1) The dark brown-black liquid secreted by the cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis or other Cephalopoda. The ink sacs and fluid are removed from the squid and sun-dried; then the color is extracted with alkali and precipitated with acid. Sepia was used for inks since antiquity. It was first introduced as a watercolor pigment mixed with gum arabic about 1780 by Jacob Seydelmann in Dresden. Sepia is a natural organic acid that is fairly permanent, except in strong sunlight.
2) A dark, warm black color resembling the tone obtained from cuttlefish ink. Other pigment mixtures of burnt umber, Vandyke brown, and lampblack are also sold under the name sepia.
3) (not common) A powder composed of ground cuttlefish bones. Sepia powder, also called sepiolite, is composed of calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate. It is used as a polishing agent.
Synonyms and Related Terms
1: Warm Black; cuttlefish ink; sepiomelanin; Natural Brown 9; spia (Fr., Port.) 3: cuttlefish bone; cuttlebone; sepiolite;
Soluble in ammonium hydroxide, alkalis. Insoluble in acids, water, ethanol. Decolorized by nitric acid and chlorine bleaches. Fishy odor. Fugitive in ultraviolet light.
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