Thursday Salute to Originals: YInMn Blue

We’re pretty familiar with the 7 basic colors of the rainbow (ROY G. BIV!)  but the vast pigments that stem from those foundation colors seem to go on and on…and on. Crayola has always done a brilliant job of displaying some of the many color variations in their mega-box crayon collections. But guess what they’ve done now? They have released a new, vibrant hue – something that hasn’t been done in over 200 years. Say hello to YInMn Blue.

YInMn Blue was first discovered by a graduate student named Andrew Smith in an Oregon State University chemistry lab in 2009. The pigment is actually a specific elemental structure that allows manganese ions to absorb red and green light wavelengths, which in turn reflects a deep blue color. The combination of manganese oxide, yttrium, and indium is how the new color received its unique name.

We understand that most pigments are discovered accidentally. But there is something that makes YInMn Blue extremely fascinating… The pigment is so durable that even when placed into oil or water, the color does not fade. This is a significant win for the art community because blue pigments have historically been unstable, fading easily or containing toxic chemicals. YInMn blue is due to replace Crayola crayon color in the yellow family, Dandelion, which is retiring after 27 years of colorful service.

This week we have to give major salutes to both Andrew Smith AND Crayola. After all, color is often the foundation or inspiration – and sometimes both – behind a piece of art.

Sources: Oregon State, Art Net, This is Colossal