What Makes the Color Black?


Quick Answer

The color black is perceived when light is entirely absent, leaving no color refraction and causing the viewer to see a total lack of color. Most pigments or dyes that make materials black function by absorbing all of the light equally across the material.

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Full Answer

The first black pigments were made with charcoal used in the Neolithic era and burnt vines used by the ancient Romans. Modern black dyes and pigments include iron oxide synthetics, bone char and synthetic nigrosin. Black inks were produced in China as early as the 23rd century B.C. when painters mixed plant material with dark minerals such as graphite.

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