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Is teal and aquamarine the same color?

Colors can sometimes be confusing. While some colors seem obviously distinct from one another, like red and blue, others have much more subtle differences that are harder to distinguish. Teal and aquamarine are two colors that often get lumped together or used interchangeably, but they are actually separate colors with their own unique shades and characteristics.

Defining Teal and Aquamarine

First, let’s clearly define what teal and aquamarine are:

  • Teal is a medium blue-green color that is darker and more green than aquamarine. It sits between green and cyan on the color wheel and is created by mixing blue into green.
  • Aquamarine is a light blue-green color that is brighter and more blue than teal. It is a variation of cyan that is 42% cyan and 58% green.

So while both colors are in the blue-green family, teal leans more toward the green side while aquamarine skews more blue. Looking at them side by side, the differences become more apparent.

Comparing Teal and Aquamarine

Here is a quick visual comparison of teal vs aquamarine:

Teal Aquamarine
Darker, more greenish-blue Brighter, more blueish-green
Resembles green with blue added Resembles cyan with green added
Greyish tone Vibrant tone

As you can see, teal is the darker, duller color of the two. It has more grey undertones compared to the vivid brightness of aquamarine. Aquamarine pops more while teal is more subdued.

Teal Color Shades

Within the broad teal color family, there are a variety of shades ranging from green-tinged to blue-tinged:

  • Green teal – This shade is the closest to green, with only a small amount of blue added.
  • Dark teal – A darker, grayish-green teal that may appear almost greenish-blue.
  • Teal – The true teal is right in the middle, nicely balanced between green and blue.
  • Blue teal – This variety has more blue added, giving it a bluer-green color.
  • Bright teal – A brighter, bolder version of true teal with more saturation.

The most common shades of teal clothing, paints, and graphics sit in the middle as true teals. Dark or green teals are better for more subtle, earthy uses while bright or blue teals pop more.

Aquamarine Color Shades

Like teal, aquamarine also comes in an array of shades from the color wheel:

  • Blue aquamarine – More blue than green, this very pale aquamarine can look almost blue.
  • True aquamarine – The classic aquamarine, nicely balanced between blue and green.
  • Green aquamarine – Subtly more green than blue, but still very pale.
  • Light aquamarine – A lighter version of classic aquamarine, almost glowing.
  • Cyan aquamarine – More saturated cyan, making it extra vibrant.

The most recognizable aquamarine sits in the middle with even blue and green tones. Blue aquamarines risk looking too blue, while green ones lose some brightness. Light and cyan varieties boost vibrancy.

How Lighting Affects Teal vs Aquamarine

The lighting that colors are viewed under also affects how teal and aquamarine are perceived. Here’s how different lighting impacts them:

  • Natural daylight – The most accurate representation, showing teal’s subtle grey tones and aquamarine’s vibrancy.
  • Cool white fluorescent light – Slightly desaturates both colors, teal appears darker.
  • Warm incandescent light – Warms both colors up, teal seems more green and aquamarine more greenish-cyan.
  • LED light – Varies depending on the LED temperature, cooler light keeps colors more accurate.

Daylight gives the truest impression of these colors. Cool lighting exaggerates teal’s darkness while warm lighting shifts both colors toward green. LEDs vary depending on the specifications.

How Teal and Aquamarine Are Used

Despite their similarities, teal and aquamarine are used in somewhat different ways:

  • Teal – More commonly used in graphic design, men’s fashion, darker decor, and for earthy branding. Works well for backgrounds.
  • Aquamarine – Mainly seen in women’s fashion, beachy decor, and bright youthful branding. Pops in accent details.

Teal’s darker earthiness gives it a versatile sophistication, used in many industries. Aquamarine feels more lively and energetic, popular for summery items. Both work in water themes.

Common Names for Teal vs Aquamarine Colors

You may also hear teal and aquamarine referred to by other names:

Teal Aquamarine
– Dark cyan – Light cyan
– Blue-green – Blueish-green
– Dark teal – Pale aquamarine

Teal is sometimes called dark cyan, blue-green, or dark teal. Aquamarine can be light cyan, blueish-green, or pale aquamarine. But most commonly they are simply called teal and aquamarine.

Distinguishing Teal from Similar Colors

Teal has a few other colors that are easily mixed up with it:

  • Teal vs. Turquoise – Turquoise is lighter and brighter with more blue. Teal is darker and duller.
  • Teal vs. Cobalt blue – Cobalt blue has much more blue without as much green. Teal is more balanced.
  • Teal vs. Forest green – Forest green has no blue, it is purely a dark green. Teal has obvious blue tones.

Compared to turquoise, cobalt blue, and forest green, teal occupies a hue distinctly between blue and green.

Distinguishing Aquamarine from Similar Colors

Aquamarine also commonly gets mistaken for these colors:

  • Aquamarine vs. Cyan – Cyan is more purely a greenish-blue without white added to lighten it. Aquamarine is much paler.
  • Aquamarine vs. Mint green – Mint green is a pale pastel green without any blue tones mixed in. Aquamarine clearly includes blue.
  • Aquamarine vs. Baby blue – Baby blue is lighter and more purely blue. Aquamarine has an obvious green tint.

Aquamarine stands out from cyan, mint green, and baby blue thanks to its distinctive pale greenish-blue color.


While teal and aquamarine look similar at first glance, they are distinct colors with different shades, uses, and perceptions. Teal is the darker, grayish-green tone while aquamarine is light and vividly blue-green. Both have a range of shades across the blue-green color wheel. Their subtle differences come down to teal having more green and aquamarine more blue.

When uncertain if a color is teal or aquamarine, looking at them side-by-side makes it easier to compare their darkness, tones, and saturation. Examining how the color is used can also give clues, as teal is popular for graphic design while aquamarine is favored for summery items. Knowing their distinguishing characteristics helps identify these beautiful blue-green colors.