About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#DC143C
sRGBB (r, g, b)(220, 20, 60)
HSV (h, s, v)(348°, 91%, 86%)
CIELChuv (L, C, h)(47, 140, 8°)
ISCC–NBS descriptorVivid red
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Crimson is a rich, deep red color, inclining to purple.[2] It originally meant the color of the kermes dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio, but the name is now sometimes also used as a generic term for slightly bluish-red colors that are between red and rose. It is the national color of Nepal.


Crimson (NR4) is produced using the dried bodies of a scale insect, Kermes, which were gathered commercially in Mediterranean countries, where they live on the kermes oak, and sold throughout Europe.[3] Kermes dyes have been found in burial wrappings in Anglo-Scandinavian York. They fell out of use with the introduction of cochineal, also made from scale insects, because although the dyes were comparable in quality and color intensity, ten to twelve times as much kermes is needed to produce the same effect as cochineal.

Carmine is the name given to the dye made from the dried bodies of the female cochineal, although the name crimson is sometimes applied to these dyes too. Cochineal appears to have been brought to Europe by the Spaniard Hernán Cortés during the conquest of the Aztec Empire and the name 'carmine' is derived from the French carmin. It was first described by Pietro Andrea Mattioli in 1549. The pigment is also called cochineal after the insect from which it is made.

Alizarin (PR83) is a pigment that was first synthesized in 1868 by the German chemists Carl Gräbe and Carl Liebermann and replaced the natural pigment madder lake. Alizarin crimson is a dye bonded onto alum which is then used as a pigment and mixed with ochre, sienna and umber. It is not totally colorfast.


The word crimson has been recorded in English since 1400,[4] and its earlier forms include cremesin, crymysyn and cramoysin (cf. cramoisy, a crimson cloth). These were adapted via Old Spanish from the Medieval Latin cremesinus (also kermesinus or carmesinus), the dye produced from Kermes scale insects, and can be traced back to Arabic qirmizi (قرمزي) ("red") [qrmzj] (listen), also borrowed in Turkic languages kırmız' and many other languages, e.g. German Karmesin, Italian cremisi, French cramoisi, Portuguese carmesim, Dutch “karmozijn”, etc. (via Latin). The ultimate source may be Sanskrit कृमिज kṛmi-jā meaning "worm-made".[5]

A shortened form of carmesinus also gave the Latin carminus, from which comes carmine.

Other cognates include the Persian ghermez "red" derived from "kermest" the red worm,[6] Old Church Slavonic чрьвл҄ѥнъ (črьvl'enъ), archaic Russian чермный (čermnyj), Bulgarian червен (cherven), and Serbo-Croatian crven "red". Cf. also vermilion.


Main articles: Carmine and Kermes (dye)

Carminic acid

Carmine dyes, which give crimson and related red and purple colors, are based on an aluminium and calcium salt of carminic acid. Carmine lake is an aluminium or aluminium-tin lake of cochineal extract, and crimson lake is prepared by striking down an infusion of cochineal with a 5 percent solution of alum and cream of tartar. Purple lake is prepared like carmine lake with the addition of lime to produce the deep purple tone. Carmine dyes tend to fade quickly.

Carmine dyes were once widely prized in both the Americas and in Europe. They were used in paints by Michelangelo and for the crimson fabrics of the Hussars, the Turks, the British Redcoats, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Nowadays carmine dyes are used for coloring foodstuffs, medicines and cosmetics. As a food additive in the European Union, carmine dyes are designated E120, and are also called cochineal and Natural Red 4. Carmine dyes are also used in some oil paints and watercolors used by artists.

In nature

Crimson rosella
Crimson rosella

In culture








School colors

Crimson (UA)
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#9E1B32
sRGBB (r, g, b)(158, 27, 50)
HSV (h, s, v)(349°, 83%, 62%)
CIELChuv (L, C, h)(35, 91, 7°)
ISCC–NBS descriptorVivid red
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)


See also


  1. ^ "W3C CSS3 Color Module". Archived from the original on 2017-11-29. Retrieved 2015-01-18.
  2. ^ "crimson". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  3. ^ "Naturenet article with images and description of Kermes vermilio and its foodplant". 15 January 2009. Archived from the original on 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
  4. ^ The first recorded use of crimson as a color name in English was in 1400 according to the following book: Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930--McGraw Hill Page 193; Color Sample of Crimson: Page 31 Plate 4 Color Sample K6
  5. ^ "American Heritage Dictionary", s.v. Kermes; also Kluge, "Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache", s.v. Karmesin, et al.
  6. ^ Dehkhoda Dictionaryقرمز Archived 2021-11-29 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Taherzadeh, Adib (1992). The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 162. ISBN 0-85398-344-5.
  8. ^ "Rhubarb —the crimson stalks--rhubarb recipes". 18 April 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
  9. ^ "Rhubarb plants—the crimson stalks". Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
  10. ^ "Crimson x Saira Shakira stalks". Archived from the original on 2021-05-14. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  11. ^ a b "Graphic Standards 2018–19" (PDF). University of Alabama. May 18, 2018. p. 27. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  12. ^ Flag of Nepal-2nd line