Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh, Snail Spit and Drama

Regal, royal and full of energy.

Wise, independent and extremely creative.

Snail spit and Alexander the Great.

What is probably one of the most popular colors for creative folks, has such a long and rich history within the artistic community.

The color purple was one of the first colors that was created for use in prehistoric art. Those artists may or may not have discovered fire yet, but they were drawing on the cave walls with sticks of manganese. Purple dating back 25,000 years or so, have been found in hand outlines and animal drawings on the caves within the Pech Merle cave in France.

The color purple was discovered in the art in the time of the Phoenicians, who found out that if you took snail mucus you could create a dye that they called Tyrian purple. There is no mention as to the one who discovered this, nor is there any indication as to how they discovered this, only that several ancient sites are the home to piles and piles and piles of snail shells who gave their little lives to making purple for the ancient robes and other ornamentation of the royal.

The art of creating the dye from the tiny snail’s mucus was an exact science that needed careful and deliberate timing. The mucus was allowed to sit in the sun where it turned white, yellow-green, green, violet, red and then to a dark purple. The mucus apparently passed through the spectrum as the ultraviolet light of the sun hit it. Or it was magic. You decide.

It was expensive and took thousands of little sea snails to create one small batch of this dye.

Throughout the history of the Middle East, all royalty was adorned in some sort of purple to mark their status and their ruling class.

The Bible depicts the priests adorned in purple. God tells Moses to bring Him some purple cloth.

The Trojan warrior’s horses had their tails dipped in purple dye in the Iliad. The Odyssey provides the wedding beds with purple blankets.

The poor sea snails had to be put through the recreation of their popular purple color when a German chemist tried to recreate Tyrian purple in a lab in 2008. He sacrificed 12,000 of the tiny creatures to create enough dye to dye a handkerchief. That was less than 1.4 ounces of dye.

The Christian era continued the use of purple when during the Byzantine empire, the pages of the Gospels were written on parchment and lined in gold and Tyrian purple. Births were conducted in Purple Rooms, so the new royals were known to have been Born in the Purple.

Throughout the history of man, purple has been a dominant color in their societies and leaderships.

The color purple provides inner sight into creativity, wisdom and spirituality. The color purple provides pure energy to the those who wear or surround themselves in purple. It is soothing and provides mental relief while stimulating the mind. It takes the wearer on a journey that provides them with a tranquil and stress free journey.

Creative folks love, love, love purple. It is exciting to work with and exciting to wear. It is for those with an adventurous heart that love to explore the surrounding world. Oh, and, so, dramatic.

Those who wear purple stand a little taller and speak a little slower. They are filled with self-respect and dignity. That must be the regal part coming out, or they were born in a Purple Room.

It is sophisticated and romantic. It leads the way and is exotic.

Purple lives well with other colors since it is a derivative of blue and red. Color combinations are wide and varied, with all combinations working in harmony. The color purple certainly can stand alone.

Here are some designers who have taken the color purple and brought it to its dramatic conclusion.


Lilac Checked Tablecloth Fringed Farmhouse Square 52x52 Cotton Linens


Original Batik Art Painting on Silk, 'Abstract' by Musa


Hand Knit Purple Cotton Waffle Stitch Dishcloth or Washcloth


Porcelain Jasper Pendant and 18 1/2 inch Gemstone Necklace


Sterling Silver Copper Wire Wrap Purple Cubic Zirconium Pendant


Octopus Puzzle and Room Decor in Purple


Purple Dichroic Pendant, Black Base, Handmade Fused Glass Jewelry


Windmill and Violets on 1911 Gottschalk Dreyfuss Vintage Christmas Postcard


Purple Bow Necklace with Silver Chain


White Pearl and Amethyst Earrings, Crystals, Dressy Dangles, Swarovski


Spring Purple and Blue Silk Floral Arrangement in Hand decorated Vase


Necklace Purple Heart Violet Flowers Green Beads Polymer Clay Strand


Trinket jewelry box butterfly purple lavender small


Rice Roses, Wedding,Bird Seed, Mints, 50, Ivory, Roses, Ready2Ship


Custom: Alaskan Fish Wall Art in Blue, Purple, Violet and Pearl


Handmade Mother's Day Card Thanks For Always Being There Butterflies




Lariat - Bead in a bead, black onyx, shell and glass beads


Rose Tree of Life Necklace on Silver Chain with Purple and Pink Wire



Crucifixion Cross with Nail Pendant Handcrafted from Purple Heart Wood


Frozen Ocean Wave Dichroic Cobalt Blue Glass Handmade Brooch


Handmade Huge Purple Rose Cocktail Ring - Leather - Beaded - Upcycled


Wooden chunky purple and gold beaded necklace



Hard Rock Candy ~ Fossil dyed stone Two Strand Bracelet


Purple and White Checkered Glass Tile Pendant, Square



    Glass Bead Crystal Embroidered Agate Cabochon Black Purple Beadwoven


    Apron-Womens Half Apron--Purple Floral


    Glass Charm Bead 5mm Large Hole Lampwork Slider Bracelet Bead Violet


    14 and 1/2 inch Purple Glass Beaded Necklace with Small Glass Pearls


    Purple NeckWarmer - Basket Weave, Cream trim & 3 Vintage Button



    Purple turquoise magnesite chunky earrings surgical steel ear wires.


