Pure Pigment – Jewel Tones in Decorating
A few weeks ago, I attended the launch of Benjamin Moore's CENTURY™ – a curated collection of 75 brand new paint colors that are brought to life with the innovative Soft Touch Matte finish. The most exciting thing though was its exhuberant color palette, brought to life through a complex alchemy of art and science. Skilled craftsmen and chemists applied years of experience to the making of this ultra-premium paint. The resulting formulation is so intricately balanced it is only made in small batches that will be pre-mixed and sealed to ensure the truest color and experience in every can. And what glorious colors they are! I was sort of expecting a tastefully curated but ho-hum assortment of beige, taupe and greige. Instead, I was treated to a glorious world of shades with evocative names such as Tyrian Purple, Raw Umber, Saffron and Madder Red. These quintessential hues offer an unrivaled depth and richness of color, enabling them to transform not only a room, but the entire color experience.
The whole thing brought me right back to my art-student days, learning about color theory, painting umpteen color wheels, and investing in a collection of Winsor & Newton watercolor pans with similarly inspiring names: Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue, and Cadmium Scarlet. I still have this watercolor set and it started a life-long love affair with art supply stores, filled with the promise of endless creativity and inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, here are some decorating ideas that fully embrace these wonderful jewel tones – enjoy!
Viridian, from the Latin viridis or green, is a blue-green pigment, of medium saturation and relatively dark in value. It is the ideal shade to complement with red/orange tones – from coral to tangerine – without evoking a traditional Christmas color combo.
Sémillon is a golden-skinned grape used to make dry and sweet white wines, and thus a perfect name for this delicious yellow-gold shade, the perfect foil for just about any other friend on the color wheel.
Persian Red is a deep reddish orange earth or pigment from the Persian Gulf. It is also called Artificial Vermillion, through I will always call this classic red Cherries in the Snow after the iconic Revlon lipstick shade. Give this timeless and chic shade an update by pairing it with touches of hot pink.
An equal blend of pink and orange, Coral is a universally flattering shade that has only recently been embraced by the interior design world. This is somewhat surprising as this complex shade works so well with blues and greens as well as touches of yellow and gold.
Remember Steel Magnolias? Blush and Bashful – otherwise known as Pink and Pink – don't have to be an obviously girly decorating choice. In fact, they're downright intriguing when combined with yellow chartreuse and a touch of black.
Larimar, also called Stefilia's Stone, is a rare blue variety of the mineral pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic. In fact, its soft, soothing blues and calming turquoise color is streaked with white patterns that resemble sunlight dancing beneath Caribbean waters. Larimar's warmer tones make it a perfect companion for yellows, oranges, and reds.
Marigold is a glorious yellow-orange color, named after the flower of the same name. Marigold is also called the “herb of the sun”, representing passion and even creativity. So, be bold, and pair this shade with hot pinks, purples and a hefty dose of black.
Despite its dramatic appearance, Magenta is said to be a color that helps to create harmony and balance in every aspect of life; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Pair Magenta with shades of blue – from navy to cobalt – for a surprisingly lovely look that calls to mind Diana Vreeland's iconic observation “Pink is the navy blue of India”.