Where is the purple?

Before a young chemist named Henry Perkin accidentally produced synthetic purple aniline dye in the mid-1850s, purple was among the most coveted colors in the world. Purple occurs infrequently in nature, and in Roman times, Tyrian purple dye (made from a fluid extracted from two species of Murex shellfish) was more expensive than gold; just one ounce of the precious dye required the deaths of around 250,000 shellfish. By the late eighteenth century, chemists began experimenting with extracts based on coal tar, a by-product of coal gas used as a fuel for gas lighting. After Henry Perkin discovered a deep, colorfast purple dye while attempting to synthesize the antimalarial drug quinine from aniline, the desire for purple textiles drove a “mauve mania” that lasted through the 1860s.