    Handmade Amethyst Bracelet Copper Purple Gemstone Beaded Jewelry OOAK


    Charm Necklace Handmade Silver Honey Bee, Colorful Art Glass Beads


    As you can see, purple can be used in a variety of ways and plays well with others.

    Give mom, or any woman in your life, the royal treatment by purchasing any of these purple gifts from some very talented designers. If you would like to see more from these artists, please visit  Mother's Day Countdown Week 9 for an example of over 100 gift ideas from these very artists.

    Enjoy your purple and walk with your head held high, for you are royalty you know.

    Julie and Blu


    1. Love your post, Julie!

    2. Love purple ,even if it is not my color LOL....
      but it goes well with green ...
      Thank you for including my bracelet .
      Off to share :O)

    3. Fascinating! Purple is also the color for the liturgical vestments and altar cloths for the Byzantine churches to this day. I palpitated to your essay on purple. Thanks for including my bug charm necklace.

    4. This is an outstanding love love it. Thank you for including me!

    5. Finally, Purple, my favorite color. I feel sad about the poor snails. I never knew that's how they used to make purple.

    6. Another fascinating post, Julie. Knew the Phoenicians discovered Tyrian purple and that it came from a snail, but had no idea the dye actually came from the mucus of the snail. Another wonderful factoid to file away for Jeopardy - LOL! As always, I love your posts and am happy to see my amethyst bracelet featured with the other royal items. Seamus and I just got back from a walk through the desert so he's sacked out. But if he was awake, he'd be wishing many delicious dog treats to his handsome cyber-friend, Blu. Thanks again!

    7. Wonderful read.

      Thanks for the promotion. I tweeted the link


    8. Great Post.
      thanks you for including my womens double skirt purple floral apron in it

    9. Long live purple in our lives. Another scathingly brilliant post.

    10. Fabulous information about purple. I hope we can all give the little snails a break now that we have modern chemistry! I am wearing a deep purple shirt today and it is an old favorite that I cannot part with. Maybe it was made by the Phoenicians! ;) Thanks again for all the beautiful gift ideas for Mother's Day.

    11. Oooo, lovely purples! Wow, I didn't know the history of purple dye! I always learn so much in your blogs, Julie and Blu. Thank you so much for showing my purple magnesite earrings. My 100th buyer can get these free with any other purchase in my ArtFire shop. :)

    12. What fun, and how interesting, for all us purple addicts. Thanks for including my Alaskan Fish. I'll tweet and like this.

    13. The name for Purple color comes from the Latin word Purpurea, the name of the snail from which the dye was obtained.

      Thank you for the informative post Julie! Also, a big thanks for including my floral design.

    14. Such lovely items. I love the color purple. Thank you so much for including my necklace in this wonderful post :)

    15. Ooooh my most favourite colour in the world is purple! These creations are absolutely gorgeous and what an interesting story on how the colour purple came about Julie, thank you so much for taking your precious time to put this all together!

      Kathy :)

    16. I had no idea about the color or the snails! I could not figure out what snail spit had to do with drama. How facinating! What a nice surprise to be included in this collection and to be at the top of it all. Thank you so much.
      Karen Borden

    17. I had to smile when I saw the title of your post and wondered what your theme was. Wonderful post - but oh so sad for the snails. Thank you for including my pendant. Will share !

    18. Purple has always been such a fabulous color to work with. I kind of feel for all those little snails who made it possible. Thanks for including my purple lampwork glass slider bracelet charm bead in it.

    19. Purple from the heart! Love it and shared it. Thx for including me!
      EvezBeadz, Eve

    20. Purple is so pretty one of my favorite colors, thank you for including my purple maze sterling pendant.

    21. Great blog Julie. I had never heard about snails though! I will look at them a little kinder from now on. :-)

    22. Enjoyed this interesting post so much - wonderful info and great gift ideas! Thanks for including my earrings here. :)

    23. Fantastic write up. I am always so amazed how you link great historical tidbits with colors that mesh into a wonderful posting with artisan items. Great job!