Creating a deeply colored varnish which has a minimum of film thickness while being
transparent, translucent, and lightfast is the benchmark of the classic violin varnish. The source of these colors has
traditionally been an extract from Madder Root.
Alizarin is the chemical equivalent of the coloring agent in Madder root. This color extract, known as a lake, is made as an Artist's color by creating a colored particle which is then mixed in (floated) in the violin varnish to create a colored layer. As with any particle (lake or pigment) this process reduces the transparency of the varnish.
By recreating an ancient method the Alizarin Color Concentrate Varnishes and the Baltic Amber Color Varnishes are made by attaching the Alizarin Lake to the linseed oil molecule in the process of making the varnish. At no point in the making of the color or the varnish is there a particle present. The color has the deep translucence of the linseed oil and the lightfast qualities of an alizarin lake.
Alizarin Color Concentrates
The hues of Alizarin, the coloring agent in Madder root, are the traditional range of colors for violin varnish. Alizarin Color Concentrates are made in Alizarin Orange, Alizarin Scarlet and Alizarin Purple. The ancient method of attaching the color directly to the oil produces a varnish which translates a maximum of coloring power to a minimum of varnish film thickness. The clarity, brilliance and lightfast qualities of these concentrates are unsurpassed. The colors are fully formed Dark Rosin Varnishes and are available as long oil varnishes. The colors may be used on their own or mixed, or mixed with other varnishes.
Baltic Amber Color Varnishes
When the procedure of attaching the alizarin colors to the linseed oil (see Alizarin Color Concentrate) and using the colored linseed oil with Baltic Amber creates a varnish which has a complexity of color and clarity which makes a beautiful primary varnish or a color to be added to or layered on other varnishes. The Baltic Amber Color Varnishes are Orange, Red Brown and Golden Brown. They are long oil varnishes.
Dyed Copal Varnish
The hard Copal used to make Copal Violin Varnish shows a dual solubility for turpentine and alcohol at one point in the cooking process. At this point a metal complex aniline dye is added. These dyes are normally alcohol soluble. They provide stable and deep colors which are light fast. These Varnishes can be used on their own or added to the other varnishes as coloring agents. Dyed Copal Varnishes are all short oil varnishes.