Four exciting recent breakthroughs have today inspired this renewal of the activities of the Foundation:
- a Discovery of the main dyestuff of the tekhelet dye.The main ingredient in the tekhelet dye is 6-monobromo-indigotin (MBI), with small quantities of two other dyestuffs, known already in the past: 6,6′-dibromo-indigotin (DBI) and indigotin. The MBI is formed as a violet substance that changes to blue when slightly heated.
- b The thousand year old mystery of the method of dyeing the tekhelet was recently solved by British dyeing scholar Edmonds and painter Boesken-Kanold.A unique bacterial fermentation process occurs, which lasts a week and spontaneously produces the dye-bath vat of tekhelet. This natural process is already used today in painting and artwork.
- c A correlation was found between the different colours obtained from various specimens of the snail and the size (age) of the shell.Various hues of blue are obtained from younger snails, and purple from older ones.
- d Whole snail shells of banded dye-murex have been found in the homes of the High Priests in Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple.This finding shows that the shells were kept in a private collection, considered to be valuable items. It is possible that these were symbols of venerated artifacts made from the shells.
This applies not only to the tekhelet! The operculum of this mollusk was used to prepare onycha, which was an ingredient of the biblical incense (Exodus, 30:34).