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Natural Dyes

Every single step in the production process of any KURINJI item is mindful of its impact on the environment. In fact, here at KURINJI we use dyes obtained from natural sources with the intent of reducing the global use and emission of chemical additives.

Most natural dyes come from plants. They can be extracted from roots, bark, wood, berries, leaves, lichens, seeds, nuts and flowers.

All our dyes are Azo-free and comply with the most stringent regulations, including REACH. We frequently get our fabrics tested at accredited laboratories in Italy to ensure they met the quality standards.

colours of NATURE



According to the Colour Index, there are 32 red natural dyes in nature. The majority of red colourants are extracted or found barks and roots, as well as the bodies of some insects.

Some examples of red natural dyes are madder (Rubiatinctorum), manjistha (Rubiacordifolia), Brazil wood/sappanwood (Caesalpineasappan), Al or morinda (Morindacitrifolia), cochineal (Coccuscacti) and lac dye (Coccuslacca)



The number of blue natural dyes according to the Colour Index is much smaller that the one for reds. We count in fact only four of them: natural indigo, sulphonated natural indigo, Kuntze/Kum (Strobilanthes cusia – Nees) and the Japanese Tsuykusa flowers.



Similarly to red dyes, yellow natural dyes are very abundant and common to find. There are in fact 28 yellow natural dyes.

There are many sources from which one can extract them, some of which are barberry (Berberisaristata), tesu flowers (Buteamonosperma) and kamala (Mallotusphilippensis). These sources also include e turmeric, kamela, tesu, marigold, larkspur, harshingar, annatto, berberis, and dolu.



It is quite rare to find plants that are able to yield green. Woad (Isatistinctoria) and indigo represent two examples of components that, if mixed with yellow dyes are able to produce green shades.

Soft olive greens are also obtained when textiles dyed yellow are treated with iron mordant.


Black & Brown

It is believed that there is virtually no limit to the natural sources able to generate brown colored dyes. For examples, ever since the ancient times Cutch from Acacia trees has been used for brown dyes. 

As far as black natural dyes, the Colour Index counts six of them. Some common examples of black colour are roots of iris plant, lac, carbon, and caramel.



Usually it is easy to yield orange from mixing red and yellow natural dyes. However, there are also other natural sources such as barberry, annatto and bloodroots.

However, colouring is not the only method we have to classify Natural Dyes. 

Chemical Classes: viz. anthraquinone, indigoid, naphthoquinone, carotenoid, flavone, di-hydropyransanthocyanidin, and flavonol.

Application Method: viz. mordant dyes, direct dyes, vat dyes, acid dyes and basic dyes, and disperse dye.

Origin: there are primarily three sources from which natural dyes are extracted, viz. plants, minerals, and animals.

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