Natural Iron Oxides and Hematites
Natural Iron Oxides are earth pigments which range from rich red-brown to dark red-violet and have a very high iron oxide content making them both high tinting and opaque. Modern Iron Oxides were invented to replace the natural ones but the unique qualities of the natural iron oxides cannot be matched. Caput Mortuum and many Indian Reds are the names of colors assigned to natural iron oxides.
Hematite starts out as a heavy gray metallic ore. Upon inspection you might even consider it to be a piece of metal. After hundreds of years mother nature breaks it down into the pigment commonly known as Indian Red, Persian Red, or English Red. Hematite can be found through out the world with large deposits in Spain and the Southwest of the United States.
Caput Mortuum is Latin for "Dead Head" the color can range from a rich red-violet to a dark deep earthy purple. This is color is often underestimated and time after time will surprise many artists as to its beauty and usefulness. Many painters quickly fall in love with this marvelous pigment.