We’re huge fans of the Blackwing at Milligram – staff and customers alike. The Blackwing’s are always on our top 10 bestselling products list. So when Palomino started releasing regular, limited “Volume” Editions, each with their own story and styling, it was exciting news! One of our favourite pencil releases so far has been the Steinbeck version – the Blackwing Volume 24 (now sold out at Milligram). But we have a new favourite  the Gold Rush inspired latest release. So here’s our review of the Blackwing Volume 530 (find online at Milligram).


Each Blackwing Volumes release has a story behind it, much like the Field Notes Colours releases. The Palomino Blackwing Volume 530 was inspired by the California Gold Rush, which started in the mid 1800’s and was a defining period in the history of the state. The state motto is: “Eureka! I have found it!”.

The Palomino team identified that same moment in any creative process: when a project’s purpose or direction crystalises. The Blackwing 530 celebrates these creative Eureka moments, with the gold finish symbolising that time when you ‘strike gold’.

The model number of this set – 530 – is inspired by Sutter’s Mill, California historical site No. 530, where gold was first discovered.

Review Blackwing Volume 530

Styling and finish

Let’s start with the styling and design of this set of 12 pencils. It is simply outstanding. When five of the Milligram team order their own set on the first day, you know it’s a truly stand-out stationery release! We already know that Blackwing make awesome pencils – but there’s just something about the gold finish on the Blackwing that brings out the Gollum in me…my precious…

The gold paint finish has a slight metallic sheen and is printed with Palomino, imprinted with Blackwing, the incense-cedar trees logo and the 530 edItion, all in black text. The ferrule is in a lovely gold with a little black band and the eraser is black. It comes boxed in a hard, black, branded box – great for storage or for making this feel stylish enough to be a gift for a pencil lover.

Every Blackwing pencil is made with Genuine Incense-cedar from the forests of California and Oregon. The Incense-cedar trees found in this new mark will begin appearing on all of our Blackwing pencils in the coming months.

blackwing 530

Writing review Blackwing Volume 530

I wanted to compare the writing experience of the Blackwing 530 with other Blackwing pencils, to understand where it sits in the range. I tested it against the Blackwing, Blackwing 602 and the Blackwing 24. Palomino have stated that the graphite formulation in this Volume 530 is the same as that in the Blackwing 24 (the Steinbeck edition) and it does write similarly.

It is firmer/harder than the Blackwing but, to me, it felt ever-so-slightly softer than the legendary Blackwing 602. It is a lovely writing experience. This is a really smooth writer, not at all “scratchy”. The writing example pictured below was in a Moleskine Cahier. I also tried it on a coated Delfonics Rollbahn pad – it was smoother still.

If I had to put my hand on my heart, my favourite writer is the Blackwing – it’s just so buttery soft. But the finish on this Volume 530 set compelled me to buy them. They are just gorgeous and I know I’m going to love writing with them for months to come.

blackwing assortment

Blackwing group


blackwing 530 writing test

Review summary


– This is one of the most gorgeous set of pencils you’ll ever find – a touch of bling with a touch of style

– It’s only $59.95 for the set of 12, so similar per-pencil price to regular Blackwing pencils

– Great, smooth writer

– It’s a pencil dedicated to those all important creative ‘eureka moments’


– If I had to pick one: It’s not quite as soft as the Blackwing, which for me is my personal favourite, but won’t stop me using them all


Side note: I possibly enjoyed sharpening these pencils perfectly even more than I enjoyed writing with them… there’s just something so satisfying about a well-sharpened pencil!

Blackwing pencils groupShop Palomino Blackwing pencils at Milligram.