Pigment Microscopy

So in a similar theme to the previous post on pigments, this weeks microscopy lecture was also on pigments. I’m glad to say that I did follow this lecture considerably better than the previous microscopy one, perhaps as it was more about colours and pigment than the microscope itself.

Pigments in India, on market stall – photo (with thanks) by By Dan Brady – https://www.flickr.com/photos/11853009@N07/1382064216/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3534510

Here we were learning to recognise and record pigment data from objects. It is possible to compare the pigments you find against known specimen samples, which can be bought or homemade from swatches, and also to compare them against published data, such as the Pigment Compendium. With experience, will also come the ability to recognise pigments without comparison to recorded data. Pigment samples can be acquired from various suppliers, and can be homemade as well. They can be relatively cheap and accessible and useful to help ID many traditional pigments, especially organic ones such as Palestine Blue. For a more in-depth insight into pigment recognition, I suggest a trip to your local science library!

The Chelsea filter is an interesting addition to a microscope when looking at pigments and can be used to look at blue and green pigments, with some appearing red when looking through the filter. It passes two narrow bands of light – yellow/green and red and was initially developed for the gem trade, to distinguish from high quality gems!