14 Rarest Colors In The World You Didn’t Know About

While it may seem that color is just an arbitrary element to a design and you could find many of the same shades in any number of hues, there are actually only a handful of colors that are truly one-of-a-kind. The following 14 colors are some of the rarest in the world, making them something special for designers and artists who want to use a color that’s truly unique.

If you’re looking for the most unique and unusual colors, this list will give you some ideas. This is by no means a complete list, but it includes some of the most interesting hues to have come along in recent history. Here are 14 rarest colors in the world.

14 Rare Colors You Probably Never Heard Of (List)

No.
Names
ColorFamily
Source
1
Lapis Lazuli
Blue
Limestone found in Mines in northeast Afghanistan
2
YInMn Blue
Blue
Trigonal Bipyramidal Coordination Environment Conditions in The Chromophore
3.
Prussian blue
Blue
Oxidation of Ferrous Ferrocyanide Salts
4.
Tyrian Purple
Purple
The Mucus of Several Species Of Murex Snail.
5.
Carmine
Deep Red
Cochineal Insect
6
Dragons Blood
Bright Red
Calamus spp
7
Brazil wood
Natural Red
Caesalpinia Trees
8
Cadmium Pigments
Red, Yellow, and Orange
Cadmium
9
Fulvous
Brownish yellow
Scientific Binomials of Several Species
10
Glaucous
Bluish- Green
Epicuticular Wax Coating on Mature Plum
11
Vantablack
Black
A Chemical Vapor Deposition process (CVD)
12
Celadon
Green
Powdered Mineral Cinnabar
13
Vermillion
Red
Firing a glaze containing a little iron oxide at a high temperature in a reducing kiln
14
Cinnabar
Red
Basic mercury

1. Lapis Lazuli

Color Family – Blue

Source – Mines in northeast Afghanistan

Color Code – #26619C

 

1. Lapis Lazuli

Origin 

Lapis Lazuli also known as Lapis is a deep-blue metamorphic rock that is sometimes used as a semi-precious stone, and it is high price because of its striking color. In the 7th millennium BC Lapis was found in the Sar-ISang mines in Shortugai.

For cultural and historical interest in 7570 BC, Lapis Lazuli’s artifacts were found at Bhirrana. Lapis is the Latin for stone and Lazuli is derived from the Medieval Latin lazulum and was derived from Arabic. The overall meaning of Lazuli is “sky” or “heaven” so technically, it means “a stone from the heavens”.

Origin 

They are highly graded by Indus Valley Civilization (7570–1900 BC), in the Middle Ages Lapis began to be transported to Europe where it was crushed to powder and made into “Ultramarine” is a deep blue color dye which is made from grinding lapis lazuli into a powder as earlier stated.

Ultramarine is Latin and it means, literally ‘beyond the sea’, because the pigment was transported into Europe from hollows in Afghanistan by Italian dealers during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Ultramarine was the Most Outstanding and most valuable blue used by Renaissance and many other painters. It was used to make robes of the Virgin Mary and symbolized holiness and humility. It continued to be an incredibly costly dye until an artificial ultramarine was developed in 1826

Sources

Lapis Lazuli is majorly gotten from the mines of northeast Afghanistan, a considerably good amount was also produced from mines west of Lake Baikal in Russia, we can also get them produced from mines in Pakistan, Canada, Italy, United States, and Mongolia and in the Andes mountains in Chile which is the source that the Inca used to create and crave artifacts and jewelry. As a result of contact metamorphism, they emerge in a crystalline marble.

Lapis Lazuli is composed of minerals and chemicals, but the most significant mineral component is “Lazurite “in the composition (25% to 40%). Lapis comprises of

calcite (white), sodalite (blue), and pyrite (metallic yellow). In a few % of Lapis augite, diopside,

enstatite, mica, hauynite, hornblende, nosean, and sulfur-rich löllingite are found existing in it.

2. YInMn Blue

Color Family – Blue

Source – trigonal bipyramidal coordination environment conditions in the chromophore

Color Code – #2E5090

2. YInMn Blue

Origin

YlnMn Blue is an inorganic blue pigment that was uncovered by Professor Mas Subramanian in 2009 When he and his then-graduate student, Andrew E. Smith, at Oregon State University were conducting research. The color is significant for its bright, near-perfect blue color and unusually great NIR reflectance. YInMn Blue is also known as Oregon Blue or Mas Blue, it stands for (yttrium, indium, and manganese).

This chemical compound is unique in its crystal structure in which the trivalent manganese (Mn) is responsible for the observed color reflected by the eye under the trigonal biographical coordination conditions.

