Colors help us describe situations, decorate surfaces, and spread awareness. Without them, life would be very difficult for humans. Their importance is further highlighted by the fact that color names are among the oldest English words. Common examples include green, yellow, and red; everyone knows these.

However, did you know there are millions of colors? The average human eye can distinctively tell apart hundreds of thousands of them. Even so, these are still so many for a regular person to master. With that in mind, here is a list of rare colors you’ve never heard of.

1. Fallow

Despite not being very popular, fallow is one of the oldest color names in English. It mainly comprises a light shade of yellowish brown and has a #C19A6B hex code. People use fallow colors to describe animal coats, including fallow deer and greyhounds. Withered foliage and sandy soil are also fallow.

2. Dragon’s Blood

Dragon’s blood is a natural bright red color achieved by mixing species from different tries found in the Canary Islands, East Africa, Asia, and West Indies. Its hex color code is #b84048. In the past, the color was used for dying and painting among the Greeks and Romans.

3. Caput Mortuum

Also known as cardinal purple, caput mortuum is a deep purple color that was popular for painting religious figures’ robes. Today, the hematite iron oxide pigment is used to make paper dyes and specific oil paints. “Caput mortuum” translates to “dead head” in Latin. The color’s spelling can vary; caput mortem and caput mortum are also correct.

4. Vantablack


Vantablack color closely resembles black (it’s super dark). Ben Jensen and the CTO of Surrey NanoSystems invented the pigment to aid their space exploration missions. Experts consider Vantablack the darkest artificial color; it can absorb most visible light. It is not available for individual purchase.

5. Gamboge

Gamboge color comes from the tree that bears it. Before grinding, the gamboge resin assumes a brownish-yellow pigment. Once ground, it turns to bright yellow. It is famous for its transparency and warmth. The color originated in East Asia but spread to Europe in the 17th century.

6. Periwinkle

Also known as light blue violet or lavender blue, periwinkle is a pale indigo color that seats between the blue and shades of purple in the color wheel. It derives its name from the myrtle herb, which bears a resembling color. Periwinkle is the official color for stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and bulimia awareness ribbons.

7. Ultramarine

The color derives its name from the Latin word “ultramarinus,” loosely translating to “beyond the sea.” It is, therefore, unsurprising that ultramarine is a darker shade of blue.

8. Titian

Titian is a famous hair color achieved by mixing brown and orange colors. It was named after an Italian painter, Tiziano “Titian” Vecellio. He was popular for using the pigment to depict red-haired women. Most people often confuse it with Auburn and Venetian colors.

9. Quercitron

Quercitron color is a shade of yellow obtained from the bark of an oak tree native to North America. Before assuming its current name, users called it Italian pink, Dutch pink, or English pink, depending on their location.

10. Eburnean

Eburnean color belongs to the white color family. It is an ivory-resembling color and can be achieved by mixing a touch of yellow with white. Eburnean is mainly used for cosmetics and decorations.

11. Teal

Teal is a dark-hued, rich, vibrant color that falls between the green and blue spectrum. It is rare, sophisticated, and captivating, often associated with serenity and calmness. The color derives its name from the teal bird, known for its bluish-green stripe on its head. Its HEX color code is #008080.

12. Heliotrope

Heliotrope color derives its name from the heliotrope flower. It was first used as an English name in 1982. Its variations include old heliotrope, heliotrope magenta, and heliotrope gray.

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Last Update: September 25, 2023