blue pigment originally made by grinding lapis lazuli into a powder
This box shows the colour Ultramarine.

Ultramarine is a blue pigment, and the name of a blue colour. The pigment is found naturally. It is ground down from a mineral called Lazurite, the main component of lapis lazuli.[1] The colour is due to the presence of S−3 anions (trisulfur).

Synthetic ultramarineEdit

Synthetic ultramarine is a more vivid blue than natural ultramarine, since the particles in synthetic ultramarine are smaller and more uniform than natural ultramarine and therefore diffuse light more evenly.

Artificial, like natural, ultramarine has a magnificent blue colour. Since it is not affected by light or contact with oil or lime, it is used in painting.

A small addition of zinc-white (zinc oxide) causes the colour to become less vivid (~bright). Synthetic ultramarine, invented in the 1820s, is very cheap. It is largely used for wall painting, the printing of paperhangings and calico. It is also used to correct the yellowish tinge found in things meant to be white, such as linen, paper, etc. Bluing or "laundry blue" is a solution of synthetic ultramarine (sometimes, prussian blue) that is used for this purpose when washing white clothes. Large amounts are used in making paper, especially the kind of pale blue writing paper popular in Britain. During World War I, the RAF painted the outer roundels with a colour based on ultramarine blue. This became BS 108(381C) Aircraft Blue. It was replaced in the 1960s by a new color based on phthalocyanine blue, BS110(381C) Roundel Blue.

Comparison of green, teal, blue and ultramarineEdit

Name Color HEX Code Red Green Blue Hue Sat Lum
Green #008000 0 128 0 120° 100% 50%
Teal #008080 0 128 128 180° 100% 50%
Blue #0000FF 0 0 255 240° 100% 100%
Ultramarine (Electric Ultramarine) #3F00FF 63 0 255 255° 100% 100%

Related pagesEdit


  1. Buxbaum G. et al 2012. Pigments, inorganic, 3. Colored pigments. In Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.n20_n02