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Trying to determine an orange color in an antique quilt - called "antimony"?

Trying to determine an orange color in an antique quilt - called "antimony"?

Old 04-21-2009, 05:38 PM
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I just met a new friend in Charleston S C with an older quilt - I don't have a date from her. She's been unable to find out how it got the orange color blocks and wondered about something I have never heard about before, "antimony"? What is this? Would love to be able to help a fellow quilter and be able to correspond with this nice lady.

She also has some bright green spots on the same quilt - could this be from fading? or from a stain? or just age?

I appreciate this board so much !!! and although I haven't posted any pics yet- I hope to find time to do that real soon.

Thanks to all of you wonderful quilting friends from so many interesting places!!

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Old 04-21-2009, 06:04 PM
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I did a little searching on antimony and the only thing I could find in regards to fabric, (Fibrous Flame Retardant) fibers contain antimony trioxide for its flame retarding properties.
I could not find any mention of it regarding quilts, only fabric.
The stains on an old quilt could be from anything....
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:16 AM
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could the word antimony refer to the color - there is a silver and blue antimony as well as yellow and black - I know it is something used to make pewter - hope this helps.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:51 AM
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Interesting article on early dye techniques here:

From Wikipedia:
History and uses
Kermesite or red antimony has been used as early as the Old Kingdom’s 6th Dynasty in ancient Egypt (c.2345-2181 BCE) in lip cosmetics and in the 18th Dynasty Queen Hatshepsut (Maatkare) (1498-1483 BCE) negotiated with the land of Punt for it s colored antimony deposits. Besides stibnite which was used for eye liner red antimony is one of the oldest minerals used in cosmetics. Further archaeological evidence indicates that antimony levels were higher in ancient Egyptian female remains which had exposure to both antimony compounds (Bencze, 1994). Because of its color, the precipitate of kermesite was used as a coloring agent and in alchemy. Because of alchemy’s focus on material transformation as evidenced by color, red antimony was used to produce the red state. Kermesite is the mineral state for Kermes mineral which was used extensively in the medical field for centuries

Presently, kermesite is collected for the beauty of its crystal metallic structure and not used in either cosmetics or the medical field any longer due to the toxic affects with antimony; less harmful substitutes have been found using both organic and pharamceutical production.

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Old 04-22-2009, 10:07 AM
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My guess is that the orange stains are due to storage of the quilt on unsealed wood, either on a shelf or in a drawer. The other main cause of orange discoloration to fabric, hard water stains, would be pretty much all over the quilt, not in "color blocks". The green stains are more of a puzzle, but could be anything from mold to fabric softener.

As far as antimony is concerned, it is the reason I no longer buy bottled water. Also from Wikipedia: "Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic. Clinically, antimony poisoning is very similar to arsenic poisoning. In small doses, antimony causes headache, dizziness, and depression. Larger doses cause violent and frequent vomiting, and will lead to death in a few days....Antimony leaches from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into bottled water, but at levels below drinking water guidelines."
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:17 AM
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I did some more searching and learned that the color we usually call cheddar is also known as chrome orange or antimony.

This site contains useful information on dating a quilt and also refers to the "antimony orange".

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Old 04-22-2009, 03:48 PM
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Oh wow, guess I really misunderstood the problem!! Sorry 'bout that. :oops:
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