Product Profiles: "Pure Pigments" Explained

Ask the Expert: "I notice you use the term "Pure Pigments" in describing some of your paints. Are they not all equally pure? What would make a pigment 'impure'?"

A: Selecting the highest quality pigments hasalways been key to our formulas. Pigments, likemost materials, come in different grades ofquality and purity. The purest pigments costmore but offer the best performance, whilecolors diluted with fillers have a lower bulk costbut perform much less well in paint. Only PurePigments are selected for use in UtrechtProfessional Artist's Colors.

Fillers and Co-precipitates

In "student grade" paints, fillers may be added inthe manufacturing process, but they can also bepresent in the raw pigment. Cadmium-basedcolors, for example, can be manufactured in aprocess that simultaneously produces barium (achalky filler) as a co-precipitate. The finalproduct contains enough cadmium to impartcolor, but compared to a pure pigment with nobarium, color intensity, tint strength and coveringpower are significantly less. According to theMuseum of Fine Arts, Boston materialsdatabase:

"Cadmium barium yellow is a permanentcolor that has poorer hiding power and lower tinting strength than pure cadmium yellowpigment. "

We use the word "Pure" in the names of specificpremium colors to communicate our choice touse only top quality raw materials, but we alsoapply this standard across all our ProfessionalArtist's Color lines. For example, we still use realhydrous chromic oxide for Viridian, as opposedto phthalo-based mixtures. Utrecht genuine RawUmber still offers the characteristic, subtleundertones of the historical color because,unlike some manufacturers we do not add blackto produce a darker, more generic "brown".

While some paint makers have reformulated keycolors to include cheaper materials, we continueto use pure, authentic pigments and bring eachone to its best advantage.

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