AskDefine | Define zaffer

The Collaborative Dictionary

Zaffer \Zaf"fer\, n. [F. zafre, safre; cf. Sp. zafra, safra, It. saffera, G. zaffer; all probably of Arabic origin. Cf. Zaphara.] A pigment obtained, usually by roasting cobalt glance with sand or quartz, as a dark earthy powder. It consists of crude cobalt oxide, or of an impure cobalt arseniate. It is used in porcelain painting, and in enameling pottery, to produce a blue color, and is often confounded with smalt, from which, however, it is distinct, as it contains no potash. The name is often loosely applied to mixtures of zaffer proper with silica, or oxides of iron, manganese, etc. [Written also zaffre, and formerly zaffree, zaffar, zaffir.] [1913 Webster]

English

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A pigment obtained, usually by roasting cobalt glance with sand or quartz, as a dark earthy powder. It consists of crude cobalt oxide, or of an impure cobalt arseniate. It is used in porcelain painting, and in enameling pottery, to produce a blue color, and is often confounded with smalt, from which, however, it is distinct, as it contains no potash. The name is often loosely applied to mixtures of zaffer proper with silica, or oxides of iron, manganese, etc.
Zaffre, a pre-scientific substance (see List of alchemical substances), is a deep blue pigment obtained by roasting cobalt ore, and is made of either an impure form cobalt oxide or impure cobalt arseniate. During the Victorian Era, zaffre was used to prepare smalt and stain glass blue.

References

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