The ancient Romans called it auripigmentum, meaning ‘gold pigment’. But the mineral orpiment, also known as arsenic sulfide, is not actually gold, despite the best efforts of medieval alchemists to turn it into the precious metal. Still, orpiment served a lot of other purposes. In wartime, arrow heads were dipped into the pigment to poison the enemy and the Chinese used it to colour their fireworks.
Prized by artists over the centuries for its gold-like vibrancy, it wasn’t until the 19th century that orpiment was replaced by less toxic, synthetic alternatives. Still used by artists today, the golden-hued pigment is available in a wide array of shades, from reviving lemon and canary yellow to a golden, brownish yellow. Be your own artist at home and use this golden yellow in liberal doses to create a happy, welcoming space.