Differences between Turquoise, Teal and Aqua

I am so happy to see that I am not the only one who has problems with the difference between these colours. Teal is not so much a problem for me but I have always thought of Aqua and Turquoise as synonyms. Many things are incorrectly named as well – the Filofax Aqua Malden was more jade than aqua I think (well at least my ones are)

Anyone else have any input or opinions on the suggestions below?







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The last one comes from this wonderful article with a discussion and gorgeous photographs

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

56 thoughts

    1. That’s because is a spectrum of teal. One side leans toward and the other side leans toward blue.

    2. It is confusing for sure. I have been looking for the blueish color labeled aqua on the chart above where the paint mixture formulas are listed. Any idea how to get that color?

    3. Hi Janet! I always thought of teal as a blueish color…🥴 and heard so that aqua is rather a greenish color…now am way too much confused🤣

  1. What technical color is Ivy League?
    To me it is a deep turquoise but someone else says it is definitely gray …. the color app says it is dark gray then later says light grey. I guess it depends on the sun (or lack of) that shines on the wall.

  2. Thank you! Even google has teal and turquoise mixed up. Teal is supposed to be the dark one. They’re my favorite colors and it bugs me. Good job!

    1. But what do you mean by Google has got them wrong/mixed up? Where did you find their definitions of each colour?

  3. O,o This article just pulled up what we find on google when we search for these colors… It doesn’t actually explain the differences at all, only that everyone is just as confused about this subject, and everyone makes up their own interpretation of what it is… Not really helpful lol But… I guess it’s a reflection of what’s going on. Good job

  4. Thanks so much! I have really been struggling with this; I would like to redo a bedroom with one of those colors plus red

  5. I am quite late to this discussion, but maybe this will help: in the world of color, there are ‘blends’, which are composed of primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and secondary colors (orange, green, purple) being blended with either white or black. In this case, turquoise is the first blend, being composed of green and blue. But then you get aqua by blending turquoise with white (considered a tint), and you get teal by blending turquoise with black (considered a shade). The degree of difference in the shade or tint depends on the initial composition of colors to create the blend. In other words, aqua, turquoise and teal can vary greatly in color and intensity because of the ratio of blue and green used to achieve the first color. Hope that helps.

    1. I was just thinking of this a couple of days ago. Thank you for your input much appreciated. Teal does vary in shade. Teal is also my favorite color also as someone said earlier. Actually from sea foam to bluish green.

  6. I’m struggling with this exact problem in planning my wedding. I wanted turquoise and white. Based on the “shades of cyan” chart above my bridesmaid dresses are Robins Egg, tablecloths are aqua, groomsmen’s ties are aquamarine, and my bouquet is turquoise all because different people in the wedding party have a different view of what turquoise is. Its turning into a giant mess!

  7. thank you for the help. I have a friend who loves TEAL, and I’d like to make her a quilt with it, but not sure exactly what it was.

      1. Be sure that she knows the difference between the 3 colors. She may think it’s one of the lighter colors.

  8. Thank you for the fun and inquisitive post. I just shared it with my 4 year old because she was also convinced that turquoise and aqua, but also seafoam green, were all the same color.

  9. Great article, Janet. I’m not sure the color conundrum will ever be resolved though. I have always thought there were two teals. Teal green and teal blue. And then, there’s my favorite…peacock blue. Oy! 🤦‍♂️ Nightmare at the paint store 😂😂😂

    1. I’m exactly the same, there are each a teal green and a teal blue. Peacock is my favorite, too. (I think there’s a peacock blue and a peacock green, too, just like the feathers on the bird.)
      I do think I have confused aqua and turquoise from looking at the colors shown as the examples. Supposedly, turquoise is equal amounts of blue and green. I always thought aqua was just lighter, but it appears aqua has more of a blue (Caribbean Sea) cast.

  10. And yet the colour of the turquoise gemstone has quite a broad spectrum! Some could fit into the aqua or teal categories above, depending on where they are mined. (And I am not referring to the dyed ones)

  11. And I thought I had finally made it, classifying all the blue-ish inks for my fountain pens…………….now I am irritated…………😉!

  12. I am really good in colors,so,the answer is turquoise has a hint of green:)Teal is just plain dark blue,but if you look closely…there is a bit of green!Aqua on the other hand is the color of Marine if you observe this…fish react to Aqua!!this is because fish believe Aqua is thei home it’s a sighn to show them where they live:)))Hope you listen to my answers:-) Thanks,Haana Maghami

  13. Forest green seems to be missing. It is green, mixed with black. A very dark green with black making it cool on the spectrum. Petrol is a mix of green, blue and a little bit of black pigment. Cool undertones and intensive pigmentation.

    1. So true! My car is forest green; yet, so many people (mechanics, auto dealers, etc.) refer to it as “black”. It is only after I say “forest green” and they observe more closely that they acknowledge it is dark green.

  14. This brought back memories of my wedding, 32+ years ago.. I chose aqua for my bridal attendants. One of them insisted the colors I chose were turquoise. Finally it ended when I said it’s MY wedding, either be in it, or don’t. If you are in it, the dresses are aqua.
    Awww, the folly of youth…😉

      1. Ah friends, isn’t color wonderful?!. And don’t we humans sometimes just confuse the whole issue with our labels? And to think there are some people who probably get paid pretty big bucks for coming up with new Crayola names. I used to wish I had that job. But of course there are reasons for all this. That is not, however, my reason, for adding to this conversation. Color depends entirely on light and atmosphere at the particular moment one is looking at something. And I think it is fairly safe to say, it is never going to appear exactly the same to different individuals. I found this site when I happened on a piece of jewelry made of “aqua turquoise”. In the photo it looked cornflower blue or maybe lapis, but my eye didn’t see a touch of green to call for that labeling. So then I looked to see if there maybe was such a stone ( didn’t think so, but you never know). And I wound up here. So finally – and of course we all know this – computer monitors can change the true color of an object or scene – as can the cameras used to take the photos – depending on the Ah Lighting.
        Oh brother, forgive me for lecturing. Bet it’s not hard to guess I was an art teacher and I ‘m sure everybody knows all this information which I so randomly spouted. But I do love color.

    1. We got married 28 years ago and I chose teal and ivory for my colors. But we ended up eloping so my MIL was nice enough to organize a reception for us when we returned from our honeymoon. We ended up with an entire spectrum of teal, turquoise, king fisher, aqua….etc. At the time I was unhappy with that, but now I think it was more attractive.

      I have a friend who makes natural fiber yarn commercially and she keeps me supplied with all her experimental colors in this family. Apparently this color family is at the top of the list of most difficult to match, the most likely to fade and general instability. I’m glad I’ve learned to appreciate the whole color family.

  15. Can I just say that the new Filofax Original drives me crazy being called “dark aqua” when it is clearly teal? Ah, thanks. Had to get that out there. 😉

      1. Doesn’t make much sense, aqua meaning ‘water’ – should be the other way round, perhaps. (Or as for turquoise, I’ve always thought it right in the middle between blue & green – that is such a lighter shade of teal…)

    1. I thought petrol was oil – petroleum. I’ve actually never heard it as a color name. Teach me something, folks.

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