Have you ever wondered what the mood ring colors mean? Mood rings are pieces of jewelry that are supposed to change colors depending on your emotions. So can these rings really read a person’s emotions? In this article, you’ll find out the history of mood rings, how they work, cleaning tips, and their meaning.
It was Marvin Wernick, a jewelry designer, who invented the mood rings back in the ‘70s. But, Joshua Reynolds was the one who made them popular. He supposedly made millions out of the rings, but his company eventually went bankrupt because the market was flooded with imitations.
As the story goes, Marvin picked up the idea from his friend, who’s a doctor. This friend placed a thermotropic tape on his patients forehead in order to get their temperature. He got curious, so he started experimenting by filling a hollow glass shell with thermotropic liquid crystals and set it into a ring. The ring colors were supposed to reflect the wearer’s mood.
Nowadays, companies use mood stones or liquid crystals on many things, such as toilet seats (to let you know if they’re warm), lamps, necklaces, earrings, medical devices, coffee cups, phones, etc.
How Mood Rings Work
Mood rings are “wearable” thermometers. Why? That’s because the thermotropic liquid crystals in the band or stone react to the changes in the skin temperature of the wearer, causing the ring to reflect different colors, just like what fish tank thermometers and forehead thermometer strips do.
In mood rings, the liquid crystals are usually set to show a neutral color, specifically black, at the average human skin temperature 98.6°F (37°C). When there are changes in your skin temperature, they respond by twisting or changing position. This causes them to absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light, which changes the stone or band’s color.
For instance, when your temperature goes above the normal range, the liquid crystals change to different colors of the rainbow. However, as your temperature starts to decrease towards the average 98.6°F (37°C), or if you take off your mood ring, the color starts to change to black.
Different Mood Ring Colors And Their Meaning
Since most people consider mood rings as novelty items nowadays, manufacturers have the freedom to assign whatever color for an emotion. Sometimes, they just match common emotions to colors that look appealing.
Here are the commonly accepted meanings of mood ring colors:
This is the default color of a mood ring when a person is not wearing it. Sometimes, however, a mood ring remains black even when a person is wearing it due to different reasons, like stress, nervousness, or being afraid.
When a mood ring is brown, it usually means you’re scared, agitated, and daydreaming. If it’s light brown, it’s a sign you’re puzzled, annoyed, harrassed, or anxious. A brownish yellow mood ring indicates mixed emotions.
If the ring becomes white, it could mean you’re bored, confused, or upset.
A mood ring turns this color if you’re scared, gloomy, tired, or restless.
This is supposed to mean that you’re happy, optimistic, and at peace. When it’s bluish green, it means a little relaxed. Other shades of blue can mean you’re passionate, feeling romantic, thinking deep thoughts, or feeling flirtatious.
The usual type of green indicates feelings of calmness and peacefulness. You may be feeling worried, agitated, upset, optimistic, or annoyed if the moon ring stone turns olive green. Light green indicates alertness, jealousy, cautiousness, and restlessness. And, if it becomes dark green, it could indicate you’re paying attention and curious.
A dark purple mood ring means you’re feeling sensual, passionate, and loving. But if it’s purplish red, you might be grumpy, angry, or anxious. Once your mood ring turns pink, it says you’re relaxed, happy, and loving.
Red could also come in many shades. In most cases, this color means you’re passionate, excited, energetic, and feeling daring as of the moment. A darker shade of red shows anger, arousal, fear, and love.
A bright shade of yellow could indicate a range of emotions, including being poetic and watchfulness. A yellow-orange shade could mean confusion, nervousness, or anxiety.
If you’re nervous, stressed out, upset, annoyed, confused, aggressive, and feeling brave, the mood ring you’re wearing would go through the different shades of orange.
Yellowish-brown or amber
A mood ring that reflects this color indicates nervousness.
Do Mood Rings Really Tell How You Feel?
They don’t respond to your emotions. They respond to your skin temperature. Throughout your day, your body temperature tends to fluctuate by 1°F due to a number of factors. For instance, when you’re doing any strenuous activity, your body temperature tends to increase within the normal range. But if you’re resting, your body temperature drops a little.
But if you think about it, there’s also a specific connection between your body surface temperature and emotions. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences suggests this. Researchers say our emotions can influence our bodies. 
In the study, researchers showed 701 participants pictures of body silhouettes, movies, short stories, facial expressions, or words in order to trigger different emotions. Then, they asked the participants to color specific parts of the body where they felt a growing or declining activity while they were inspecting each material.
Results showed that most common emotions produce strong body sensations. For instance, when you feel love, your whole body becomes warm.
These body changes during certain situations generally happen without thinking on our part. We experience them to help our brain pinpoint the emotions we’re having.