Since it was discovered at the University of Oregon State there has been some extensive research done in the university as it was an eye-opener in the science of colors i.e through the intentional additions of a chromophore which resulted in some newly designed novel green, purple and orange pigments. This is all under the trigonal bipyramidal coordination environment.

Sources

YInMn Blue is not naturally found in nature as it is an inorganic blue pigment that was made, that is, it is a man-made color that was discovered, and it can only get under the trigonal bipyramidal coordination environment conditions in the chromophore.

YlnMn Blue is obtained from YInO3 (a ferroelectric material) and YMnO3 (an antiferromagnetic material) ; these two were synthesized at 1,093 °C (2,000 °F). This whole experiment was a coincidence, and it produced a vibrant blue material, the color can be modified by altering the In/Mn ratio in the pigment’s base formula of YIn1−xMnxO3.

3. Prussian Blue

Color Family – Blue

Source – Oxidation of Ferrous Ferrocyanide salts

Color Code – #003153

3. Prussian Blue

Origin

Prussian Blue is a dark blue pigment created by the oxidation of ferrous ferrocyanide salts, it is also known as Berlin Blue or Parisian or Paris blue. It has the chemical formula Fe III 4 [Fe II (CN)6]3 and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry name (IUPAC) name of Iron (II, III) hexacyanoferrate (II, III).

Prussian blue Fe7(CN)18 was first synthesized by paint maker Johann Jacob Diesbach in Berlin around 1706. He accidentally tried potash stained with blood to produce some red cochineal dye. The actual dye needed potash, ferric sulfate, and dried cochineal, and rather, the blood, potash, and iron sulfate reacted to generate a compound known as iron ferrocyanide, which, unlike the desired red pigment, has a unique blue color.

Sources

Prussian blue is fabricated by the oxidation of ferrous ferrocyanide salts. They have the formula M 2Fe [Fe (CN)6] where M+ = Na+ or K+The iron in this material is all ferrous, thus the lack of deep color is related to the different valency. Oxidation of the white solid is with hydrogen peroxide or sodium chloride, and it yields ferricyanide and affords Prussian blue.

Prussian Blue is notoriously inconsistent due to the sensibility of lattice defects, enabling it to be hydrated to numerous degrees as water molecules are combined into the structure to inhabit cation vacancies. Its inconsistency could also be because of its low solubility which leads to prompt precipitation without allowing it to get to the equilibrium.

4. Tyrian purple

Color Family – Purple

Source – mucus of several species of Murex snail.

Color Code – #630330

4. Tyrian purple

Origin

Tyrian Purple, unlike the other colors, is a biological pigment (natural dye). It is also known as Phoenician red, Phoenician purple, royal purple, imperial purple, or imperial dye. The name Tyre refers to Lebanon and it is a reddish-purple color.

Tyrian purple is a pigment produced from the mucus of several varieties of Murex snail. The pigment was costly and intricate to create, and objects painted with it became related to power and wealth. Note that 10,000 shellfish would generate 1 gram of dyestuff, that’s why it’s very expensive.

Sources

Tyrian Purple is a pigment generated from the mucus of several varieties of Murex snail. In behavior, these snails use their secretion as part of their predatory nature to sedate prey and as an antimicrobial lining on egg masses. The snail also exudes this mucus when it is stricken by predators, or physically by humans that are poked or touched. Then the dye is obtained by a method called “milking” which is more tasking and demanding in labor.

The dye substance is through mucus secretion from the hypobranchial gland it is mostly found in predatory snails found in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and off the Atlantic coast of Morocco. These are marine gastropods Bolinus brandaris, the spiny dye-murex.

5. Carmine

Color Family – Deep Red

Source – cochineal insect

Color Code –  #9600185. Carmine

 

Origin

The color Carmine is a very intriguing one and it has some amazing uses and benefits. It is also called cochineal.  It is from the insect cochineal in which it was extracted, cochineal extract, crimson lake, or carmine lake are its other names. Carmine is a hue of a bright red color collected from the aluminum complex originating from carminic acid.

Sources

Carmine Color is gotten from insects which produces the acid “carminic”, the insect is also called cochineal (Dactylopius coccus), and Porphyrophora species (Armenian cochineal and Polish cochineal)

Sources

Carmine Color is prepared by boiling the bodies of the insect cochineal in ammonia and sodium carbonate solution, after the boiling process is over, the separation of the insoluble material is removed and the extracted substance is then added to alum. This is to aid precipitation of the solution to a solid, the precipitate is also known as “Carmine Lake”. Some chemical substances are added to the precipitate to improve its color.

