Color-Changing Mood Ring

As Confucius once said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” While there were many products in the 1990s that promised individual enlightenment, none were as convenient or cute as the color-changing mood ring. Marketed as a way to put us in touch with our emotional selves, mood rings revealed our inner emotional state via a color-changing stone in a ring setting. Created by New York inventors Josh Reynolds and Maris Ambats in 1975, the original mood ring retailed for $45. In the 1990s, mood rings went through a bit of a revival, and cheaper materials and fabrications made them easier to mass-produce. 

Mood ring stones were traditionally round or oval and set in a silver-colored ring setting. The actual stone contained thermochromic liquid crystals, which would change colors based on the temperature of the person wearing them. An accompanying chart would help the wearer determine the meaning associated with the color of their ring. Amber was correlated with feelings of nervousness and feeling unsettled. At the same time, green and blue were the baseline colors for calm and relaxed. A violet-colored ring meant that you were passionate, very happy or excited, and grey and black indicated anxiety or unhappiness. A black ring could also suggest that your ring was broken. 

The original idea for the ring was based partially on science. Changes in internal body temperature can be associated with a range of different emotions. As the ring color responded to the warmth of the wearer, it theoretically could be aligned with the corresponding emotional temperature. However, creators did not control for external temperatures, and, in general, jewelry is a poor indicator of the complexities of the human heart.

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