Maris Ambats and Josh Reynolds of New York created the first mood ring in 1975. These rings change colour in response to temperature, perhaps indicating changes in the wearer’s body temperature caused by emotions. Despite their expensive price, the rings were an immediate hit. A silver-colored (plated, not genuine silver) ring retailed for $45, while a gold ring cost $250.

People were captivated by the colours produced by the thermochromic liquid crystals, regardless of whether the rings were accurate. Although the composition of mood rings has altered since the 1970s, mood rings (as well as necklaces and bracelets) are still manufactured today.

How Mood Rings Work

A mood ring contains liquid crystals that change colour in response to slight temperature changes. The volume of blood that enters your skin is affected by both temperature and mood, so the operation of a mood ring has some scientific validity. When you are stressed, for example, your body directs blood toward your internal organs, with less blood reaching your fingers. The colder temperature of your fingers will register as a grey or amber tint on the mood ring. When you are thrilled, more blood travels to your extremities, causing your fingers to become hotter. This causes the mood ring’s colour to shift toward the blue or violet end of its colour spectrum.

Why the Colors Aren’t Accurate

A variety of thermochromic pigments are used in modern mood rings. While many of the rings are programmed to have a nice green or blue hue at typical peripheral body temperature, some pigments function at a different temperature range. While one mood ring may be blue at normal (calm) body temperature, another ring made of a different material may be red, yellow, purple, and so on.

Some current thermochromic pigments repeat or cycle between hues, so if a ring is violet, a rise in temperature may cause it to change to brown (for example). Other pigments are only capable of displaying two or three hues. Leuco dyes, for example, have three states: colourless, coloured, and intermediate.

Color Depends on Temperature

Because the colour of mood jewellery is affected by temperature, it will provide varied readings depending on where you wear it. A mood ring may show a hue from its chilly spectrum, yet the same stone may develop a warmer colour when worn as a necklace against the skin. Did the wearer’s mood shift? No, it’s only that my chest is hotter than my fingers!

Old mood rings were known for being prone to irreparable harm. The pigments would react with the water and lose their capacity to change colour if the ring became wet or simply exposed to high humidity. The ring would darken. Water still affects modern mood jewellery, which may become permanently brown or black when wet. To protect the “stones” used for beads, they are typically coated with a polymer. The beads are unique in that a single bead can display an entire rainbow of colours, with the warmest colour facing the skin and the coolest colour (black or brown) facing away from the body. Because multiple colours can be seen on a single bead, the colours cannot be used to predict the wearer’s mood.

The most common color for a mood ring to turn is between green and blue.

Black

Fear, Nothing, Angst, Serious, Overworked, Stormy, Depressed, Intense

Yellow

Anxious, Cool, Cautious, Distracted, Mellow, So-So

Orange

Stressed, Nervous, Mixed, Confused, Upset, Challenged, Indignant

Green-Peridot

Mixed Emotions, Restless, Irritated, Distressed, Worried, Hopeful

Green-Light Green

Normal, Alert, No Great Stress, Sensitive, Jealous, Envious, Guarded

Blue-Green

Upbeat, Pleased, Somewhat Relaxed, Motivated, Flirtatious

Blue

Normal, Optimistic, Accepting, Calm, Peaceful, Pleasant

Indigo-Darker Blue

Deeply Relaxed, Happy, Lovestruck, Bliss, Giving

Violet-Burgandy

Love, Romance, Amorous, Heat, Mischievous, Moody, Dreamer, Sensual

Pink

Very Happy, Warm, Affectionate, Loving, Infatuated, Curious

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