The color purple has been associated with royalty, power and wealth for centuries because only aristocrats could afford the expensive pigment. In fact, Queen Elizabeth I forbad anyone except close members of the royal family to wear it. Purple’s elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it.
The dye initially used to make purple came from the Phoenician trading city of Tyre, which is now in modern-day Lebanon. Fabric traders obtained the dye from a small mollusk that was only found in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea.
During Roman times, it took 4 million crushed mollusk shells to create one pound of purple pigment.