Gentian violet

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Absorption and fluorescence emission spectra


A dark green, metallic powder that forms a deep violet aqueous solution. Gentian violet is a synthetic triphenylmethane dye. It used to color wood, Silk, Leather, and Paper. Gentian violet is also used in ballpoint inks, typewriter ribbons, printing inks, and as a biological stain and acid-base indicator.

Absorption spectrum

Synonyms and Related Terms

aniline violet; crystal violet; CI 42555; hexamethyl-p-rosaniline chloride; Basic Violet ; Solvent Violet 9; Pigment Violet 39 (phosphomolybdic salt); violeta genciana (Esp.); violeta de genciana (Port.)


  • Toxic by ingestion (1 ounce may be lethal).
  • Inhalation and contact cause irritation.
  • CDH Fine Chemicals: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water, chloroform. Lightly soluble in ethanol, glycerol. Insoluble in ether.

Composition C25H30ClN3
CAS 548-62-9
Melting Point 215 C
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 408

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 4401; CAS=8004-87-3
  • Colour Index International online at Comment: CAS=548-62-9
  • Sigma Dyes, Stains and Natural Pigments, Infrared Library, Nicolet, 1991-1995 Comment: OMNIC: formula= C25H30ClN3, CAS= 548-62-9