Cobalt violet, light

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Cobalt violet light


A pale to medium violet pigment originally composed of Cobaltous arsenate. Cobaltous arsenate occurs in nature as cobalt bloom or Erythrite. Once it was synthetically produced in 1880, it became an important permanent, violet pigment. Cobaltous arsenate is now rarely used because of its toxicity. It has been replaced by the use of Cobaltous phosphate (deep cobalt violet) and Cobaltous ammonium phosphate. Light cobalt violet was used as a colorant in paints, glass, glazes, and enamels.

Synonyms and Related Terms

cobalt arsenate (arsenite); Pigment Violet 14; CI 77350; erythrite (mineral); violeta de cobalto claro (Esp.); Kobaltviolett (hell) (Deut.); violet de cobalt (clair) (Fr.); iodes toy kobaltioy anoikto (Gr.); violetto di cobalto chiaro (It.); cobalt violet (licht) (Ned.); violeta de cobalto, claro (Port.); red cobalt; cobalt bloom; ; pale cobalt violet


MFA- Cobalt violet light.jpg






  • Skin contact may cause allergies, especially on elbows, neck and ankles.
  • Chronic inhalation may cause asthma.
  • Ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea and the sensation of hotness.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Monoclinic crystal system with prismatic or euhedral crystals.
  • Perfect cleavage parallel to long axes.
  • Weakly pleochroic.
  • High birefringence under crossed polars.
Composition Co3(AsO4)2 - 8H2O
Mohs Hardness 1.5-2.5 (erythrite)
Density 3.06 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.626-1.701

Resources and Citations

  • Corbeil, Marie-Claude, Jean-Pierre Charland, Elizabeth Moffatt. 'The characterization of cobalt violet pigments' Studies in Conservation vol.47 (2002), pp.237-249.
  • Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Thomas B. Brill, Light Its Interaction with Art and Antiquities, Plenum Press, New York City, 1980

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