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Colours from nature

mineral earthy colours and vegetable dyes

By Jenny J


from nature


  • The presence of an element essential to the mineral composition

  • The presence of a minor chemical impurity

  • Physical defects in the crystal structure

  • The mechanical mixture of very fine impurities

  • The presence of finely-spaced structures in the mineral

Minerals get their colour


What are natural mineral pigments?

Mineral pigments are pigments that are created by combining and heating naturally occurring elements. They include ultramarine and spinel pigments.

For example Iwa-enogu is Japanese paint made from mainly minerals. The particles have a similar coarseness to sand and feature a lusterless matt feeling. The paint itself has no adhesive properties, but by adding glue, it sticks to the medium surface.

Vegetable pigments

and dyeing fabric

what controls the color

of your fruits and vegetables?

1. Chlorophyll (green)

2. Carotenoids (yellow, red, orange)

3. Flavonoids: anthocyanins + anthoxantins (red, blue, purple)

4. Betalains (red, yellow, purple)

In fruits and vegetables almost all colors are caused by just 4 groups, or families, of pigments:


from left to right
  • avocado stones (pink)
  • avocado skins (dusty pink)
  • avocado skins + iron (purple)
  • acorns + iron (brown)
  • pomegranate skins + acorns + iron (dark green)
  • pomegranate skins (yellow)

Natural dye


Naturally Dyeing Fabric

Using Foods

2. Make dye

3. Mordant

1. Scour

4. Dye

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Natural Pigments and Dyes

In the history of art

ancient Egyptians

Pigments were produced on a larger scale by ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures.



  • https://www.instagram.com/p/BoEXjiHBVj1/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=3474078b-0fd4-4b58-971a-340fa8f7043f

  • https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/how-to-naturally-dye-using-foods

  • https://art-design-glossary.musabi.ac.jp/iwa-enogu-mineral-pigment/

  • https://www.invaluable.com/blog/natural-pigments/

  • https://reynolda.org/visit/calendar/the-versatility-of-natural-dyes/

  • https://www.treehugger.com/natural-dyes-food-scraps-5193947

  • https://food52.com/blog/14982-the-art-of-natural-dyeing-6-colors-to-start-with

  • https://foodcrumbles.com/colours-in-fruits-vegetables/

  • https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/how-color-affects-vegetable-nutrition#:~:text=The%20colors%20of%20produce%20come,and%20fiber%20of%20the%20food.

  • https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-assorted-fresh-vegetables-greens-white-background-isolated-image31640599