6. Dragon’s blood

Color Family – Bright Red

Source – Calamus Spp

Color Code – #BB0A1E

6. Dragon's blood

Origin

Dragon Blood Color is a bright red powdered pigment resin obtained from different species of the plant Calamus app, including Calamus rotang, Croton, Dracaena and Pterocarpus. In the 15th century voyagers on their way to the Canary Islands collected dragons’ blood as dried garnet-red drops from Dracaena draco, a tree in Morocco and the Canary Islands

Source

The Dragon Blood Pigment is obtained from calamus resins and from Dracaena cinnabari which is found alone or single in a geographic region or place (Socotra), It is also generated from the rattan palms in the genus Calamus of the Indonesian islands. Both Dracaena and Calamus resins are still often marketed today as dragon’s blood

Calamus are a characteristic species that has distinct individual organisms that produce male or female gametes indirectly, that is they are dioecious, and they are from the palm family Aceraceae.

7. Brazilwood

Color Family – Natural Red

Source – Caesalpinia trees

Color Code – #95562A

7. Brazilwood

Origin

Brazilwood is a natural existing dye that is obtained by boiling any trees of Caesalpinia. Many of them come from sappanwood, an Asian Tree. Many would think Brazilwood is from Brazil, but its source is from India. This red powdered dye is very difficult to obtain during the Renaissance.

During the Medieval period, sappanwood was only obtained from Europe, but the Portuguese fought and won that they should grow the trees along the coast. The trees were of monetary importance to the Portuguese that they named their country after the tree. Brazil is the only country named after the dye in the whole world.

Origin

Sources

Brazilwood is derived from several species of Caesalpinia which are all flowering trees. The two species most recognized to dyers are sappanwood (C. sappan from Asia) and brazilwood (C. echinata from Brazil); they both produce the red dye brazilin and are called brazilwood. The chemical properties I.e, structure of brazilwood is very similar to that of hematoxylin in logwood except that brazilwood has one less hydroxy group.

8. Cadmium Pigments

Color Family – Yellow, Orange, and Red

Color Code – #E30022, #ED872D, #FFF600

8. Cadmium Pigments

Origin

Cadmium colors are a category of colors that comprise cadmium. Vastly of the cadmium manufactured worldwide has been for usage in rechargeable nickel–cadmium batteries, which have been rebuilt by other rechargeable nickel-chemistry cell variations such as NiMH cells.

Cadmium is poisonous to humans and other animals in extremely insignificant proportions, particularly when it is sniffed.

9. Fulvous

Color Family – Brownish Yellow

Source – Scientific Binomials of Several Species

Color Code – #E48400

9. Fulvous

Origin

Fulvous is a Latin word “fulvus” a word that can be comprehended in the scientific binomials of various varieties and they can give evidence to their colouration. Fulvous is sometimes described as a dull orange color, brownish yellowish color or tawny. It looks somewhat like beige, butterscotch, and buff. It is used as many names as possible of animals especially species of birds basically because of their looks.

Sources

Birds ● Fulvous Parrotbill

● Fulvous Owl

● Fulvous Babbler

● Fulvous wren

● Fulvous whitening ducks

● breasted woodpeckers

● breasted flatbill

● Fulvous chested jungle fly

Reptiles ● Thamnophis fulvus
Mammals ● Fulvous harvest mouse

● Fulvous pygmy rice rat

● Fulvous bellied climbing rat

● Fulvous round leaf bat

Fish ● Cephalopholis fulva

● Starksia fulva

Invertebrates ● Fulvous dawn fly

● Fulvous forest skimmer

● Nylanderia fulva

● Aphaenogaster fulva

● Libellula fulva

Fungi ● Passalora fulva

● Paecilomyces fulva

Prokaryotes ● Pseudomonas fulva
Plants ● Plagiobothrys fulvus

● Chrysopogon fulvus

● Hemerocallis fulva

● Iris fulva

● Polyscias fulva

10. Glaucous

Color Family – bluish – green

Source – epicuticular wax coating on mature plum

Color Code – #6082B6

10. Glaucous

Origin

Glaucous is an ancient Greek word meaning blue-green, blue grey. It’s mostly used to describe the appearance of some plants and some birds as well. It is a botanical name, and it means “covered in grey” or waxy whitish coating. It has Color Coordinates sRGB (r, g, b) as (96, 130, 182), HSV (h, s, v) as (216°, 47%, 71%)

Source

Glaucous Colors are the epicuticular wax coating on mature plum, it is found in the grape genus (Vitis vinifera), Several Cacti have a glaucous coating. The blue-grey disguise coloring of some variety of birds and sea and land animals influences their appearance to meld with their surroundings – the camouflage effect for protection from preys, their waxy composition acts to restrict climbing of leaves, stem and of fruit by pests.

