Modern science has almost eliminated the demand for the most expensive paint in the world. In fact, its main usage in the modern era is to restore the works of antiquity. Still, what artist wouldn’t sell his or her right arm to work with genuine Tyrian purple?
Tyrian purple is produced by the purple dye murex, a kind of sea snail, and a single garment dyed with the pigment required the milking or crushing of twelve thousand snails. As such, it was extraordinarily expensive and wearing a Tyrian purple garment was a sign of incredible wealth. Also called imperial purple, the luxurious dye was used in garments worn by the emperors and kings of classical antiquity, including Alexander the Great, the Ptolemaic kings and the emperors of Rome.
Today, genuine Tyrian purple retains its high price. A mere gram of Tyrian purple may cost in excess of $3,725.