Egyptian blue, was mankind’s rst synthetically produced colour, invented in Ancient Egypt about 5,500 years ago, the same time that the Great Pyramids were built.
It was not produced by blind chance, but created with precision. Made from lime, copper and quartz and then kiln red at a crucial temperature of around 900 °C. It must be assumed that the Egyptians were able to control the ring conditions with amazing accuracy. Originally it would have been produced as a ceramic glaze for pots, an opaque deep blue glass. When this glaze was crushed up and ground into a ne powder it made the pigment.
It was combined with glues or gums to make into a paint for the decoration of tomb murals and objects.
The famous crown of Queen Nefertiti and certain stones of the temple of her husband, Akhenaten, owe their colour to Egyptian blue.
It was widely used until about AD800 when, after the fall of the Roman empire, Egyptian blue fell from use and the knowledge of its creation was forgotten.
The method of its production has only recently been rediscovered and the pigment re-introduced.