Natural Dyes, deriving from plants, animals or minerals, have been employed to colour fibers since ancient times. They can be used in a raw state or after undergoing basic processes such as drying, grinding, maceration or oxidation. Natural dyes are chosen depending on their availability in carpet producing areas.

The final colour is determined not only by dyes, but also by their dosing and how long the carpet is immersed in the dye solution. In a few words, a good result strongly depends from the master dyer’s ability.



Some of the most common natural dyes are described below:

  • Red, from cochineal, different kinds of insects are used to produce specific shades. Madder is also employed, extracted from the root of the Rubia Tinctorum, and from cinnabar mineral.

  • Yellow from saffron, which is very expensive, or vine and pomegranate leaves, but also from Curcuma root and ochre mineral.

  • Blue from indigo, that is to say idogofera tinctoria leaves, or from lapis lazuli.

  • Green, by mixing blue and yellow or from malachite or Armenian yellow berries.

  • Brown from walnut shell.

  • Black by mixing indigo and henna.

In 1860 the first aniline dyes were introduced on the market.

Obviously, dyers didn’t stop using natural dyes immediately. On the contrary these were still employed for lots of years, especially in the most far away areas where carpets were still dyed according to traditional techniques.

Initially, these synthetic dyes were not sun or water-proof, causing sharp colours to bleach after a few years. This problem was fixed over the last century thanks to the introduction of chrome dyes.

wool dyeingDespite the revival of natural dyes, nowadays carpet production relies on selected chrome dyes mainly coming from Switzerland that boast an almost unlimited variety of nuances. Since carpets are generally the fruit of handicraft manufacturing, small amounts of yarn are dyed each time, dipping skeins of yarn in small colour tubs. In this way different skeins end up to display different nuances of colour. This kind of colour variation, known as abrash, turns out to be particularly evident in single colour carpets. An abrash proves that a carpet is a handicraft product.



Rough hand spun fibres will absorb dyes unevenly, with light differently reflected on the yarn creating a special vibrant effect.