first 5 samples are free!
first 5 samples are free!

Colors of Zellige: The Origin Story

05 / 01 / 2020



Now known for having a diverse rainbow of color options, zellige tiles weren’t always available in so many vibrant shades. Zellige tiles  originally only existed in their natural, unglazed state. Some people still prefer the stunningly minimalistic look of raw clay, but we’re super grateful for the range of colorful options. It took hundreds of years for Moroccan artisans to introduce zellige in color, and the shades didn’t all appear at once. We think it’s totally fascinating to study the history of zellige tile, and how our 38+ color range came to be.




Timeless Neutrals



The natural color of zellige is a beautiful clay beige. This shade is directly reminiscent of the Moroccan desert where the clay is harvested. The color mimics the fawn-colored North African sand dunes. The organic shade is absolutely perfect if you’re a desert dweller yourself, or you just want to capture the striking simplicity of the hot terrain. We also think they’re an excellent choice if you love to mix and match. Try pairing our natural unglazed tile with Desert Bloom and Terra Rosa to create a neutral blush-toned color scheme.




Cool with Cool Tones



The first colors to be introduced in the world of zellige were blue, green, and yellow. These cool-toned pigments quickly gained popularity among Moorish nobility. In Morocco, you can find amazing azure shades adorning mosques, fountains, and historic courtyards. The blue pigments of today range from the traditional Moroccan blue, to more modern turquoise shades like Tidepool and Tulum. But blue doesn’t have to mean bold, understated designers will love more subtle shades like Skylight and Maya.




Gorgeous Green



Popularized around the same time as blue, shades of green zellige started popping up all over North Africa and Southern Spain around the 14th century. When most people imagine green zellige tiles, they picture a traditional deep, jewel tone. While the classic Jade color is undeniably stunning, flora-inspired shades like Prairie green can also be beautiful. We even offer a trendy Avocado green for those who dare to go bright! Green can complement a super wide variety of interiors, and it’s a truly timeless hue.




Glimmering Gold



Moroccan yellow is anything but mellow. It’s surprising that the vivid yellow glaze came before the iconic Moroccan red, but yellow claimed its spot in history pretty early on. The yellow used around the Mediterranean is warm, golden, and delightfully bright. If you’re looking for something that will brighten up your space, yellow zellige tile is an instant mood booster. We offer a glossy, Cadmium yellow, and it’s clear why customers are obsessed. You can use it as an eye-catching accent piece, or to illuminate an entire area. It’s totally up to you!




Radical Red



One of the last shades to appear, red-dipped zellige made its debut in the 17th century. Red oozes wealth and sophistication, and you can find magnificent maroon details in Moroccan palaces and villas. If you want an authentic appearance, our Rouge zellige fits the bill perfectly. If an exquisitely unapologetic attention grabber is more your vibe, opt for the warm Cayenne red. Maybe you don’t want to fully commit to the reddest of reds. In that case, Burnt Sugar has a hint of red in a classic brown shade.




History for Your Home



No matter which color you end up falling in love with, the options are practically endless. Plus, if you can’t find the exact color you’re looking for, we also offer custom designs and color-matching services! All of our Moroccan zellige tiles are handmade by skilled artisans who are passionate about their craft. Because they are made one at a time by hand, the colors vary slightly per tile. Their differing shades and minor imperfections are what make them so special and distinctly zellige. We love learning about the history of Moroccan zellige tile, and educating ourselves on the origin story of their brilliant colors. Zia Tile is based in Los Angeles, but we ship worldwide. Contact us today to learn more about zellige tile, and how it can fit into your unique space!


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