Chrome yellow

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Chrome yellow


Chromium yellow at 100 xx (visible light on left / UV light on right)
Chrome yellow at 200x

A toxic yellow artist's pigment containing Lead chromate sometimes mixed with Lead sulfate. Lead chromate can range in shade from lemon yellow to orange depending on its particle size, hydration state, and percent lead chromate. Chrome yellow, which came on the market in early 1800s, is permanent to visible light, but can darken with exposure to UV radiation or Hydrogen sulfide. Chrome yellow is used in industrial paints, some artist's paints and ceramic glazes.

Other yellow chromate pigments are sometimes also called chrome yellow. Strontium chromate, zinc chromate, and Barium chromate are pale yellow pigments that are often mixed and called lemon yellow. Strontium chromate has more hiding power than the barium chromate. Zinc yellow is synthetically prepared zinc chromate. The pure material is stable and is used in oil and watercolor paints.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Pigment Yellow 34; CI 77600; Chromgelb (Deut.); jaune de chrôme (Fr.); giallo cromo (It.); amarillo de cromo (Esp.); amarelo de crómio (Port.); Paris yellow; king's yellow; Vienna yellow; lemon yellow; jonquil chrome yellow; Cologne yellow; Leipzig yellow


Chrome yellow 305.TIF

Raman (MFA)

Chrome yellow (Forbes MFA 305) resize.tif








Slide16 FC306.PNG


  • Toxic by inhalation or ingestion.
  • Skin contact may cause irritation or ulcers. Carcinogen, teratogen, suspected mutagen.
  • Discolored by heat, UV light and sulfur fumes.
  • SigmaAldrich: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in strong acids and alkalis. Insoluble in water.
  • High birefringence.
  • Monoclinic prism crystals.
Composition PbCrO4
CAS 7758-97-6
Melting Point 844 C
Density 5.96 - 6.3 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 323.2
Refractive Index 2.31; 2.49

Resources and Citations

  • H. Kuhn, M.Curran, "Chrome Yellow and Other Chromate Pigments", Artists Pigments, Volume 1, R. Feller (ed.), Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1986.
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966 Comment: density = 5.96 and ref. index = 2.31; 2.49
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 445
  • Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Thomas B. Brill, Light Its Interaction with Art and Antiquities, Plenum Press, New York City, 1980
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Pigments"
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983