Posted by Danny Mehra on 01-22-2005 01:46 PM:

"Natural Orange" Dyes

I found this friend buried in a heap of single-orange-colored siblings in San Francisco Chinatown last weekend.

Guaranteed natural dyes. No signs of counterfeit tinkering. Or at least none that I know of.

Any ideas what happened here? Maybe this can give us some clues to what happens with orange dyed wool.


Posted by Vincent Keers on 01-22-2005 03:54 PM:


One side in water for a few days?
Salt water?

Maybe someone out there airbrushes the oranges!

I dono

Best regards,

Posted by R. John Howe on 01-22-2005 08:39 PM:

Danny, Vincent -

The use of artificial dyes to make various foods attractive has been going on for some time.

Perhaps this is just an incomplete instance of that.


R. John Howe

Posted by Vincent Keers on 01-22-2005 09:00 PM:

Hi John,

I'll stop eating from now on. So unhealthy!
Only hope "they" don't mess up my cigars!

Best regards,

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 01-22-2005 09:16 PM:

Light or Dark


Were the other oranges dark or light?
Did you eat the orange?
Are there any orange groves near Nuclear Power Plants?
In the early days of margarine, they were not allowed to color it yellow, because the butter makers did not want the competition.
Nowdays, the farm-grown salmon producers must label their product "artificially colored" because they feed the salmon coloring to give them the bright orange "healthy" look.
Your orange is very peculiar. I suppose if you gave it to an activist group, they would start picketing orange groves.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Vincent Keers on 01-22-2005 09:32 PM:


Let's start an Art studio like Andy did in the days that it mattered

Here's our first "DANVIN" production.

Sure it will reach topprice in firstcoming auction after w're dead.
Cigars are a big help.

Best regards,

Posted by Vincent Keers on 01-22-2005 09:35 PM:


The right black squares are bigger.
This creates perspective and some tension in the composition.................
ok, I'll stop drinking.


Posted by Wendel Swan on 01-22-2005 09:54 PM:

Oranges, poranges

Hello Danny and Pat,

Your orange is yet another lesson that all is not natural, regardless of what our eyes may tell us. Many oranges in the marketplace are, like salmon, artificially colored.

In some regions, growers have for decades and decades added artificial coloring to the fully or partially green skins of otherwise mature oranges. The practice must be indicated to the public, but not necessarily on the skin of each orange.

Gassing of oranges with ethylene will blanch the skins and achieve the commercially attractive color as well.

I used to own a small share of an orange grove in Florida and learned more about growing them that I ever needed to know. "Smoke pot" has an entirely different meaning in the citrus world.

It is curious that many rug collectors assume that the color orange in a rug is not natural when it often is and that most people assume that the color of oranges is natural when it often is not.


Posted by Steve Price on 01-22-2005 11:10 PM:

Hi Folks

Danny sent me an e-mail with the following 6 images attached. His text is:

"Steve, a friend of mine who'd taken some pictures of this interesting orange just sent them to me. Please post them at your convenience. These are actually better than the first two I sent you.


Thanks, Danny.

Steve Price

Posted by Danny Mehra on 01-23-2005 01:01 PM:

Thank you

Thanks to you all for posting your responses. Much appreciated.

I don't think we'll ever know what happened here - just like we never quite know what happened many years ago when the dyemasters mixed fun substances to dye wool for those beautiful rugs. All natural - all chemical - or somewhere in between. I think you all will agree with that.

One can never tell. Just like Wendel says in his post.

I suppose if it appeals to the eye, that's what really matters. The rest is all speculation. Or one person's opinion.

Vincent, there are 6 more (better) pictures if you want to work on another collage. Your last one is beautiful and should be copyrighted.

Thanks, everyone!

Posted by Johanna Raynor on 01-27-2005 09:23 AM:

Which one would you buy?

The real question is ........ would you buy this piece if you could only see the dark orange side or if you could only see the yellow side?.
Or are there some perverse people like me who would find it attractive because it was different?


Posted by Marvin Amstey on 01-27-2005 06:52 PM:

It all looks derivative of Andy Warhol's "art"

Posted by Danny Mehra on 01-31-2005 08:07 PM:

Update - the inside dyes - and the taste

I finally cut the orange today. It had been in the fridge for two weeks and I feared it may not last much longer.

Here's what I have to report:

There was a color difference on the inside as well: the orange half was "oranger" on the inside, and the yellow half was "yellower". But the contrast between the colors was not quite as vivid as on the outer skin.

The taste: the orange part was noticeably sweeter than the yellow part (unless my head was playing tricks on me).

Don't know if this new data will change your opinions, but I thought I should throw it out there for your analysis.


Posted by Cevat Kanig on 01-31-2005 10:03 PM:

Hi Dany and All,

My analise is :
If both sides of the orange contanains vitamin C, it means it is a healthy food, But, incase, next time you buy Orange please be more carefully.

Bon Appeti !

Cevat Kanig

Posted by Danny Mehra on 02-04-2005 08:51 PM:

Does anyone know if orange skins were ever used to produce orange dyes?

Posted by Horst Nitz on 02-09-2005 08:21 AM:

Hi Folks,

what makes organic colours dark is the amount of conjugated multiple chemical bounds in sequence. This is synonym to high-energy state. More often in the case of oranges the energy’s source still is the sun rather than a nuclear power plant in the vicinity. Thanks. In other words, one half of the orange may simply have got more light over a prolonged time. Maybe this can even happen after harvest.

Christmas is over and I can’t send an example: for the last couple of years here we had very wholesome looking red apples in the shops with yellow Christmas motives on them, i.e. stars, lit candles, angels etc. Same explanation: for a certain time a sticker, later removed, was put on the apples where the image was to go.



Posted by Steve Price on 02-09-2005 08:52 AM:

Hi Horst

Your explanation occurred to me, too, but the likelihood that exactly one half of each orange would get extra light, leaving a sharp dividing line between the two hemispheres, seems very low to me.


Steve Price

Posted by Tim Adam on 02-09-2005 09:59 AM:

Maybe the orange swam in a liquid for a while, to demonstrate how chemicals can be used to change the color of the skin.


Posted by Horst Nitz on 02-10-2005 07:48 AM:

Hi Vincent

I forgot to say, I like your collage. Very clever idea.



Posted by Danny Mehra on 02-10-2005 07:39 PM:

The "inside" report

Thanks to everybody for potential theories.

For what its worth, the color difference existed on the "inside" as well (though not quite as vivid as on the outside. And I thought the orange part was sweeter than the yellow part - but that could have been my inherent bias.

Wonder if this data will help us reach a conclusion?


Posted by Vincent Keers on 02-10-2005 10:21 PM:

Hi Danny,

Andy didn't eat much. He drank, took pills etc.
Because of this he became eternally transcendental. So these things I constructed came from him.

Andy gives us the following conclusion:

Start eating pills. Drink. Smoke etc.
and quit the oranges.

Best regards,

PS. If ever you pick up the dye habit.
Never use flowers, fruits etc. In those products the colour is already developed. Use the roots, the young leaves, flowerbuds. I'm sure you'll get an orange/yellow colour. And maybe this has already been done. Why not. But who, and how, am I to know?

Posted by Danny Mehra on 02-12-2005 01:30 PM:

Thanks, Vincent. This is quite something!

Now let's give you another challenge - capturing this orange's "taste" and "smell" in your next collage.

How about giving that a try?