If you’re angry, for instance, your body reacts by activating its “fight-or-flight” response, causing the release of your stress hormones to keep you safe from harm. Common body changes that happen during this time are sweating, increased body temperature due to constriction of blood vessel (hollow tubes that carry blood all over the body), and increased breathing, blood pressure, and heartbeat.
If you’re scared, nervous, or excited, your “fight-or-flight” response causes you to sweat and feel cold because of the restricted blood flow to the skin. This slight drop in your body temperature causes the liquid crystals in your mood ring to change position in the opposite direction and reflect a different light wavelength or color.
These fluctuations in your body temperature—approximately 1°F below or above the average normal temperature—aren’t harmful and are normal. However, dramatic fluctuations in body temperature are not. Make sure to speak with your doctor to determine the exact reason.
How to Care For Your Mood Rings
Mood rings are not meant to be as durable as fine jewelry, so don’t expect them to last that long. If you take care of them properly, some of them could last for around 5 to 6 years. Some of the common reasons that damage a mood ring are the following:
- Water damage: Mood rings are highly susceptible to water damage. When a mood ring becomes wet or immersed in water, the adhesive materials that attach the stone to the ring could become loose. It’s also one reason the stone stops changing colors because the water seeping into the stone damages the liquid crystals.
- Exposure to extreme heat: Placing your mood ring in hot spots, like near a south-facing window or a car dashboard, could damage its stone containing the liquid crystals.
- Resizing: Majority of local jewelers will not attempt to resize mood rings because they use heat for this job. Since the liquid crystals in mood rings are sensitive to heat, it could potentially cause damage.
Mood rings may not last for decades, but there are definitely some things you could do to make them last long enough for you to see your money’s worth. Here are a few general care tips for mood rings:
Don’t get your mood ring wet. As I previously pointed out, it could damage both the color-changing properties of the liquid crystals and the adhesive materials of the ring. Remove it from your finger and store it at room temperature everytime you expect your hands to be wet, like when washing the dishes, swimming, and taking a bath.
Avoid extreme weathers. For instance, the extreme cold could make your mood ring unresponsive and potentially damage the ring for good.
Avoid applying hand lotion, especially when wearing a rhodium-plated mood ring. This will promote plating wearing. And if you have to clean it, avoid using soap and water because it will affect the quality of its luster.
Do you perspire a lot? A stainless steel mood ring is perfect for you. It’s stronger and will not cause green discoloration on your finger. To clean your stainless steel mood ring, you can dip a soft, lint-free cloth in warm water with mild dishwashing liquid. Rub it gently alongside its brush lines, and then use a damp cloth to wipe off the remaining soap. Leave it to air dry.
Since soaking costume mood rings in water and cleaning solutions for prolonged periods will cause damage, use a jewelry cloth instead. You don’t usually need to dip it in water just to clean your costume mood ring.
For sterling silver mood rings, you can prevent discoloration by wearing them frequently. The reason behind this is your skin’s natural oils will keep the ring looking glossy.
Also, store each sterling silver mood ring in a separate airtight container with anti-tarnish paper strips to prevent scraping and tarnish.
And instead of a commercial silver polish, which is poisonous when you inhale it, make one at home by combining baking soda and water to make a paste. Use a soft cloth and rub in circles to avoid scratching the silver.
But, what if your mood ring stops changing colors?
Honestly, there are no foolproof ways to fix damaged mood rings. If you think about it, it’s better to buy a new one because mood rings are generally affordable. However, if you still want to try to fix an unresponsive mood ring, you can do the following:
Wrap it in a soft cloth or paper towel to avoid formation of moisture. Freeze it for up to 2 minutes, and then remove your mood ring from the freezer. Allow it to warm up at room temperature. Try wearing it to see if it works. If it doesn’t, it might be time to buy a new one.
Today, there’s a new generation of “smart mood rings” that may be more accurate in reading a person’s emotions than the classic mood rings. One example is the Moodmetric ring. 
The makers of the Moodmetric ring claim it’s the smallest emotion-tracking ring with a biometric sensor. A biometric sensor is a device that changes a person’s biometric treat (e.g. face and fingerprint) into an electrical signal. It reads different kinds of energies, including temperature, electrical output, speed, and pressure.
It works by tracking the activity of your autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for controlling your automatic body functions (e.g breathing, heartbeat, and digestion), by evaluating the changes in your skin. These skin reactions reveal your emotional state, which the ring transmits through a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone app.
The makers of Moodmetric ring say it will help you keep track of your emotions throughout the day. By knowing what you feel, you would become more in tune with yourself.
Well, whether mood rings tell your exact moods or not, it wouldn’t hurt to try them. They’re fun to wear, fashionable, inexpensive, and easy to find. You can usually buy them at online shops, like Amazon.com, Etsy, and eBay. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, there are many online tutorials on how to make mood rings at home.
What do you think? Do you agree with the meaning of all the mood ring colors? If you have tips for caring or fixing mood rings, feel free to share them.