Lavender (color)

Lavender is a pale tint of violet. It applies particularly to the color of the flower of the same name. The web color called lavender is displayed at right--it matches the color of the very palest part of the lavender flower; however, the more saturated color shown below as floral lavender more closely matches the average color of the lavender flower as shown in the picture and is the shade of lavender historically considered lavender by the average person as opposed to those who are web site designers. The color lavender might be described as a medium violet or a light pinkish purple. The complementary color of lavender is olive.

The term lavender may also be used in general to apply to a wide range of pale, light, medium, or grayish violet colors, as well as some pale or light pinkish, magenta, or purple colors as well as some pale or light blueish-indigo colors. The color lavender is made by mixing violet and white paint.

The first recorded use of the word lavender as a color term in English was in 1705.

Historical development of the concept of the color lavender

Originally, the name lavender only applied to flowers. By 1930, the book A Dictionary of Color identified three major shades of lavender--[floral] lavender, lavender gray, and lavender blue, and in addition a fourth shade of lavender called old lavender (a dark lavender gray) (all four of these shades of lavender are shown below). By 1955, the publication of the ISCC-NBS Dictionary of Color Names (a color dictionary used by stamp collectors to identify the colors of stamps), now on the Internet, listed dozens of different shades of lavender. Today, although the color floral lavender (the color of the flower of the lavender plant) remains the standard for lavender, just as there are many shades of pink (light red, light rose, and light magenta colors), there are many shades of lavender (some light magenta, some light purple, [mostly] light violet [as well as some grayish violet], and some light indigo colors).

Variations of Lavender

Lavender blush

Displayed at right is the web color lavender blush.

Lavender mist (web color Lavender)

The color designated as the web color lavender is a very pale tint of lavender that in other (artistic) contexts may be described as lavender mist.

Languid lavender

Displayed at right is the color languid lavender.

The source of this color is color sample #226 at the following website: --The ISCC-NBS Dictionary of Colo(u)r Names (1955), a website for stamp collectors to evaluate the colors of their stamps.

Lavender gray

The historical name for this color is lavender gray. It is listed in A Dictionary of Color as one of the three major variations of lavender in 1930 along with lavender blue (shown below) and [floral] lavender (also shown below). (This book also designates a fourth shade of lavender, called old lavender, also shown below). This color matches Prismacolor colored pencil PC 1026, Greyed Lavender.

Sample of lavender gray: ISCC-NBS Dictionary of Color Names (1955)--Color sample of lavender gray (color sample #213):

Pale lavender (light mauve)

At right is displayed the color light mauve, a color also known as pale lavender. The source of this color is the ISCC-NBS Dictionary of Color Names (1955)--Color dictionary used by stamp collectors to identify the colors of stamps--See sample of the color Lavender (R) #209 displayed on indicated page (along with several other shades of lavender):

Lavender blue (periwinkle)

At right is displayed the color lavender blue (periwinkle), a bluish lavender.

Lavender blue is listed in A Dictionary of Color as one of the three major variations of lavender in 1930 along with lavender gray (shown above) and [floral] lavender (shown below). It is identified as being the same color as periwinkle. The first use of the term lavender blue as a color term was in 1926.

Pastel lavender (mauve)

The color mauve, displayed at right, may be regarded as equivalent to pastel lavender.

Mauve was very popular in the 1890s and that decade is referred to as the mauve decade.

Light lavender (web color wisteria)

The web color wisteria is displayed at right. Wisteria, a light medium violet color is equivalent to light lavender.

The Prismacolor colored pencil PC 956, which used to be called light violet and is now called lilac (the actual color of the colored pencil is equivalent to the web color wisteria rather than the web color lilac) is this exact color.

Wisteria in this exact shade is one of the Crayola crayon colors on the List of Crayola crayon colors.

Lavender pink

After the introduction of the Munsell color system, in which purple, described as equivalent to red-violet is described as one of the five psychological primary colors along with red, yellow, green, and blue, some people began to think of lavender as being somewhat more pinkish color. This color can be described as lavender pink or pale pinkish-purple when purple is defined as equivalent to red-violet as artists do.

