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Umber, Luberon [100 g jar] (3.5 oz.)
100 g jar (3.5 oz)
A yellowish brown to greenish brown mineral pigment used in tempera, oil and watercolor mediums, obtained from certain natural clays colored by the oxides of iron and manganese. Our French raw umber is from the last remaining European company operating the ochre deposits in the French quarries of Gargas and Rustrel nestled in a 12 mile long enclave in the heart of the Luberon Mastiff, the ochre country.
ombre naturelle, terre d'ombre
Origin and History
The name of the pigment comes from Latin
, which literally means
and hence was called
terra di ombra
earth of shadow
). Historically, European sources of yellow earths (goethite) were mined near Leghorn or Siena (Tuscany, Italy). These are siennas containing roughly 50% iron oxide and less than 1% manganese dioxide. The dark red or brown umbers, containing 45% to 70% iron oxide and 5% to 20% manganese dioxide, were originally extracted from the Umbria region of Italy, but are now mined primarily in Cyprus.
Iron oxides, or earth pigments, as they often are called, are an important group of inorganic pigments derived from minerals. Iron oxide pigments are yellow, red, brown and green, but artists know them as ochre, sienna, red oxide, umber and terra verte. Unlike pigments made in a laboratory, the color of natural iron oxide pigments varies with the composition of the particular segment of earth from which they come. The color of these pigments is derived from three constituents: the principal coloring ingredient, secondary coloring ingredients and a base. The combination of these ingredients produces the particular color of the earth. The innumerable forms and variations in which these ingredients can combine result in the wide range of possible yellows, reds, browns and greens.
Principal coloring ingredient
: Iron oxide is the principal color producing ingredient in the earth. The properties of the particular iron oxide present in the earth determines its color. The nature of the iron oxide found in the deposit, rather than its percentage, is critical to the resulting earth color. Most rock contains some iron oxide. Those bearing the least amounts are limestones. white clays and colorless kaolins. Those containing the highest amounts are the rocks from which metallic iron is extracted.
Secondary coloring ingredients
: Calcium, manganese oxide, carbonic materials, silica and limestone are some common modifiers that affect the specific color of natural iron oxides. Manganese oxide, for example, enriches the brown in umbers.
: Nearly all iron oxides have a clay base. Clay is the weathered product of silicate rocks and is extremely varied in composition. As a result, it has numerous effects on the earth's color.
A yellowish brown to greenish brown mineral pigment used in tempera, oil and watercolor mediums, obtained from certain natural clays colored by the oxides of iron and manganese. Just as with sienna, the chemical composition of umber is closely related to the iron oxide content of ochre. What makes umber different is the increased content of manganese. Other substances naturally occurring in umber include clay, talc, and calcium carbonate do not affect its color. Umbers with the highest tinting strength are those with the highest content of manganese and iron. Some of the finest umber comes from Cyprus and may contain up to 16% manganese oxide. German umber typically contains 1-2% manganese, English umber 7%, and umber from the Ukraine about 4% manganese. Our umber is from deposits found in the Khot'kovskaia region of Russia. Our pigment is finely ground and exhibits a yellowish brown masstone with greenish undertones. It has excellent tinting strength and good covering power.
As demonstrated in experiments conducted by K. I. Tolstikhinoy, the chromacity of natural iron oxide and clay pigments are closely related to the content of iron oxide, and from a mineralogical point of view -- the content of
. Thus, with the content of iron oxide less than 23%, luminosities of the tone of pigment compose 40-50%, the purity of tone 60-70%. With the content of the iron oxide from 22 to 74%, luminosities of tone varies in interval of 25-40%, the purity of tone from 70 to 85%, and with the content of the iron oxide more than 75%, luminosity is located in interval of 18-25%, the purity of tone 83-90%.
A characteristic of pigments containing goethite is their ability to change color when heated. Heating ochre and sienna causes the hydrated iron oxide to give up water, and with the resulting dehydration darken in shade while its tone intensifies. At temperatures exceeding 300°C yellow pigments acquire red-brown tones. The most intensive red tones are obtained as a result of calcining goethite at a temperature between 500-600°C. The change in color is directly related to the dehydration of goethite and its transformation into
. Prolonged heating at high temperatures causes another change into a mineral of dark gray color -- magnetite. Roasting umber gives a pigment of black-brown color known as
Permanence and Compatibility
Umber does not react with other pigments and is effectively used in fresco, oil, tempera and watercolors. It is considered to be permanent with medium to excellent tinting strength and high opacity. It does not react with solvents, and is indifferent to alkalis, but is partially soluble in acids.
Oil Absorption and Grinding
Umber moderately absorbs oil when dispersing it in this medium. The oil absorption ratio is 23–35 parts by weight of pigment to 100 parts by weight of linseed oil. If the measurement were grams, umber would require 100 grams (by weight) of linseed oil to grind 23 to 35 grams (by weight) of pigment to form a stiff paste. Due to its manganese content, umber hastens the drying of oil, and forms a good, flexible film.
Umber is considered non-toxic, however, manganese, a constituent of umber, is considered moderately toxic, so care should be exercised when handling the dry powder pigment so as not to inhale the dust.
Pigment: Raw Umber (Luberon)
Pigment Brown 7 (77491) (77492) (77499)
Hydrated Iron Oxide (partial component)
ASTM Lightfastness Rating
na=2.260 nß=2.393 n?=2.398
Read cautions about handling pigments
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