After watching this video about Daniel Smith Watercolours an artist bought the paint but then was disappointed with the genuine Lapis Lazuli. Perhaps she expected it to be strong and bright like the synthetic ultramarine rather than subtle and complex. We have offered her a refund or replacement and the owner of Daniel Smith, John Cogley, has sent her a detailed explanation of the special pigments used in the Prima Tek colours.
I think his information about these paints is quite interesting so I thought I would share it with you.
“Our Lapis Lazuli Watercolor is a color we are very proud of. Back in 1998, Lapis Lazuli was the very first PrimaTek color manufactured in our lab. It was the excitement and enthusiastic response from artists that pushed us forward to developing more and more natural pigment colors. Our Lapis has remained one of our most popular colors. True Lapis Lazuli is naturally a very dense pigment and because we have so much Lapis pigment in our paints, pigment can settle to the bottom of the tube (think of sand in water) which then pushes the Gum Arabic to the top, and may be what you are referring to as ‘grey sludge” if there is some separation when squeezed onto your palette you can stir the gum Arabic back into your pigment or wipe it away if so desired. Your color will not be affected. Our Lapis pigment is 80% pure; you cannot find a purer Lapis pigment from any manufacturer in the world. Lapis pigment does not look like Lapis gem stones – once pigment is brought down to the micron level (half the diameter of a human hair) the refraction index changes, and becomes a lighter blue color. Adding more pigment than we already add would not change the color that you see from our tube – a subtle blue.
To give you a scope, Ultramarine Blue Pigment, PB29, is one thirtieth the cost of Lapis Pigment. Yet the very inexpensive Ultramarine Blue is one of the deepest blues you can purchase. Some other companies will add synthetic ultramarine blue to their Lapis paint to make it darker, but we do not. This adulteration changes some of the Lapis characteristic color properties. Pure Lapis has specific light reflective properties (due to the irregular and angular shape of the pigment particles). A touch of golden pyrite as an inclusion adds a delightful shimmer. The result is an elegant, almost three-dimensional effect that is completely different from the predictable blue of synthetic ultramarine pigments.
What we give to artists is actual pigment that we process ourselves to exacting standards. I have two chemists that verify every batch and then compare them against retain batches such that we have batch to batch consistency. There are only 5 companies in the world that have their own chemists and operate to this high standard, and we are one of them.” JJC
You can find these special Prima Tek colours in the Daniel Smith Watercolour Department on the Jackson’s Art website.