Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

The Color Yellow

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

The Color Yellow The Meaning of the color Yellow
The color and material used in Elizabethan Clothing was extremely important. People who could wear the color Yellow was dictated by English Law. These were called the Sumptuary Laws. The colors of Elizabethan clothes, including the color Yellow, provided information about the status of the man or woman wearing them.

This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing. The meaning of colors during the Elizabethan era represented many aspects of their life - the social, religious, biblical and Christian symbolism was reflected in the color Yellow.

The Symbolic and Religious Meaning of the color Yellow
Some interesting facts and information about the symbolic, religious, Christian and Biblical meaning of the color Yellow

  • The symbolic meaning of the color yellow was renewal and hope
  • The colorfast dye produced from saffron, the dried stamen of an oriental or Mediterranean crocus, was imported into Europe and was very expensive and only used to dye the clothes of the wealthy
  • Christian color for the season of Easter when used with white
  • Yellow was also associated with envy, greed and treachery. Judas Iscariot is often portrayed wearing yellow clothes
  • As early as 1270 there was anti-semitic feeling in England and King Edward I decreed that the Jews were a threat to the country. He decreed that all Jews must wear a yellow star to identify them in public.
  • Cheap dyes such as weld were used to produce the ordinary pale color yellow
  • Weld was a European plant (Reseda luteola) cultivated as a source of yellow dye - also called dyer's rocket, dyer's mignonette and also known as dyer's broom
  • People who were allowed to wear the color yellow during the Elizabethan era, as decreed by the English Sumptuary Laws, were lower and upper classes

The Dye used to produce the color Yellow
Some interesting facts and information about the dyes used to produce the color. The saffron dye comes from the bright red stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) found in areas of the Mediterranean including Spain and Greece and the orient. The Crocus sativus stigmas are the female part of the flower and saffron dye was produced by drying these and boiling with other plants then drying.

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