The Brilliant New Blue Pigment

YInMn Blue, the brilliant pigment discovered in 2009 at an Oregon State University lab, is finally about to make its way to artists’ studios.

The new YinMin Blue pigment—which is the first new blue discovered in 200 years—was finally approved by the EPA for use in artists’ materials last May after chemist Mas Subramanian and his team serendipitously came upon it while conducting experiments with rare earth elements.

YInMn Blue’s appeal stems in part from its high opacity, which means you don’t need to apply much of it to get a good coating. (Ultramarine, by comparison is quite transparent.) It also has unusual hyper-spectral properties, reflecting most infrared radiation, which keeps the pigment cool.

The art world likes it because of the color. The industrial world likes it because of what it can do in terms of environmental regulations for building products. It is very vivid compared to Cobalt blue or Prussian blue, and it comes with some additional advantages in terms of the durability and stability of the pigment.

“The Pureness of YInMn Blue Is Really Perfect”

Despite its many advantages, YInMn Blue remains extremely expensive and relatively rare.