Cobalt is a transition metal that sits next to iron in the periodic table, and shares with it many chemical properties. Although in its pure form it is a typical grey metal, cobalt is most commonly known for the beautiful deep blue pigments that it is used to create. These pigments can be used in applications such as paints, inks, and glasswork. Cobalt metal is also useful as a catalyst for chemical reactions and as a component of strong alloys. In biology, it is a vital trace element, especially for grazing animals.