Pigment Types - Mineral, Earth, Synthetic, Organic, Inorganic.

There is a fair bit of confusion around pigment types, What is the difference between Mineral Pigments, Earth Pigments, Synthetic Pigments, Organic Pigments, Inorganic Pigments.

I will do my best to try and clarify a few things.

Organic Pigments (dyes) are pigments that contain carbon molecules. which can include plant extracts or believe it or not, Petro chemical preparations. Organic in this context has a very different meaning to that which has been adopted by the food industry. Organic pigments are less stable than inorganic pigments and are often bonded to a mineral (inorganic) base for stability.

Inorganic pigments Pigments extracted from inorganic compounds and salts such as metallic oxides, ochres and earths. In the pigment world, inorganic is the more natural product.

Mineral Pigments - Pigments that are from a mineral source. All of the Coloured Earth pigments that we stock are mineral pigments. Mineral pigments are inorganic. Mineral pigments can be broken down into 2 groups Natural and Synthetic.

Natural Earth Pigments - These start life as minerals that are dug out of the ground they are then cleaned dried and the raw material that is left is ground into a powder.  Ochres, earths, Umbers, Siennas and Natural Oxides are all types of natural earth pigment. 

Synthetic Pigments - Synthetic pigments are pigments that have been manufactured or put through a process. For example, Oxides can be fired in a Kiln (calcined) to change the colour of the pigment. Also white minerals such as chalk or lime can be bonded to an organic pigment or dye to create brighter coloured pigments not available from a natural earth source. The process of bonding an organic pigment to an inorganic mineral also improves the stability of the organic colour.

Toxicity. Toxic pigments can come from organic or inorganic sources. However, all of the Coloured Earth pigments are non-toxic.

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