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Class: Natural
Ionisation: Acid

Chemical structure of Kermes

Common Name: Kermes
Suggested Name: Kermes
Other Names:

Kermesic acid

C.I. Number: 75460
C.I. Name: Natural red 3
Color: Yellow-red
Solubility Aqueous: Soluble at boiling
Solubility Ethanol: Soluble at boiling
Absorption Maximum: 276, 312, 498
Empirical Formula: C16H10O8
Formula Weight: 330.3


Kermes is one of the oldest dyes known, being mentioned in the Bible book of Genesis (38:28) as scarlet or crimson. It is obtained from the bodies of an insect, Kermes ilices (formerly known as Coccus ilicis). It is chemically very similar to carmine and, as the older name indicates, the insects are related to those from which carmine is obtained. Although it forms bright crimson lakes, it is not used in histotechnology.

Insect Dyes


  1. Susan Budavari, Editor,
    The Merck Index, Ed. 12
    Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA