Robert Gamblin organized Gamblin's palette into Mineral and Modern color groupings to help artists easily choose a palette of colors that best match their artistic intent. Gamblin's colors are also grouped by eras of pigment history: Classical, Impressionist, and 20th Century. Throughout the history of art, paintings have always been a reflection of the materials that were available to artists.
Mineral colors are made from inorganic pigments, that is, metal ores dug from the earth. During the Industrial Revolution, a whole new array of inorganic pigments was developed from compounds of minerals, such as cobalt, cadmium, and manganese. Their intense mass tones complemented eath colors on painter's palettes and replaced paints made from expensive semi-precious stones, fugitive colors, or highly toxic compounds. This full spectrum of pigments, packaged for the first time as oil colors in tubes, expressed the Impressionists' interest in pure color.
Mineral colors grey down when mixed with white, which is perfect for capturing the colors of the natural world. Mineral-based pigments have larger pigment sizes and lower tinting strengths than modern colors. They are leaner and naturally more matte. Mineral colors are mostly opaque. Mineral colors have a Lightfastness rating of Excellent (I).