Synonymous with the classic image of the denim jean, indigo is among the oldest dyes to be used in textile dyeing and is responsible for the iconic blue hue. Next, we will introduce you to the history of indigo by video
Synonymous with the classic image of the denim jean, indigo is among the oldest dyes to be used in textile dyeing and is responsible for the iconic blue hue.
Formulated from an organic dye with a distinctive blue shade; indigo was originally manufactured and exported from India (where it was given its name) during the Greco-Roman era. A natural dye extracted from the leaves of certain plants, this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Originally made from the plant called Indigofera tinctoria, it became a highly prized commodity leading to Persian, Levantine, and Greek exporters imposing heavy tax duties. As such, this classic blue hue became a rare luxury in Europe.
It was only after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route to India in 1497, that Indigofera tinctoria entered the markets of other colonies. Importers could now avoid the heavy duties imposed and consequently, the use of indigo in European clothing manufacture rose significantly
In 1865, the German chemist Adolf von Baeyer began working on the synthesis of natural indigo. He finally succeeded in doing this in 1883, paving the way for the first industrial mass production of synthetic indigo in 1897. Significantly cheaper to produce, synthetic indigo was also more reliable, due to the longer-lasting color which offered permanence and durability.
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