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How Mood Rings Work

Updated on February 24, 2011

Science Behind Mood Rings

If you were alive in the 1970s, chances are you had a mood ring or saw one. Mood rings are rings with a stone that changes color, supposedly in response to your emotions. Here's a look at how mood rings work and whether they really can tell how you feel.

1970s Mood Ring (Alkivar)
1970s Mood Ring (Alkivar)

How Mood Rings Work

Colored Liquid Crystals

The stone of a mood ring contains a layer of thermochromic crystals. Basically, these are a special type of liquid crystals that change their color in response to temperature. A mood ring is like a thermometer for your skin.

Typical mood rings consist of a ring setting which holds the mood stone. This stone may be a glass or crystal dome filled with liquid crystal fluid or there may be a glass or plastic coating over a thin film of liquid crystal.

Mood Ring Origins

Two New York inventors created the first mood ring back in 1975. Josh Reynolds and Maris Ambats bonded quartz crystal stones to liquid crystals and set these manufactured stones into rings. Mood rings actually are more affordable now than when they were released! The original silvery (not silver) ring went for $45 while the golden version sold for $250. Now you can pick up a mood ring for a couple of dollars or pay around $100 for a sterling silver premium quality ring.

Mood Ring Metals

Most mood rings are intended for kids, so they may be adjustable rings that may or may not fit adult fingers. Also, most mood rings consist of base metal. This means you'll want to take care if you experience reactions to metals. Some mood rings are made using sterling silver. Check a ring's description. If it doesn't state the metal, assume it is an inexpensive metal, not a precious metal.

A Really Nice Mood Ring

You sort of get what you pay for in a mood ring. The original mood rings were made using quartz (rock crystal) stones. Modern inexpensive rings may use a polymer over the liquid crystal. The metal of a modern stone might turn your finger green or make it itch. However, there are really nice mood rings out there! Seek a mood ring that uses sterling silver or gold over sterling (vermeil). Quartz crystal rings with the rounded stones tend to be more vibrant than the rings with flat bands because they often are filled with the thermochromic liquid crystals.

Mood Ring Colors

The color range for a mood ring is intended to correspond to small temperature changes on the skin. The warmest temperature makes the ring violet while the coolest temperature has a black stone.

  • violet - happy or romantic
  • blue - calm or relaxed
  • green - normal or average
  • yellow - excited or tense
  • brown - nervous
  • black - damaged ring or cold

Mood Ring Meanings

Mood Ring Meanings
Mood Ring Meanings

Not Waterproof!

Mood ring stones are not waterproof! Water can seem into the stone and produce water spots or cause the liquid crystals to become unresponsive. Water damage is irreversible, so remove your mood ring before showering, swimming or doing the dishes!

See a Mood Ring in Action

Do Mood Rings Work?

Do You Think Mood Rings Work?

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Do Mood Rings Tell Your Mood?

Mood rings respond to changes in the temperature of your skin. Your temperature does change in response to your emotion and a calibrated mood ring might be a fairly good indicator of your feelings, but the ring is also susceptible to environmental temperature changes, like cold or warm weather. It's best to rely on other indications of a person's mood than to look at the color of his or her ring!

Did you or do you have a mood ring? Does it change color to reflect your mood? Let me know what you think!

What Do You Think of Mood Rings?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have one now, but it was a cheep ring and the metal makes my finger

      Green. It pretty disgusting it looks as if you had broke your finger.

      Does anyone know where to get a good mood ring??? (stores not online)

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I used to have one when I was a teenager. Never knew how it worked though. My coworker just bought one and it's very cool that you can still find them.

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 6 years ago

      I still own a mood ring. I was not sure what to do with it when I found it hiding in an old jewelry box. Well, I guess I will just hang on to it for old time sake. It's an original. Thanks for sharing this lens.

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I actually just bought one and wore it to work today. My co-workers were fascinated. Blessed by the Fashion Jewelry Neighborhood Squidoo Angel.