Blue is such an ubiquitous color that we see all around us, from blue skies to blue seas. We could think that the color blue was easy to come by and was available to ancient civilizations. This was not the case, however, until the Egyptians, who loved the stones lapis lazuli and turquoise so much, created the first synthetic pigment and called it Egyptian blue. The source of the blue pigment was a mixture of silica (sand), limestone, copper-containing minerals (e.g. malachite or azurite), which was then heated up to 1650°F (or about 900°C).

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli—the name alone evokes something exotic and precious. And so it is. These rocks were mined in Badakshan in northeastern Afghanistan and reached Egypt via trade routes.

The Egyptians tried to make a paint out of the material 6,000 years ago, but they failed. So they used it as inlays for amulets and decorative objects such as headdresses or scarabs instead.

The color pigment from lapis lazuli is called ultramarine, also known as true blue or royal blue. It started being called “true blue” when it was used in Buddhist paintings in the 6th century but this was changed to ultramarinus, or ultramarine, meaning “beyond the sea”, when the pigment was brought by Italian traders to Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Lapis Lazuli: Source of the True Blue Pigment | MyBoysen

The deep blue color was highly sought after by the aristocrats and the wealthy, who were the only ones who could afford this color. This was expensive to produce and it is said that it was even as precious as gold.

Many European artists during the Renaissance used the true blue pigment in their paintings only for important subjects like the Virgin Mary in Gérard David’s Virgin and Child with Female Saints. Baroque artist Vermeer who painted the Girl with the Pearl Earring, loved to use this deep blue pigment ground from lapis lazuli in his paintings so much that he pushed his family into debt.

True Blue


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True blue is such a deep, intense, and rich color that painting your walls with this hue will give an elegant and striking atmosphere to your home. If your space is small and you are worried that painting all walls with this deep blue may overpower your tiny home, then you can also just paint thin strips of it like in the photo below.

Boysen Color Trend Blue

Watch this video of the BE SEEN palette of the Boysen Color Trend 2018. As the palette name suggests, this is a strong mix of colors, one of which is the blue color called Next Big Thing | BCT18–7419S.

The color of ground Lapis Lazuli would look good in any room in the house or as an accent wall. The next time you think of blue as the next paint color choice for your home, think of ultramarine.

For more inspiration about blues, read the following blog posts:

Pantone Names Classic Blue as the Color of the Year
The Best Version of Hue: Blue
Yves Saint Lauren’s Captivating Jardin Majorelle in Morocco


Annie is the Managing Editor of Let it B | MyBoysen Blog. An unrepentant workaholic, she runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions ( She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special. Annie learned interior styling while managing her own wholesale business in the Netherlands, importing high-end, handmade home furnishings to stock four outlets and a showroom in the country.

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