Indian yellow

/ in • dee • uhn   yel • low /

font size:  a  a  a

About the chemical structure:

Chemical name: magnesium euxanthate
Formula: C19H16O11Mg · 5 H2O
Refractive index: above 1.52


Color Index (C.I.) this is not considered a pigment anymore because of the banned production method

How can you identify Indian yellow?


UVF: yellow

IRFC: pale red

OM: yellow crystalline particles with a deep rich,translucent orange/yellow hue. Anisotropic and exhibiting weak birefringence. Particles can vary greatly in shape depending up on their manufacture from rods to spherulite to appearing like a gel. Particles can vary in size from 1-30μm.

Microscopic appearance at x500 mag


It's identified by means of FTIR and Raman. It is decomposed by hydrochloric acid. When burned, it should leave white ashes, as many organic substances do.

Raman spectra: University College London;

FTIR spectra: IRUG;

Usage and handling:

Permanence: Toxicity:

lightfast: good

Degradation processes: it was used in both oils and water based mediums, however direct sunlight will result in slight photoxidation and therefore fading.

non toxic. It is no more commercially available


Artists’ Pigments A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Vol. 1, L. Feller, Ed., Cambridge University Press, London 1986, p. 9-36

Baer, N.S., Indictor, N. and Joel, A. The Chemistry and History of the Pigment Indian Yellow, Conservation and the Graphic Art, 1972 Congress of the International Institute of Conservation, Lisbon 1972, p. 401-408