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Tyrian purple is made from the murex snail. Source: CrisMc / Adobe Stock.

Tyrian Purple: The Secret Process Behind the World’s Most Expensive Dye (Video)


Tyrian purple is an ancient and rare dye that is derived from the murex snail, which is found in the Mediterranean Sea. The process of extracting the dye is complex and labor-intensive, requiring a significant amount of time and resources. The first step in the process involves harvesting the murex snails and extracting the gland that produces the purple dye. This process is both time-consuming and challenging, as murex snails are not easy to find, and it takes a large number of snails to produce a small amount of dye.

Once the gland is extracted, the dye maker must go through a series of painstaking steps to extract and purify the dye. This process can take several weeks and requires specialized knowledge and equipment. As a result, the production of authentic Tyrian purple dye is a rare and costly process, which makes the dye one of the most expensive in the world. The scarcity and high cost of this dye have made it a symbol of wealth and luxury throughout history.

Top image: Tyrian purple is made from the murex snail. Source: CrisMc / Adobe Stock.

By Joanna Gillan



Pete Wagner's picture

Of course, this ancient technique is what gave the name ‘the purple people’ to the ancient Canaanites/Phoenicians.  The question is, what happened to them?  Were there any ‘purple people eaters’ around at that time?  

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

Joanna Gillan's picture


Joanna Gillan is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. 

Joanna completed a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) degree in Australia and published research in the field of Educational Psychology. She has a rich and varied career, ranging from teaching... Read More

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