top of page

Violet, the colour of mystery, spirituality, luxury and royalty.

Updated: 5 days ago

Image by Jonny Lew on

This is my new stop during my journey to discover every chromatic colour of the colour wheel. In this post I will talk about Violett, which is the colour that we automatically associate to luxury, spirituality and royalty.

Violet is one of the 7 colours from the colour spectrum by Isaac Newton. In both the additive colour mixing model RGB and in the subtractive colour mixing model RYB it is a secondary colour obtained from the mixing of red and blue. In the RGB-model its complementary is green; in the RYB-model its complementary colour is yellow.

In this post I will talk about the origin of the colour name itself, its meaning in psychology and symbolism, the most important pigments and shades for art.

Where does the colour name "violet" come from?

The name derives from the English and French word “violete” turning into the Latin “viola”, which is used to indicate the flower “viola genus of flower”.

What is the difference between the colours violet and purple?

The difference between violet and purple is the fact that violet is one of the colours of the light spectrum discovered by Isaac Newton with a wavelength between approximately 380 and 435 nanometers; purple, on the contrary, is the colour obtained by the pigment mixing that our eyes perceived as violet.

Sometimes the term violet is used as synonym to purple even though purple (more on the reddish side of the colour wheel) is used to indicate all colour varieties from the mixture of red, blue and violet. Violet, on the contrary, would be more a purplish red closer to blue on the colour wheel.

What does the colour "violet" mean in psychology?

Violet (purple) is usual related to royalty, luxury, individualism, extravagance and vanity. Sometimes also with a negative association.

It is a colour that is able to touch the emotional side of an individual showing its unconscious and deepest fears such as death, superstition, or magic. In a positive way, and as a mixture of red and blue, it relates to creativity, thinking, artistic inspiration (seen as an escape from the reality), intuitiveness, protectionism, mystery, spirituality, performance, shine and dignity.

Purple, when combined with pink, is often associated with eroticism, femininity, and seduction.

What are the most important violet pigments?

Initially the colour violet was obtained from different sea snails such as murex, sea urchin and purpura.

Later, during the Middle Age, violet dyes started to be manufactured by mixing either different blue and red pigments such as blue azurite, lapis-lazuli, red ochre, cinnabar or minium, or lake pigments together with indigo blue dye or cochineal red dye.

Starting from the 18th century many chemists were able to develop new dyes both in natural and synthetic form. The most famous were French purple, obtained from urine or ammonia, Cobalt Violet, synthetic and produced with the same process as cobalt blue, cerulean blue and cobalt green, and Mauvine, synthetically obtained from quinin, also called aniline purple or Perkin's mauve.

Nowadays violet paints are mostly produced using manganese, hematite and quinacridone pigments.

The most important violet pigments, indicated with the letters PV in the The Color of Art Pigment Database, are:

  • Cobalt Violet (PV14)

  • Ultramarine Violet (PV15)

  • Manganese Violet (PV16)

  • Quinacridone Violet (PV19)

  • Dioxazine Violet (PV23)

What are the most common shades of violet?


As explained before, purple is a physical colour often related to violet but, differently to it, it doesn’t have a related light spectrum. It is placed in the colour wheel between red and blue as a resulting mixture of blue and red but more on the reddish side. The name derives from the old English “purpul” and from the Latin and Greek terms “purpura” and “porphura”.

In the past it was derived from the mucus produced by a sea snail called murex.

Tyran Purple (also Royal purple, Imperial purple, or Imperial dye)

Tyran Purple is a reddish-purple colour whose name “Tyran” is related to the Lebanese town Tyre and was the very first purple colour.

Winsor Violet (sometimes Dioxazione Purple)

A vivid reddish purple produced with the pigment dioxazine purple PV23 by Winsor Newton. (Read more)

Final words.

This was my new stop on our journey to discover the color wheel. Violet is another wonderful and fascinating colour, able to highlight our individualism, touch our emotional and creative side, awake our deepest fears and spiritual side. Is violet your favourite colour?

Thank you for reading. If you like the post, leave a like, a comment and don't forget to follow my blog, Instagram and Threads and share the content on your social media.

In my next post, I will focus on the colour of water and sky, which is also synonymous with peace and relaxation: blue.

Until then I hope you will have a great creative day!



Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page