A pigment is any highly colored, fine, solid, and insoluble substance. Pigments absorb some parts of the visible light spectrum and reflect other parts, which gives them their typical color.
Pigments are found in minerals as well as the cells of plants, animals and humans. Chlorophyll, for example, is the pigment that gives the green color to plants, while melanin is the primary determinant of human skin color. Hemoglobin is the pigment that is responsible for the red color of blood.
Pigments are used to impart color to other materials, mainly in inks (in dispersed form), paints, and in powdery form. Pigments are used to color textiles, plastic, for printing, painting, drawing, and many other color-related purposes.
While pigments are by definition insoluble in their vehicle, dyes are either a liquid, or soluble substances. Pigment inks are generally more stable than dyes.
Industrial pigments come from natural or synthetic substances and can be organic or inorganic. Natural pigments are obtained from clays, plants, and minerals. Synthetic, chemically produced pigments were first produced in the 19th century.