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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the difference between dyes and pigments?

Dyes dissolve in liquids. This gives them the ability to stain porous materials such as cloth or wood. Pigments do not dissolve but instead disperse as very fine particles. They have very limited staining power on their own and need an additional binder to make the particles adhere once the liquid medium has evaporated or dried.

Are all your pigments natural?

No. Our natural pigments can be found in the Natural Earths and Ochers and the Colonial Naturals categories. Our Mineral pigments are over 90% natural with a minimal amount of manmade colors from inorganic pigments. All the pigments in the Oxide category are manufactured from natural elements such as iron or other minerals.

What is an Ocher?

Ocher is defined as pigment consisting of a limonite mixed with clay and silica. It is a natural earth pigment that can vary from shades of light yellow to deep oranges to intense reds. The majority of our pigments come from The Société des Ocres de France, owners of the last remaining Ocher quarries in the Provence region of Southern France.

Can your pigments be used for cosmetics or mineral makeup?

We do not sell our Ochers and pigments for cosmetic purposes. They have not been tested and approved for use as pharmaceutical grade and are not ground fine enough for cosmetic applications.

Are your pigments used for tattoo ink?

No. The particles are too large and they will not implant.

Are your pigments biodegradable?

No. All of our pigments are inorganic. That means that they are of mineral origin and, like rocks, cannot be broken down by microorganisms. Therefore significant amounts of excess pigment should be thrown into the trash to be disposed of at a proper landfill that protects water sources.

Are your Ochers and pigments certified as nontoxic?

Our Ochers and pigments are certified as nontoxic by REACH, the Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals. For more information, please visit their website.

Can pigments be mixed with each other?

Pigments can be mixed to create an infinite number of shades. However some pigments may already be a mixture of more than one color. Too many colors in the mix may lead to a mud rather than a pleasing shade. Testing is always recommended.

Do you have recipes for using your pigments?

We have a very extensive library of pigment recipes and guidance for fine arts, home and decoration.

Are all of your pigments lime stable?

Yes, all of our pigments are lime stable WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THESE FOUR COLORS in the Oxide category: Ultramarine Rose, Ultramarine Violet, Cinnabar Red, Charron Blue.

Is your Ultramarine Blue a lime stable pigment?

Yes, our French Ultramarine Blue Dark is specially prepared to be both alkali and acid resistant. However when using with lime plasters, it should not be premixed but instead mixed immediately prior to application as its stability is only in the drying/dry state.

Can pigments be mixed with water only?

Ochers and pigments do not dissolve in water but instead will disperse as fine particles. They can be used with water in two ways. The first is called a Shaker Stain used for absorbent, raw wood surfaces. The second is called Stone Washing and is used primarily for absorbent walls. Both techniques require that the fixed pigment be sealed after the water has dried. Ochers and natural based pigments work best for these techniques.

Are pigments suitable for candles?

Dyes are used instead of pigments when creating the body of the candle because pigments can interfere with the capillary action of the wick. However due to their opaque nature, pigments and micas are the choice for over-dipping.

Are your Ochers and pigments safe for crayons?

Yes, all of our colors can be used for crayons. Many of our colors are the same used by large crayon manufacturers. If making crayons for very small children that may ingest them, it is advisable to use food safe colorants instead.

Do you have a lime wash recipe?

Yes. Refer to our Lime Wash page to find recipes and an in-depth article.

Can Ochers and pigments be used to tint plasters?

Yes, Ochers and pigments have traditionally been used to tint plasters of all kinds. Lime, Cement, Clay and Gypsum based plasters all can be tinted. They will create soft, pastel shades. Please refer to our Plasters page for more information.

Can Ochers and pigments be used to tint decorative cement?

Yes. Find our instructions for using Ochers and pigments on our Cements page.

Do you ship to any countries other than USA and Canada?

No. But the quarry in France does ship to many countries. Visit their multilingual website.