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At Ochres & Oxides we are committed to healthy environments and non-toxic materials. All of our pigments are evaluated from the following criteria:

  • Natural or inorganic pigment of natural origin
  • Minimally processed and conscientiously mined
  • No heavy metals or toxic materials either in the end result or through manufacturing
  • For use in frescoe, lime, cement, waxes, paints, adhesives, caisein, water colors, oils
  • Safe for indoor and outdoor use
  • Quality of material
  • Ease of use and dispersion
  • Beauty and range of color possibilities

When using pigments, and any fine particulate materials, it is best practice to wear protective gloves and an approved NIOSH certified dust mask or particulate respirator and safety goggles or glasses. Pigments consist of very fine particulate that should not be ingested, inhaled or embedded in the body.

Greek, meaning pale yellow

The natural earth colors: ochres, umbers and sienna’s are natural pigments mined directly from the earth. Their color comes from the presence of iron oxides and hydroxides in the soil along with varying amounts of clay, chalk, and silica. When earth colors are heated their usual color becomes warmer and deeper. Vaulcluse (raw) Sienna becomes Madeira (or burnt sienna) and Turkish Earth (umber) become Nile Brown (burnt umber).

French Vaucluse Ochres show a broad range of color from the palest of yellows to the brightest of reds and represent some of the highest quality natural pigments in the world.

Latin acidus, tart, acid.

Oxides: Natural and Inorganic pigments of natural origin. The chemical structure is a sodium alumino-sulpho silicate. The crystal lattice structure is of the sodalite type. The major ingredients used for the manufacture of the inorganic pigments are china clay, sulphur and sodium carbonate. The raw materials are mixed before heating in specially designed kilns to a temperature of about 800C. After cooling to about 400C a controlled oxidation reaction develops the final characteristic color.


The Source

Our pigments come from traditional mines throughout the Mediterranean. Natural earth is hydro-mined then ground into powder. Oxides are manufactured to control the oxidation process under environmentally controlled conditions.

Ochre occurs naturally as earth and can be heated to change colors from yellows and oranges to reds and browns. Oxides both occur naturally and are created synthetically (considered inorganic), and are put through a controlled oxidization process to create various colors including blues, violets and dark greens. Blue and violet pigments are most often created this way in preference to the use of lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone.

For more detailed information please download our MSDS sheets.