This shade of lavender, displayed at right, is the color designated as lavender (color #74) in the list of Crayola crayon colors.

Before 1958, the color shown below as medium lavender gray and now called purple mountain majesty by Crayola was called lavender in Crayola crayons.

Lavender magenta (web color "violet")

A common perception of what lavender is a light violet color somewhere between the web colors heliotrope and the web color wisteria. This color is reproduced at right: it is equivalent to the web color mistakenly called "Violet" which is actually a light violet, i.e., a lavender of medium saturation (see the color bands displayed at the bottom of the article on violet for comparison of this color with the actual color violet). (Although this color is called light violet it is technically actually a light magenta, since the red and blue values of the color are equal, and therefore another name for it is lavender magenta, analogous to the colors lavender gray, lavender blue, lavender rose, and lavender pink.)

This is the shade of lavender that is designated as "lavender" in the Berol Eagle Prismacolor colored pencil that is called by that name (Prismacolor colored pencil number PC 934). Another name for this shade of lavender could be artist's lavender since this color is what is often designated as lavender in art materials.

Medium lavender magenta (web color plum)

At right is displayed the color (Light) Plum. This color may be described as a light medium lavender with equal parts blue and red; therefore it can also be described as a light weak magenta because the definition of the color magenta for computer display is that it is composed of equal parts of blue and red.

Plum is the more common name encountered on the Internet for the hexadecimal color #CC99CC; however it is not to be confused with the officially "named" plum (there are 150 web safe colors with cross-browser support). In relationship to lavender, this color may be described as medium lavender magenta. Utilizing the "Color Lab" on the Visi Bone website, the name light weak magenta could also apply to the color. Magenta seems more accurate an application as the color possesses equal and relatively strong values of red and blue (though the two colors are not at their highest potential value as in true magenta). It has a moderate amount of green, dimming its appearance. With the use of photo-editing software (Photoshop CS2), one will learn the composition of the color is as follows: H: 300° S: 80% B: 25% L: 69 a: 26 b: -19 R: 204 G: 153 B: 204 C: 18% M: 44% Y: 0% K: 0%

CC99CC is one of the 216 websafe colors. Its closest print process color is Pantone Solid Coated 7438 C.

Vivid lavender (heliotrope) (psychedelic lavender)

At right is displayed the color heliotrope, which may be described as a vivid lavender.

Another name for this color is psychedelic lavender because this color was a popular color often used in the hippie psychedelic poster art of the late 1960s for the Fillmore Auditorium and the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco that were and are sold in the head shops of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. These posters were drawn and produced by such artists as Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin, and Victor Moscoso. Images of psychedelic posters:

Medium bright lavender (bright ube)

Displayed at right is the color bright ube. (The word ube is pronounced oohbay.) This color may be called a medium bright lavender. This is the color produced when purple yams (ubes) (which are colored the color shown below as ube) are mixed with sugar and eggs and made into ube pastries or ube ice cream. These products are available in Filipino grocery stores.

The source of this color is the picture of an ube cake in the Wikipedia article on ube.

Bright lavender (light floral lavender) (lavender bandana)

Displayed at right is the color of a lavender bandana. This color may be called bright lavender or lavender bandana. It is a pale brilliant medium violet. The source of this color is the following web link: (The sample was taken from lavender bandana pictured in the picture from the website )

This color may also be called light floral lavender as it is the color of the lighter outer part of the actual flower of the lavender plant.

Lavender (floral)

The color in the color box at right indicated as lavender may be regarded as true lavender since the sample from the Colour Lovers website was compared to the color sampled directly from the picture of an actual lavender flower in the Wikipedia article on the lavender plant, and it matched. Although different parts of the lavender flower are various shades of lavender, the color displayed at right matches a pixel that from the sample that is a medium shade (not extremely dark or extremely light) of all the pixels in the photograph of the lavender flower in the Wikipedia article on the lavender plant. This color also matches the color shown as "lavender" (viewed under a full-spectrum fluorescent lamp) in the 1930 book A Dictionary of Color (reference below), the world standard for color names before the introduction of computers. This color may also be called floral lavender. It is a medium violet.

