Imperial purple and sacred blue.

Once upon a time, among all the colors, 2 were the most valuable.

The Imperial purple and the sacred blue.




Two shells of Bolinus brandaris, the spiny dye-murex, a source of the dye Hexaplex trunculus (also known as Murex trunculus, Phyllonotus trunculus, or the banded dye-murex)

These colors were so valuable that you had to pay their weight in gold to buy them.

Both dyes extracted from sea snails known as Murex. Lots of people had to work hard to produce these dyes. While a whole nation (Phoenecians) became rich and famous for selling them.

Imperial purple.

This is also known as Royal purple, Tyrian purple, Tyrian red, porfyra (πορφύρα) in Greek and purpura in Latin.

The dye was a symbol of power at least since 3.500 BC. It was so expensive that only kings, emperors, popes and cardinals could afford it. As estimated, 12.000 snails needed to extract only 1,5 gramms of dye.

A myth says that the purple dye was first discovered by Heracles. Or rather, by his dog, whose mouth stained purple from chewing on snails along the coast of the Levant.

Its production discontinued when Muslims conquered the Byzantine empire. The know how is now lost. But anyone will show you the right sea snail if you ask about porfyra.

Heracles and the Discovery of the Secret of Purple by Peter Paul Rubens (1636), Musée Bonnat Byzantine Emperor Justinian I clad in Tyrian purple, 6th-century mosaic at Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy The Empress Theodora, the wife of the Emperor Justinian, dressed in Tyrian purple. (6th century) A fragment of the shroud in which the Emperor Charlemagne was buried in 814. It was made of gold and Tyrian purple from Constantinople

Tekhelet - the sacred color of Hebrews.

Tzitzit (tassel) with blue thread produced from Hexaplex (Murex) trunculus In the Septuagint, tekhelet was translated into Greek as hyakinthos (ὑακίνθος, "hyacinth").  

Tekhelet (Hebrew: תכלת‎ təḵêleṯ, "blue-violet", or "blue", or "turquoise" is a blue dye mentioned in the Hebrew Bible/Tanakh.

In the Septuagint, tekhelet translated into Greek as hyakinthos (ὑακίνθος, "hyacinth").

Used in the clothing of the High Priest, the tapestries in the Tabernacle, and the tassels (Tzitzit). Such as the Tallit (garment worn during prayer, usually).

Sources and more reading


Tyrian purple


Tyrian red




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Kalymnos Island

Kalymnos is an unspoiled picturesque Greek island. Located between Kos Island and Leros Island in the Aegean sea, Greece.

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Decrypting the "PADI 5 Star Dive Resort"

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