A few centuries ago we did not have paint swatches at hardware stores, Pantone color books, or computer programs with unlimited color schemes. All there was was the colors that already existed in nature. Mineral deposits in foreign countries wielded vibrant blues and other colors.
Edward Forbes, a Harvard historian, has collected 2,500 different specimens of pigments from around the world. His collection can be viewed at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University.
In an article written by Diana Budds of FastCoDesign.com, she writes about 10 of the rarest and most interesting pigments in the Forbes collection described by Edward Forbes. Some of these colors include Mummy Brown (actually harvested from the wrappings of Egyptian mummies!), Dragon’s Blood, Cochineal (made from squashed beetles!), emerald green and more.
To see some of these amazing colors and read more about the Forbes collection, please visit the article here: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3058058/the-harvard-vault-that-protects-the-worlds-rarest-colors/1