Just about anything can be dried and ground into powder, to be used as a pigment. But some dyes fade quickly, especially under the influence of light. Here are a few stragglers.

Purple from snails

The ancient Greeks took the dye from a gland of a sea snail: the purple snail. They threw thousands of glands in a pot, mixed it with salt and let everything cook in urine and thicken. This mixture was used to dye wool.
30,000 purple snails yielded only 4 grams of pure dye. A kilo of purple -dyed fabric was 10 to 20 times more expensive than a kilo of gold! The traditional royal purple color is still a symbol of wealth and prestige. Today, this natural dye costs 2,000 euros per gram!

Red from lice
naturaldyeCarmine is a red dye that is in the scale of various insects. The main suppliers are for centuries cultivated on prickly pear (Opuntia ) in South America and Mexico. The dye comes out of the blood and eggs. Mass scale insects (Dactylopius coccus) are collected, slain, dried, ground and filtered. Carmine (cochineal dye) is still widely used in foods and cosmetics. Is there E120, then you know that there is “red lice” in.

Blue stone
Sapphire or lapis lazuli: the name comes from the Latin lapis: stone and the Arabic azul blue. This opaque gemstone has a deep blue color. The best come from Afghanistan and Chile. The rock is ground into a powder that paint gives a brilliant blue color: ultramarine or "from over sea".

Ocher from earth
Ground color is often determined by the iron in the soil. This is true for yellow and red ocher. You can also make pigment with crushed potsherds (brick, tile). Or brown with tobacco in urine, or iron in vinegar.

Red from madder
(Common or dyer’s) madder (Rubia tinctorum) is a plant from Asia Minor and the eastern part of the Mediterranean. From the 12th century it also comes in Flanders (later in Zeeland and South Holland islands). Without the tiny hooks with which she adheres to surrounding vegetation and goes up the plant should be lying.
The plant is 60-90 cm high and has small yellow flowers. The rhizomes can go 50-100 cm deep. From the roots, you can extract Turkey red or red madder which is used mainly to color textiles and leather. The raw material for the red dye alizarin, is mainly in the thinner adventitious roots. Madder provided the raw material for the brightly colored, red – white dotted farmer handkerchiefs. Young shoots of the biennial plant were taken through the mud and then planted in well-fertilized soil. The rhizome is harvested in September after three years, one year dried, and then ground. The powder is treated with water vapor and acid. Thereafter, aluminum and / or tin-containing salts are added. The resulting dye is soluble in water and can be used for dyeing tissues.

In 1868, was in Germany discovered how alizarin could be prepared synthetically. The cultivation of madder thus came to an end.

Indigo from plants
The blue you can get from plants from different species, such as woad, a kind of knotweed or tropical indigo bush. Typical jeans color.

“All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.”(Marc Chagall)

It is blue and not heavy ? Light blue.