Lapis Lazuli Lapis Lazuli Pigment

Why use ultramarine

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Written by Humaira Irfan

Why use ultramarine/lapis pigment?

Natural ultramarine is the painters dream; the natural ultramarine pigment with its crystalline structure and multiple surfaces reflects light like a finely faceted jewel thereby exhibiting ever changing display of rich vibrant blues. This creates a three dimensional, gem like effect which is not at all possible with a very small, round and homogenous shaped particles of the synthetic ultramarine pigment.


  1. Compare the reflection of light from the larger & heterogeneous shaped particles of naturalLapis pigment to the small same sized and shaped particles of synthetic ultramarine; the lapis pigment particles are far more transparent allowing more light to pass through them also allowing greater reflection of light. While synthetic pigment particles do not allow much light to pass through them absorbing most of it and reflecting little.
  2. The lapis pigment is a gemstone pigment therefore its particles act as finely faceted jewels reflecting light giving a crystalline glitter to the painting; synthetic ultramarine is a chemical pigment, its particles  are round and small they cannot reflect light like natural ultramarine.
  3. As lapis pigment allows more light to pass through it so the layer of paint underneath it receives more light and becomes more luminous; synthetic pigment do not allow much light to pass through therefore the paint layer underneath it is not illuminated.
  4. As shown in the diagram ,there is far greater and better transmission of color from the layer underneath lapis paint layer than that of synthetic paint layer; also the color reflected through lapis layer is brighter and more vibrant than the dull shade of color transmitted through synthetic pigment.

The natural ultramarine has a high stability to light and records have shown a painting 500 yrs old which has as pure and intense a blue color as freshly painted. It is suitable for every medium, equally excellent with oils, water and egg tempera. Ultramarine is well suited to make works of art more distinguished and alive with its gemstone energy.

Add aesthetic and monetary value to your painting by using DeMairo Lapis pigment in your painting

About the author

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Humaira Irfan

De Mairo’s Lapis lazuli Pigment with oil colors on canvas
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