Moledigo Dye

Jieer Huang


Indigo dye, C16H10N2O2, is widely used to create beautiful patterns and fabric including denim jeans. Indigo, extracted from plants, has become one of the world's most traded commodities. However, nearly all of the indigo dye produced today are synthetic due to the price of indigo. Indigo dye is responsible for the blue coloring in jeans but it also provides other benefits and uses. Moledigo Dye, weighing almost 262.27 g/mol, is one of the most important compounds found in the famous Levi Strauss & Co. jeans.

Moledigo Dye


This mole, made out of jeans, represents the use of indigo dye. Not only does it contain indigo dye itself in its fabric, it is also named after the compound. The Levi Strauss & Co. tag on the end of the mole highlights how it is intergraded into one of America's classic and popular clothing. The zipper is another interesting aspect that further documents how indigo dye is an pertinent compound in the clothing that we wear and a real life use for it.

Levi Strauss & Mole


The earliest uses and production of indigo dye can be traced back to India where it was the primary supplier to the Old World. The cultivation of indigo dye rapidly speed throughout Europe and reached the Americas by the late 18th century. In colonial America, it was the second most profitable cash crop behind rice. By the early 19th century, the use of indigo dye had flourished, existing on nearly every corner of the globe. In the 19th century, Levi Strauss helped secure the patent for Levi's 501 Jeans, denim jeans colored from indigo dye. Levi jeans has gone on to become the world's best selling item of clothing. Today, indigo dye is still used in jeans and it is primarily grown in South America and Asia.


The majority of indigo is used as a dye for cotton yarn, mainly for the production of denim jeans. On average, it requires about 3 to 12 grams of indigo for a pair of blue jeans. Over one billion pairs of jeans around the world are dyed blue with indigo. It was the original dye of the Levi's blue jeans and it is the only natural blue dye that is permanent in nature. In earlier Arab history, indigo dye was used stain skin for war, religious and social rites. Today, it can also be used for craft purpose such as on paper, leather and on silk.

Pertinent Information

As the demand for blue dye increased, indigo became one of India's most lucrative business and exports. In the 19th century, over 1 million people were actively participating in the indigo industry. The Indigo Revolt of 1859, a non-violent indigo farms and peasant uprisings against planation owners, helped inspire Gandhi in his late efforts to end British rule. Not only did indigo impact jeans but it also contributed to the history of India.

The colors and materials used in Elizabethan clothing often reflected the status and wealthy of its owner. People who could wear the color indigo was dictated by English law, Sumptuary Laws. The great majority of the people wearing indigo were royalty or nobility. The meaning of colors during the Elizabethan era represented many aspects of their life. Indigo reflected social, religious, biblical and Christian traditions. Indigo has a biblical meaning symbolizing heavenly grace as the Virgin Mary is often depicted wearing indigo or blue clothing. It is often referred to as Royal Blue for its prestigious connotations.

Physical Properties

Indigo dye, molar mass of 262.27 g/mol, melts at around 390 degrees Celsius. It has a density of 1.20 g/cm3 and it is often a blue or dark blue powder. It is also insoluble in water but soluble in non polar solvents.

Chemical Properties

Indigo dye is a strong oxidizing agent and there is no rusting of the compound. When it is heated to decomposition, it emits acrid and irritating fumes.

Work Cited

"Flinn Science: Indigo Dye." Flinn Science . N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.

"Heritage Timeline 2 | Levi Strauss." Levi Strauss. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.

"Indigo - History." PLANT CULTURES. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.

"Indigo Dye." De Paul University. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.

"Indigo Dye." Princeton University. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

Indigo Dyeing in Kyoto. N.d. Photograph. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.

Levi Strauss and Blue Jeans. N.d. Photograph. Looking Glass Review. Web. 6 Mar. 2014.

"Natural Indigo Dye Fermentation Process." YouTube. YouTube, 15 Mar. 2007. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.


The video below shows the fermentation process for indigo dye.
Natural Indigo Dye Fermentation Process