Blue Ocher (Vivianite) Pigment

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Vivianite is a rare mineral of hydrated iron phosphate that exhibits an intense dark blue color. Our vivianite comes from bogs around the Moscow region, and has a dark blue masstone, similar to indigo, with a reddish blue undertone.

Vivianite is a rare mineral of hydrated iron phosphate that exhibits an intense dark blue color. Our vivianite comes from bogs around the Moscow region and has a dark blue masstone, similar to indigo, with a reddish-blue undertone.

Pigment Names
Common Names (pigment):English: blue ochre, blue ocher
French: Ocre martiale bleue
German: blauer Oker
Italian: ocre blu
Spanish: ocre azul
Common Names (mineral):English: Vivianite
French: Vivianite
German: Vivianit
Italian: Vivianita
Spanish: Vivianita
Synonyms:angelardite, anglarite (of Berthier), anglarite (of Kobell), blue iron earth, glaucosiderite, mullicite, native Prussian blue, odontolite, paravivianite, phosphate of iron
Common NamePrimary MineralSource
Blue OcherVivianiteMoscow, Russia


Pigment Information
Pigment Classification:Natural Inorganic
Colour Index:Not Listed
Chemical Name:Hydrated Iron Phosphate
Chemical Formula:Fe3+2(PO4)2-8(H2O)
CAS No.:14567-67-0
Series No.:7
ASTM Lightfastness
Acrylic:Not Listed
Oil:Not Listed
Watercolor:Not Listed
Physical Properties
Particle Size (mean):12 microns
Density:2.60 g/cm3
Hardness:1.5 to 2.0 Mohs Scale
Oil Absorption:35 grams oil / 100 grams pigment
  Solubility:Easily soluble in acids
Optical Properties
  Refractive Index:nα = 1.579–1.616, nβ = 1.602–1.656, nγ = 1.629–1.675
Birefringence:δ = 0.050–0.059
Ultraviolet fluorescence:Not fluorescent
Solubility:Easily soluble in acids
Health and SafetyNo acute or known chronic health hazards are associated with this product's anticipated use (most chemicals are not thoroughly tested for chronic toxicity). Protect yourself against potentially unknown chronic hazards of this and other chemical products by keeping them out of your body. Do this by avoiding ingestion, excessive skin contact, and inhaling spraying mists, sanding dust, and vapors from heating. Conforms to ASTM D-4236.

For a detailed explanation of the terms in the table above, please visit Composition and Permanence.

Origin and History of Use

Vivianite, named after the English mineralogist F. G. Vivian, is a rare mineral of secondary origin associated with pyrite in copper and tin veins and is a hydrated iron phosphate of a blue-to-green color.

Vivianite has rarely been found on European easel paintings, but it has been identified in medieval paintings in Germany and English medieval polychromy. The School of Cologne used it to depict skies in 13th and 14th-century paintings.


Vivianite is found principally in two environments: In the oxidized upper layers of ore deposits, where it may appear as dark indigo, blue-black, or green crystals. It is also found in organic-rich environments, often lining the inside of ancient mollusk shells, but sometimes associated with bones, decaying wood, and other organic material. Vivianite forms radiating clusters of acicular (needle-like), prismatic, or fibrous bluish-green crystals associated with hematite, siderite, or anapaite. Mineral from the latter environment is sometimes collected for use as a pigment, but in practice, it is more frequently gathered from ore deposits, such as peat bogs and marshy lakes. Extracting soft, friable vivianite concretions from viscous, dense clayey soil is time-consuming. Once obtained, it is necessary to thoroughly wash it to remove clay and organic residue from each grain of vivianite. The labor expended in this operation is rewarded by a high-quality end product. Vivianite is generally stable and dark blue or green, though the mineral may be colorless when first exposed. This color transformation is a unique feature of vivianite found in peat bogs.

The most significant reserves of vivianite in Russia are in the Kudinovskoye layer of bog ores near Moscow. Deposits of vivianite are also found in Bolivia; Gervais, Brazil; Colorado, U.S.; Cornwall, England; Crimea, Ukraine; Germany; and Serbia. We obtain our vivianite from bog ore deposits in the Moscow area.

Permanence and Compatibility

Vivianite is generally considered stable, but there have been instances where it was observed to alter from its blue hue to a yellow color. The mineral's color change from colorless to blue on initial exposure is due to increased ferric ion concentrations. So it has been established that mechanical and chemical processing can produce a color change.

Oil Absorption and Grinding

Vivianite employed in oil medium has been improperly identified as natural Prussian blue. No data has been published on vivianite's oil absorption and grinding qualities.


Vivianite is not considered toxic, but care should be used in handling the dry powder pigment so as not to inhale the dust.

For more information on handling pigments safely, please visit How to Safely Handle Art Materials and Pigments.

More Information
BrandRublev Colours
VendorNatural Pigments
Processing TimeUsually ships the next business day.
Pigment TypeInorganic, Historical, Natural
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Blue Ocher (Vivianite) Pigment
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