Egyptian blue was first used 5,000 years ago in the Fourth Dynasty
New research shows it could be used in state-of-the-art gadgetsIt can be rolled into sheets so thin thousands would fit across a human hair
And it produces infra-red radiation like that used by TV remotes
Considered humanity's first synthetic pigment, Egyptian blue was used by the Egyptians for thousands of years.
The term for it in the Egyptian language is hsbd-iryt, which means artificial lapis lazuli, revealing the ancients obsession with the precious stone, which they prized for its rarity and stark blue colour.
Its characteristic blue colour, resulting from one of its main components — copper — ranges from a light to a dark hue, depending on differential processing and composition.
The earliest evidence for the use of Egyptian blue is in the Fourth Dynasty (c.2575-2467 BC) and in the Middle Kingdom (2050-1652 BC), it continued to be in the decoration of tombs, wall paintings, furnishings and statues
By the New Kingdom (1570–1070 BC), Egyptian blue began to be more widely used in the production of numerous objects.
The pigment was known to the Romans by the name caeruleum. Vitruvius describes in his work De architectura how it was produced by grinding sand, copper and natron and heating the mixture, shaped into small balls, in a furnace.
Lime is necessary for the production as well, but probably lime-rich sand was used.
After the Roman era, Egyptian Blue fell from usage and the manner of its creation was forgotten. (Mail Online)