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So, you know all the colours of the rainbow, the primary colours and a few pastel options in between. That means you know all the colours, right? Wrong!

First, a colour lesson. All colours are made up of pigments. Pigments give colours well, their colour.

The Forbes Pigment Collection is located inside the Strauss Centre at the Harvard Art Museum in the United States. The man in charge is Narayan Khandekar, the Director.

The Forbes Pigment Collection has brought together over 2,500 different pigments in just a few decades.

Narayan is involved with the storage and naming of the different pigments. He has to ensure that they’re looked after for future generations. How he comes up with the names, now that’s still a mystery to us.

Dragon’s Blood has nothing to do with dragons at all, in fact it comes from rattan palm. But the specific pigment is a bright blood red. OK, that one does make sense.

The rarest colour in Narayan’s collection is an entire ball of Indian Yellow. It’s a pigment that’s made from the dried urine of cows that have only eaten mango leaves.

But, it’s not all fun and games, or dried urine, when you’re holding pigments in your hand. There’s a green called emerald green that has an arsenic centre to it. Yes, it could kill you.

Narayan not only keep these pigments safe, he’s also a bit of an investigator. If someone says an artwork is real, a tiny pigment sample could be used to verify this or not.

Watch the Great Big Story video below to see what other colours Narayan has in his pigment collection.

Image credit: Fast Company

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