This shade of lavender would be the color you would get if you mix together 50% violet paint and 50% white paint.

This shade may be regarded as actual lavender and the other shades displayed in this article can be regarded as all variations on this shade.

This lavender also closely matches the color given as lavender in a basic purple color chart

Rich Lavender (deep floral lavender)

At right is displayed the color rich lavender, the deep lavender color of the inner part of the flower of the lavender plant.

This is a deep floral lavender.

Medium deep lavender (amethyst)

The color amethyst is a moderate, transparent violet. Its name is derived from the stone amethyst, a form of quartz. Though the color of natural amethyst varies from purple to yellow, the amethyst color referred to here is the moderate purple color most commonly associated with amethyst stones. There is disagreement as to the cause of the purple color of the amethyst stone. Some believe that the color is due to the presence of manganese, while others have suggested that the amethyst color could be from ferric thiocyanate or sulfur found in amethyst stones.

This color may also be called medium deep lavender. It is a deep rich medium violet.

Deep rich lavender gray (purple yam) (Okinawan yam) (ube)

This color, a deep rich lavender gray was sampled from a picture of the interior of an Okinawan yam, a variety of sweet potato which is called the purple yam in English and is called ube in Tagalog, the most commonly used language in the Philippines after English. Therefore, another name for this color is ube (pronounced oohbay). (To see a picture of the interior flesh of an Okinawan yam from which this color sample was taken, go to: )

Deep lavender (web color medium purple)

Displayed at right is the web color medium purple which is equivalent to deep medium violet or deep lavender.

Lavender purple (purple mountain majesty)

Displayed at right is the color purple mountain majesty, a Crayola color since 1993. This color may be regarded as a medium lavender gray.

This color was the color called lavender in Crayola crayons before 1958, when Crayola switched to calling the color shown above as lavender pink as being lavender. (See the website "Lost Crayola Crayon Colors": ) Because of that, another name for this color is lavender purple.

This color is a representation of the way mountains look when they are far away.

Old lavender (dark lavender gray)

The dark lavender gray color displayed at right is called old lavender. It is a dark grayish violet.

The first recorded use of old lavender as a color name in English was in the year 1924.

The source of this color is color sample #228 at the following website: --The ISCC-NBS Dictionary of Colo(u)r Names (1955), a website for stamp collectors to evaluate the colors of their stamps.

Rich dark lavender purple (purple yam jam) (halaya ube)

Displayed at right is the rich dark lavender purple color halaya ube, the color of the purple yam jam (halaya ube) sold in Filipino grocery stores.

The source of this color is the following website offering Filipino foods for sale (see under Halaya Ube):

Lavender in human culture

Consumer Products


  • The color described above as [true] lavender or floral lavender or the color described above as lavender magenta may both be used to symbolize decadence, in the sense of a lifestyle devoted to sensual enjoyment of sex, drugs, and rock and roll music (according to taste, some may prefer opera or classical music) , sumptuous art with rich colors and complex Byzantine-like designs, rich gourmet food, and fine wine. The 1980 book Decadence: The Strange Life of an Epithet by Richard Gilman has a book jacket colored floral lavender and the interior paper of the inside front and back covers of the book is colored floral lavender. The tops of the pages are tipped in the color floral lavender. The 1972 book Dreamers of Decadence by Philippe Jullian (about the decadent movement in art in the late 1800s in Europe) has the spine of the book jacket colored the color described above as lavender magenta.



  • Okinawan "yams" (actually a variety of sweet potato) are colored the color shown above as deep rich lavender gray (ube) and in the Tagalog language of the Philippines these yams are called "ube". (To see a picture of an Okinawan yam, go to: ) )


  • Lavender and Old Lace is a novel by Myrtle Reed published in 1902.
  • The Lavender Dragon is the name of a 1923 Fantasy novel by Eden Phillpotts which is an "Ironic mock-medieval romance in which a benevolent dragon steals lonely humans to populate his utopian community, in spite of the attempts of knights errant to keep them in a world ruled by intolerance and injustice. A delightful exercise in inverted perspective.
  • Lavender Brown is a character in the popular Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling.


