Facts, History, and Meanings of the Color Indigo

A collection of facts, history, meanings, uses, phrases, and lore about the color indigo.



History and Lore: When Isaac Newton detected the color spectrum, he classified the tone between blue and violet as indigo, thus determining seven primary colors. Now this reference is not commonly used. It is usually referred to as blue-violet or violet-blue or just blue. The word in its present spelling originated about the middle of the 17th century to refer to the blue Indian dye derived from the blue powder of the plant indigofera. It was known to the ancients of Asia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Peru. Egyptians dyed mummy cases with indigo, as well as their garments. In India it has been employed for thousands of years. Its introduction into Europe as a dye is generally attributed to the Jews, who, during the Middle Ages, practiced the art of dying with indigo in the Levant. In the U.S. it was first used for dying the cloth for work clothes. Now this hue is produced synthetically. A good indigo is a deep blue with a tinge of red.

Daily Uses: Because indigo is supposed to affect the powers of concentration and memory, it is an appropriate shade to use in rooms designed for introspection and creative work. Good in rooms used for congregating. It is not a familiar color and therefore should be used sparingly. It can cause withdrawal and uneasiness if used in excess.

Indigo is found in the same foods listed under blue and violet.

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