11. Vantablack

Color Family – Black

Sources – A chemical vapor deposition process (CVD)

Color Code – #000100

11. Vantablack

Origin

Vantablack coatings were invented by Ben Jensen by his team from Surrey NanoSystems; it was commercialized. The main coating was obtained from a chemical vapor deposition process (CVD) . It is believed to be the “world’s darkest material” because it absorbs 99.965% of visible light with a wavelength of 663 nm. These coatings are so rare and unique that they maintain identical light absorption from almost all viewing angles.

Source

It was artificially produced by Ben Jensen from Surrey Nanosystems, it does not exist naturally in nature. It is also known as Activated carbon high density skeleton, Multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT), Vantablack S-VIS, Vantablack S-IR, it has the chemical formula C, its melting point is 3,000 °C, it has a density of, and it is insoluble in water. It is used as sprayable paint that uses randomly aligned carbon nanotubes.

12. Celadon

Color Family – Green

Sources – firing a glaze containing a little iron oxide at a high temperature in a reducing kiln

Color Code – #ACE1AF

12. Celadon

Origin

Celadon is a word for pottery indicating both wares glossed in the jade green celadon color it is also recognized as greenware or “greenware” it is a category of transparent glaze, often with minor snaps, that was early employed on greenware but later used on different porcelains.

Celadon originated in China, though the word is solely European, and significant kilns such as the Longquan kiln in Zhejiang province are known for their celadon coats.

Finally, European potteries generated some quantities, but it was not a primary component there. Nicer parts are in porcelain, but both the color and the gleam can be generated in stoneware and earthenware.

Sources

Celadon glaze comes from a family of usually partially translucent but with colored gleams. “Authentic celadon”, requires a minimum 1,260 °C (2,300 °F) furnace temperature, a best range of 1,285 to 1,305 °C (2,345 to 2,381 °F), and blasting in a lessening air, originating at the outset of the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127)

The unusual gray or green celadon glaze is an outcome of iron oxide from ferric to ferrous iron (Fe2O3 → FeO) during the firing process. Individual chunks in an exclusive firing can have considerably several colors, from minor differences in requirements in various portions of the kiln. Greatly, the green is the desired color, keeping the Chinese of jade, constantly the most admirable material in Chinese culture.

Sources1

Celadon glazes can be manufactured in a variation of colors, comprising of white, gray, blue and yellow, depending on several factors:

13. Vermilion

Color Family – Red Orange

Sources – powdered mineral cinnabar

Color Code – #ACE1AF

13. Vermilion

Origin

Vermilion (sometimes called vermillion) is a pigment and color family greatly frequently given rise to, since superannuation until the 19th century, where it is gotten from powdered mineral cinnabar which is relatively dangerous and difficult to work with. It is a complementary color. It is very frequently compatible with red orange (covered here), which constantly takes a recent form just 11% brighter (at full brightness).

Vermilion is a dense, opaque color with an obvious, brilliant tint. The color was initially formulated by crumbling a powder of cinnabar (mercury sulfide). Like most mercury solvents, it is toxic. Cinnabar color was a lateral derivative of the mining of mercury, and digging cinnabar was tough, costly, and hazardous, because of the toxicity of mercury.

The Chinese were possibly the first to make an artificial vermilion as early as the 4th century BC. Greek alchemist Zosimus of Panopolis.

Source

This color is formulated from powdered mineral cinnabar.

14. Cinnabar

Color Family – Red

Source – basic mercury

Color Code – #E34234

14. Cinnabar

Origin

Cinnabar is a luminous scarlet to brick-red color form of mercury (II) sulfide (HgS). It is the greatly familiar source ore for purifying basic mercury and is the memorable derivation for the brilliant red or scarlet color termed vermilion and correlated red mercury colors. Cinnabar has been utilized for its color since ancientness in the Near East

Source

Cinnabar commonly exists as a vein-filling mineral linked with modern volcanic action and alkaline hot springs. The mineral looks like quartz in proportion and in its displaying birefringence. Cinnabar has a normal refractive index near 3.2, a hardness between 2.0 and 2.5, and a specific solemnity of nearly 8.1. The pigment and components are derived from a pattern that is a hexagonal crystalline lattice. Cinnabar is virtually formed in all mineral extraction localities that produce mercury.

Final Thoughts

These fourteen colors have their place in the world of color, but they are not nearly as well known or used as the other common colors that we see everyday. If you find them, you will be in some very elite company. So, in closing, it’s probably safe to say that there is a rare beauty to these colors in all their majesty. They are as unusual and outstanding as the people who choose them. Perhaps some day one of these will be “the color” for you and your personality.

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