New Age Metaphysics

  • According to the theosophical metaphysical system of the New Age Prophetess Alice A. Bailey, the violet devas are in charge of maintaining the etheric forms that are the etheric matter duplicates of the objects on the physical plane. Each of the four types of violet devas that are said by Bailey to function on the four etheric subplanes of the seven subplanes of the physical plane are supposed to be colored a different shade of violet. The devas that function on the highest subplane of the physical plane, the first etheric plane (also called the atomic subplane), are said to be colored lavender.



  • Since lavender is simply a light shade of violet, and violet is the color used to represent the New Age deity the Cosmic Master St. Germain, sometimes lavender is used in association with violet to represent St. Germain. For example, lavender objects such as chunks of amethyst or lavender flowers such as cattleya orchids or the lavender flower itself may be placed on an altar to St. Germain. Lavender incense may be burned on the altar to St. Germain. Lavender colored foods such as Okinawan ("purple") yams or Halaya Ube (purple yam jam) may be placed on his altar as an offering. Lavender and violet clothing may be worn (in combination with wearing amethyst jewelry) when worshipping or meditating on St. Germain. It is believed by the deity's devotees that channeling information from St. Germain may be effected by scrying an amethyst crystal ball while meditating.
  • Lavender and yellow symbolizes the holy day of Easter in the Christian religion because the season of Spring, when Easter occurs, is when the crocus flower, which is lavender and yellow, blooms in Europe.

Romantic Love

  • Lavender roses are sometimes given by LGBTs to each other on Valentine's Day or may be given to those entering into a same-sex marriage . Images of lavender roses:
  • Lavender roses are symbolic of "love at first sight".
  • A Lavender marriage is a marriage between a man and a woman in which one, or both, parties are, or are assumed to be, homosexual. Usually, but not always, both parties are assumed to be complicit in a public deception to hide their homosexuality.


  • Just as in the 1890s mauve symbolized homosexuality, the shade of lavender described above as [true] lavender or floral lavender became the symbol of homosexuality in the 1950s and 1960s. The first usage was in the 1920s to indicate an effeminate style. Sean Casey wrote in 1928, "I am very sorry..that I have hurt the refined sentimentalities of C. W. Allen by neglecting to use the lavender...language of the 18th and 19th centuries." Cole Porter's 1929 song "I'm a Gigolo," went: "I'm a famous gigolo, And of lavender, my nature's got just a dash in it." A 1935 dictionary of slang reported "streak of lavender," meant an effeminate man or a sissy, a term used in 1926 by Carl Sandburg to describe young Abraham Lincoln.. In the 1960s, homophiles were sometimes referred to as the lavender boys (this term is still used by some people [both gay and non-gay] to refer to gays). A lavender convention is a convention of homosexuals. A heterosexual who has some homosexual tendencies is described as someone with a dash of lavender. In the 1970s pink became more often associated with homosexuality because of the use of the pink triangle as a symbol of gay liberation. However, gays of the baby boom generation still think of lavender as the gayest color. Apparently, the reason lavender symbolizes homosexuality is because it is the color that is obtained when you mix pink (the color symbolizing girls) with light blue (the color symbolizing boys).
  • Often the color lavender is, when worn by men, associated with those men being in the homosexual scene.
  • Lavender is the name of a LGBT magazine in Minnesota.
  • The Lavender Dragon Society was a club for gay Asian Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • There was a gay bookstore called the Lavender Dragon in Menlo Park, California in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • In the bandana code of the gay leather subculture, wearing a lavender bandana symbolizes that you have a fetish for dressing in drag.
  • The color lavender shown above as dark lavender represents bisexuality since it is one of the three colors in the Bisexual pride flag, invented in 1998. This shade of dark lavender is a combination of a deep blue (representing men) and a deep magenta similar to shocking pink (representing women). (To see the exact colors in the Bisexual Pride Flag, go to the Wikipedia article link shown above).
  • The existence of the homintern was a conspiracy theory widely believed in the 1960s; it was sometimes called the lavender conspiracy.


Video Games

See also


External links

  • Chinese website that sells lavender (although this is a commercial site, it is linked here only in order to allow users to view the elaborate and colorful website design using various shades of lavender).

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