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What is the pantone code for turquoise?

Turquoise is a gorgeous hue that evokes images of tropical seas and serene skies. It’s a calming, refreshing color that has been prized since ancient times. But with so many shades of blue-green in the universe, how do we define the specific turquoise tone that qualifies as the official Pantone turquoise? Read on to learn more about this iconic color and its place in the Pantone matching system.

What is Pantone?

Before we can discuss the Pantone code for turquoise, it helps to understand what Pantone is. Pantone is a standardized color matching system used primarily in the printing and design industries. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a proprietary color space that allows designers, manufacturers, and printers to refer to specific colors using numeric codes. This ensures accuracy and consistency across different materials and mediums.

Pantone does not refer to a single hue, but rather a whole system of coded colors. The Pantone system includes over 1,100 solid colors that are given specific numbers and names. Each swatch represents a unique shade.

Some key facts about Pantone:

  • Pantone Inc. was founded in New Jersey in the 1950s as a commercial printing company.
  • The first Pantone Matching System guidebook was published in 1963.
  • Pantone colors are created by blending 14 base pigments.
  • Coated and uncoated versions of each shade are specified, referring to use on coated vs. uncoated paper stock.
  • In addition to solid colors, the Pantone system includes metallic and pastel collections.

Using the Pantone matching system allows designers to communicate colors accurately regardless of where their designs are eventually reproduced. This helps ensure printed materials, fabrics, plastics, and more will all showcase the exact intended color. When dealing with critical brand colors, having a precise Pantone reference is essential.

A Brief History of Turquoise

Before looking specifically at Pantone turquoise, it helps to understand the background of this arresting color. Turquoise has a long history as a coveted shade, dating back over 6,000 years.

Some key facts about the history of turquoise:

  • The name comes from the French phrase “pierre tourques” meaning “Turkish stone” since it first reached Europe via Turkey.
  • Evidence of ancient turquoise mining has been found in locations from Egypt to Mesoamerica.
  • Turquoise was used by the ancient Egyptians in jewelry and ornaments.
  • During the Ming Dynasty in China, turquoise was ground into a powder believed to promote calm and focus.
  • Native Americans have long used turquoise for both jewelry and decorative objects.
  • Turquoise remains an iconic southwestern motif used in everything from fashion to home decor.

This brilliant blue-tinged green has symbolic associations with water, sky, and health. With its striking color ranging from robin’s egg to deep teal, it’s no wonder turquoise has been so coveted across cultures.

Defining the Turquoise Color Spectrum

Turquoise as a descriptor actually encompasses a wide range of shades from greenish-blue to bluish-green. This broad spectrum can make it tricky to pin down one definitive turquoise. Here are some characteristics that help define the turquoise color family:

  • Hues ranging from green-blue to blue-green
  • Tones from bright and light to deeper and richer
  • Hint of green comes from yellow undertones
  • Shades are lighter and brighter than true greens
  • More saturated than mint green

Turquoise can be further classified into sub-categories:

Type Characteristics
Petrol turquoise Deeper teal with blue undertones
Mint turquoise Paler and brighter with touches of lime
Robin’s egg Light and slightly desaturated blue-green
Tiffany Blue Crisp and vibrant blue-green named for Tiffany & Co.

With the turquoise color family spanning such a wide gamut, from the bluish Tiffany Blue to the earthier petrol turquoises, it takes a discerning eye to identify the quintessential shade.

Selecting the Definitive Pantone Turquoise

So how does Pantone pin down the ideal turquoise tone from the vast range of related hues? Pantone underwent a thoughtful selection process in choosing the definitive standard turquoise for their matching system.

In the early 2000s, Pantone experts analyzed fashion trends, cultural moods, and styling cues to determine which shade of turquoise best represented the spirit of the times. They opted for a crisp, clean, vibrant teal that spoke to the modern zeitgeist.

In 2003, Pantone officially selected PMS 3125 C as the representative turquoise. It was added to the Pantone Matching System guides as the reference point for all materials calling for a bright contemporary turquoise.

Pantone 3125 C Turquoise
  • Vibrant mid-tone turquoise
  • Balanced green and blue components
  • Crisp and refreshing
  • Added to Pantone Matching System in 2003

With its memorable green-blue energy, PMS 3125 C emerged as the quintessential turquoise for reflecting the 21st century mood. Other Pantone turquoises now take their cue from this signature shade.

Alternate Pantone Turquoises

Although PMS 3125 C stands as the representative turquoise, Pantone does catalogue other turquoise variations:

  • PMS 320 C: A brighter, slightly yellow-leaning turquoise.
  • PMS 3145 C: A deeper, more tropical turquoise.
  • PMS 3255 C: A bolder cobalt turquoise with amped blue tones.

These coordinating shades provide alternatives to match specific moods, products, or themes. However, PMS 3125 C remains the definitive standard.

Use Cases for Pantone Turquoise

What are some of the use cases where the Pantone turquoise shines?

  • Branding: Turquoise conveys approachability, clarity, and vibrance. It’s an inviting accent color for energy brands.
  • Apparel: Turquoise pops against neutrals in fashion. It reflects natural tones in bohemian and swimwear lines.
  • Events: Thebrightness of turquoise injects fun into parties, galas, and promotions.
  • Products: Turquoise evokes health in packaging for beauty, wellness, and organic foods.

Pantone 3125 C strikes the perfect balance between retro and contemporary for today’s turquoise applications.

Tone vs Tint of Pantone Turquoises

An important distinction when calling out Pantone colors is understanding tone vs. tint:

  • Tone refers to saturation. A color’s tone is how vivid or muted it appears.
  • Tint refers to lightness level. Tint describes how light or dark a color is.

For turquoise, tone is what shifts the teal from brighter or paler to deeper and richer. Tint controls how much black or white is blended in affecting lightness.

Pantone turquoise codes specify both the exact hue (tone) and lightness level (tint) to pinpoint the intended turquoise precisely.

Interpreting the Pantone Turquoise Code

Now that we’ve covered the background of Pantone and turquoise, let’s break down the actual Pantone turquoise color code step-by-step:

PMS 3125 C

  • PMS = Pantone Matching System
  • 3125 = The assigned numbering for this specific turquoise tone
  • C = Stands for “coated” referring to printing on coated stock

The letter suffix indicates coated (C) vs. uncoated (U) paper. Coated stocks yield slightly deeper, richer colors. The number prefix – 3125 in this case – identifies the precise pigment tone.

The essential code to identify the Pantone turquoise shade is thus 3125. The letter simply specifies printing conditions. PMS 3125 C and PMS 3125 U will look nearly identical on screen.

Additional Turquoise Color Codes

A few other color code formats you may see when working with the Pantone turquoise palette:

  • CMYK: Cyan (91%), Magenta (5%), Yellow (37%), Black (1%)
  • RGB: Red (0), Green (170), Blue (191)
  • Hex: #00aaba

CMYK is used for print design, RGB is used for digital design, and Hex codes identify web colors. But the Pantone Matching System code remains the key reference point across all mediums.


Turquoise is a timeless color with an illustrious history. In the vast sea of blue-green hues, Pantone 3125 C stands out as the quintessential turquoise for the 21st century.

This Pantone shade balances rich vibrance with refreshing brightness. It energizes designs across the branding, fashion, events, and product sphere. The Pantone Matching System code allows designers, manufacturers, and printers to recreate this iconic turquoise with accuracy and consistency.

When working with the extensive turquoise family in any creative medium, PMS 3125 C provides the definitive reference point. This brilliant balanced teal encapsulates the essence of modern turquoise in the Pantone spectrum.