Blue is one of the primary colors and it is associated with calmness, confidence, and intelligence. Many things in nature possess the color blue from majestic bodies of water to clear sunny skies. Blue is also a popular color choice for man-made objects like clothing, cars, logos, and more. Let’s explore some of the most common things that are blue in the world around us.
Bodies of Water
Some of the most prominent blue items in nature are large bodies of water. The ocean, seas, lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams often appear blue. The main factors that contribute to water’s blue appearance are the way light interacts with the water molecules and any particles or organisms suspended in the water. Here are some examples of blue bodies of water:
- Oceans – The Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern oceans all tend to look bright or deep blue when viewed from above.
- Seas – Named seas like the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, and South China Sea are shades of deep or vibrant blue.
- Lakes – From the African Great Lakes to the North American Great Lakes, inland lakes often appear blue due to their depth and the way light filters through the water.
- Rivers – Major rivers like the Nile, Amazon, Yangtze, Mississippi, and Thames have blue hues.
The exact shade of blue can vary based on factors like the water depth, strength of sunlight, and amount of sediment or organisms in the water. But in general, larger bodies of water tend to look predominantly blue.
On a clear day with minimal clouds, the sky often appears as a brilliant blue dome above the Earth. The blue color comes from the way sunlight interacts with the gases in the atmosphere. Here are some examples of blue skies:
- Daytime sky – During the day, the sky is often a rich medium to dark blue, especially at higher altitudes farther from the horizon.
- Dusk/twilight sky – Nearer to sunset, the sky can turn a deeper, vivid blue.
- Overcast or stormy sky – Even on cloudy or stormy days, the sky is still blue if you could see behind the clouds.
- Moonlit night sky – Without the sun, the sky appears as a darker blue, approaching black at the top of the sky dome.
The air molecules Rayleigh scatter the shorter wavelengths of violet and blue light, making the sky appear blue to our eyes from the ground most of the time.
There are a few precious gemstones that exhibit blue hues. Some blue gem examples include:
- Sapphire – Sapphires come in a range of blue shades from light to extremely dark blue. Some rare sapphires even appear violet-blue.
- Blue topaz – The most valuable and desirable topaz is the sky blue variety. Blue topaz ranges from very pale blue to Swiss blue shades.
- Blue zircon – Blue zircon is the bright sky blue variety of zircon crystals. It is rarer and more valuable than the more common brown zircons.
- Blue tourmaline – This gem comes in many colors, and the blue version is known as indicolite tourmaline. It has vivid blue-green hues.
These blue gemstones are prized for their beauty and durability in jewelry. Of these options, sapphire is the most precious, rare, and expensive blue gem.
Butterflies come in a huge variety of colors and patterns. Some species feature stunning blue wing colors. Here are a few examples of butterflies with blue wings or markings:
- Blue morpho – This butterfly from Central and South America has brilliant blue wings that shine when they reflect light.
- Common blue – One of the most widespread blue butterflies in Europe, the males have azure blue wings.
- Eastern bluebird – A small butterfly found in North America with sky blue wings edged in black.
- Blue moon – Has powdery blue wings and is found in parts of South Asia and Australia.
The blue coloration on a butterfly’s wings comes from the microscopic structure of the wing scales, which reflect blue light through optical interference effects. For some species like the blue morpho, the blue hue serves as camouflage when the wings are closed.
Many flowering plants and flowers across a wide range of species exhibit blue shades in their petals and blossoms. Here are some of the most common examples of blue flowers:
- Blue orchids – Orchid flowers can be various shades of blue such as phalaenopsis orchids.
- Hydrangeas – These can bloom in blue, purple, or pink hues depending on soil pH.
- Bluebells – Named for their bluish-purple bell-shaped flowers.
- Cornflowers – Vibrant blue blossoms that are edible.
- Morning glories – They open bright blue flowers in the morning.
- Forget-me-nots – Tiny light blue flowers on this common plant.
The blue pigmentation in many flower petals comes from anthocyanin compounds. The pH of the soil and other growing conditions influence how blue or purple the anthocyanins make the flowers appear.
Although less common than red or green foods, there are some edible foods that are naturally blue without artificial coloring:
|Blueberries||Sweet blue berries high in antioxidants|
|Blue raspberries||Rare raspberry variety with a bluish tint|
|Blue corn||Unusual variety of corn with bluish kernels|
|Blue potatoes||Purple-blue potato cultivars due to anthocyanins|
|Blue cheese||Cheese with bluish mold veins added|
|Butterfly pea tea||Herbal tea made from Clitoria ternatea flowers|
The blue and purple pigments come from anthocyanin compounds in the foods’ skin, peels, flowers, or mold cultures. So vibrant blue foods in nature are relatively uncommon compared to produce with green, yellow, or red hues.
Beyond butterflies, some other animals also display blue coloration. This is due to pigments, structural colors, or bioluminescence. Here are some examples of blue animals:
- Blue tang fish – Bright neon blue coloration
- Blue whale – Appears blue-gray when underwater
- Blue jay – Azure blue and white feathers
- Blue-ringed octopus – Glowing blue rings when threatened
- Eastern bluebird – Male birds have deep blue plumage
While less common than red, orange, yellow, green, or brown animals, blue and purple specimens provide some diversity and visual interest in the animal kingdom. The blue hues tend to come from structural colors rather than blue pigments.
Man-Made Blue Items
Beyond naturally blue items, humans have created many objects that include blue coloration such as:
- Blue jeans – Ubiquitous denim pants often dyed or woven with blue thread
- Blue ink – Found in pens, markers, and printer cartridges
- Blue paint – Available in gloss, satin, or matte shades
- Blue cars – Vehicles painted or wrapped vibrant blue
- Blue logos – Many brands use blue in logos for trust and reliability
Blue is a popular choice for human-designed objects since it is considered a stable, professional, and dependable color, though not overused like black or gray. The blue pigment usually comes from synthetic phthalocyanine dyes rather than natural plant dyes.
In summary, many natural items, organisms, and man-made objects incorporate different shades of blue. The color blue is associated with depth, stability, wisdom, and calmness. Blue’s peaceful vibes and versatile hues make it a compelling choice for everything from clothing to company logos. Paying attention to the blue items all around us, whether in nature or everyday life, can evoke feelings of harmony and tranquility.