils with the 602 "firm" core (344 and 56) and 2 pencils with the new "extra firm" core (24 and 530). I thought it would be either the soft or balanced core this time around, or even a new core. One can dream.
No writing sample this time around...I suspect that people reading pencil blogs know what the 602 firm core writes like.
Subscribers also get a pocket notebook called the Blackwing Clutch. It's got a sturdy, almost vinyl -like cover, 48 pages, dot grid (the dots are a bit dark) and it's sewn, so it lays flat. You can see all about it here.
My overall feelings on this pencil are this: if you like the look, get it. It's a well-made pencil, but all the Blackwings are. If you don't like the look, the pencil is the 602 with a different wrapper, so stick with the 602. The only thing this one has going for it is the look, and it's not for me. I don't see any extra boxes in my future.
Available from Pencils.com, and many other fine retailers, $24.95.