Iron oxide red

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Iron oxide red

Iron oxides produce a wide variety of red shades ranging from light, bright red to a deep purplish red. They can be natural, earth pigments (Hematite, Indian red, Venetian red) or synthetically prepared pigments (Light red). All iron oxide reds are stable, permanent pigments with good tinting strength and are the primary colorant in ochers and siennas.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Hematite at 100x (visible light left; UV light right)

Pigment Red 101; CI 77491; red iron oxide; red ocher; red ochre (Br.); pozzuolana (It.); terra di Pozzuoli (It.); hématite (Fr.); oxyde fer rouge (Fr.); bengara (Jap.); benigara (Jap.); Roter Ocker (Deut.); Hämatit (Deut.); hematita (Port.); oxeidio toy sidiroy (Gr.); kokkino (Gr.); aimatitis (Gr.); ematite (It.); ijzeroxide rood (Ned.); vermelho de óxido de ferro (Port.); haematite; hematite; Indian red; caput mortuum; rouge; Persian red; Tuscan red; Pompeian red; light red; Venetian red; terra Pozzuoli; English red; angel red

Chemical and Physical Properties

Composition Fe2O3
Mohs Hardness 5.5 - 6.5
Density 4.2-5.3 g/ml
Refractive Index 2.78; 3.01

Raman (MFA)

Hematite crystals, large (Forbes MFA 70) 50X resize.tif


MFA- Red oxide, Spanish, natural.jpg








Properties of Common Abrasives

Resources and Citations

  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Pigments"
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • R.Feller, M.Curran, C.Bailie, 'Identification of Traditional Organic Colorants Employed in Japanese Prints and Determination of their Rates of Fading', Japanese Woodblock Prints, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, 1984
  • Thomas Gregory, The Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Reinhold Publishing, New York, 3rd ed., 1942
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979