"New" gamboge

24 Feb 2009

Q: What is the difference between the color “gamboge” and the color “new gamboges”? What about “ultramarine” and “French ultramarine”?

A: Gamboge is a fugitive color made from a gum or resin harvested from a type of evergreen that grows in Southeast Asia. New gamboge is a synthetic yellow that simulates the effect of gamboge by blending Hansa yellow with a little bit of red. “Ultramarine” is Latin for beyond the sea, and it refers to the fact that the color was originally made by milling lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone that likely came on ships from Afghanistan. In the mid-1800s art materials manufacturers began calling synthetic versions of ultramarine “French ultramarine.” All ultramarine blue pigments are now synthesized from various elements.

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