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Limited Edition: Vivianite


Limited Edition: Vivianite



Vivianite is a soft and deep blue earth pigment composed of ferrous phosphate.  In 1917 the mineral was named after the man who discovered it at Wheal Kind in St. Agnes Cornwall, John Henry Vivian.  Prior to the name Vivianite, the pigment was more simply known as Blue Ochre.

Pure, fresh Vivianite mineral crystals are actually colorless but oxidize easily when exposed to light and develop into a deep blue to deep bluish green and even blackish green.  Vivianite can be found inside fossil shells, like ancient mollusks, or attached to fossil bone.  It is often connected to organic, phosphate-rich environments containing bone and/or decaying wood, like peat bogs and clay beds.

In Medieval Europe Vivianite became an alternative to the expensive Lapis Lazuli.  Lapis is a sulfur-rich metamorphic rock with mineral components while Vivianite is a naturally hydrated iron phosphate mineral with prismatic crystals.  The study and development of blue iron minerals as pigment for painting became more widespread with the use and popularity of Vivianite.

Vivianite is prominently seen in medieval paintings and architectural decorative elements in Germany, England Sweden, and Norway.  Vivianite, or Blue Ochre, was used by the School of Cologne during the 13th and 14th centuries to depict skies.  It has also been identified in Johannes Vermeer’s well known painting The Procuress from 1656.

Handmade in our shop using the highest quality earth pigment and natural watercolor binding medium made from gum arabic (sap from acacia trees,) honey, glycerine and distilled water.

* depending on availability - please allow around a week for items to be shipped.

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4037 Judah St. @ 46th Ave., Outer Sunset, SF
open daily from 11-6pm