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Price of the Pigments

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Price of the Pigments

The prices of the pigments differ from one brand to another. Some of them limit themselves to 3 price categories, other ones go up to 6 categories — or even more.

Nevertheless, general rules can be given. For each brand I have taken as “basic price” the one of the cheapest price category. In some brands (often the most renowned ones!) the most expensive categories can go up to more than 8 times the basic price. Other brands limit themselves to 3 times the basic price, maybe because, in the tubes, the concentration of the most expensive pigments should be lower.

The cheapest pigments are in general:

  • the natural earths;
    • yellow earths PY43 (Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna);
    • red earths PR102 (Light Red);
    • brown earths PBr7 (Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber);
  • the whites: Flake, Zink and Titanium White (PW1, PW4 and PW6);
  • Lamp and Ivory Black (PBk6 and PBk9).

Synthetic Iron Oxides are sometimes a little more expensive:

  • yellow synthetic iron oxides PY42;
  • red synthetic iron oxides PR101;
  • brown synthetic iron oxides PBr6.

Then we have the category of the average prices, which we can divide in two classes: the lower average prices and the higher average prices.

In the lower average prices, we have:

  • French Ultramarine PB29;
  • Phthalo Blue PB15;
  • Phthalo Green PG7;
  • Ultramarine Violet PV15;
  • Some Transparent Iron Oxides;
  • Mars Black PBk11.

In the higher average prices, we have:

  • Opaque Oxide of Chromium PG17;
  • Viridian PG18;
  • Mineral (Manganese) Violet PV16;
  • Indanthrene Blue PB60;
  • Nickel Titanium Yellow PY53;
  • Chromophytal (Transparent) Yellow PY128;
  • Permanent Rose (Quinacridone) PV19;
  • Permanent Magenta (Quinacridone) PV19;
  • The Cadmiums (Yellows, Orange and Reds PY35, PO20 and PR108;

The most expensive pigments are the cobalt ones:

  • Cobalt Blue PB28;
  • Cerulean Blue PB35;
  • Cobalt Green PG19;
  • Cobalt Violet PV14, the most expensive of all pigments.

This is illustrated in the figure below. For most pigments, you can see two different color shades, which illustrate the price range among the brands.

Retail Prices of Oil Colors

The immediate conclusion is that, except for black, white and earth colors, a painter who wishes to work with first quality (permanent) pigments cannot limit himself to the cheapest ones.

Permanence has its price!

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