There is a plethora (I just like that word…plethora….it makes me smile) of colors when it comes to design and style and gone are the days of just primary and secondary colors. Take paint for instance: With the advancement of technology and the ability to color match almost any shade or variant of a color, the possibilities for paint are almost limitless.
The other day while waiting for our ride to pick us up at the airport, a lady standing next to us was explaining via cellphone to her ride that she would be curbside wearing a fuchsia shirt. My husband leaned over and said, “I thought her shirt was purple.” While fuchsia is fairly common, that color moment stuck in my brain and I thought it would be interesting to see what weird colors were out there. After a little on-line research I came across a toptenz.net list for weird colors so while using some of the info given in the article I’ve fleshed them out a bit more.
Malachite is a secondary copper mineral known by its unique light and dark green banding. Named for the Greek word “mallow,” a green herb, the color is referenced clear back to Greek / Roman Mythology in which Demeter’s throne was said to have been made out of Malachite.
Spicy mustard yellow but just a bit darker, Gamboge comes from the Latin word for pigment, gambogium, which is a derivative of the Latin word Gambogia aka Cambodia. In the 17th century the color had made its way to Europe where it was first used in the English language in 1634.
Fallow is one of the oldest color names to exist in the English language. The pale brown is named after the color one would see when looking into fallow fields as well as the soil, which is often sandy. The color Fallow was first recorded in 1,000. The color is known in South African and Indian cultures as Ravi brown.
Razzmatazz is a red-pink color invented by Crayola in 1993, and was first found in the Big Box of 96. The color is said to be very similar to rose which is found directly in the middle of magenta and red on the color wheel. The new crayon color was named by five-year old Laura Bartolomei-Hill during Crayola’s Name the New Colors Contest.
Falu Red originated from a copper mine at Falun in Dalarna, Sweden and was originally used on wooden barns and cottages. Falu Red has been around since the 16th century and is still used today though most predominately in the countryside.
While the color name sounds a bit depressing, it is a beautiful dark metallic gray with or without hints of steely blue and is based around the element Arsenic, a metalloid that is naturally found. *Note: Some arsenic agents have more of a red-orange tint.
Feldgrau, German for “field gray,” was the color of German uniforms worn from 1907 until late 1945. The color was also used in post war uniforms by the East German Army (NVA) and the Bundeswehr, West Germany’s army. The color was last used on the woollen m/58 winter uniform. The gray-green color is very similar to the greens, grays, and browns used in more widely used army uniforms, such as those of the U.S. Army.
United Nations blue is very similar to Dodger blue, but is more pastel-like and not as vibrant. This blue is found on the U.N. flag, as well as the U.N emblem and peacekeeper uniforms.
Xanadu is a green-gray color stemming from the Philodendron plant. The plant leaves are generally a green color with a tint of gray. It is said that the plant got its name from Xanadu, which was an ancient city located in Inner Mongolia, China.
In Latin, Caput Mortuum translates into dead head or worthless remains, the terminology used by alchemists to describe the inert residue left over from a chemical reaction. This by-product was often a rusty violet color and today is an important pigmentation for artists.