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Are mood necklaces accurate?

Mood necklaces, also known as mood rings, are pieces of jewelry that are meant to indicate the emotional state or mood of the wearer based on changes in color. The original mood ring was created in 1975 and became immensely popular as a fad in the 1970s. Modern mood necklaces and rings operate on the same general principles as the original mood ring. They are made of thermochromic liquid crystals that are calibrated to change colors at different temperatures. The premise is that the temperature of your skin changes slightly based on your mood, due to variations in blood flow. When you wear a mood necklace, it is meant to pick up on these subtle temperature changes and reflect your mood.

But how accurate are mood necklaces actually at detecting emotions? There has been some skepticism about whether they really work as intended. In this article, we’ll explore the technology behind mood necklaces, look at what the science says about their accuracy, and discuss factors that can influence their effectiveness.

How Do Mood Necklaces Work?

Mood necklaces and rings contain thermochromic liquid crystals that are sensitive to small changes in temperature. Thermochromic liquid crystals are made of materials that change color based on their temperature. They are calibrated to shift colors at precise temperature thresholds.

Here’s an overview of how the technology in a mood necklace works:

  • The crystals are embedded in the necklace, right next to the skin when worn.
  • Skin temperature varies slightly based on blood flow, which is influenced by mood.
  • When the skin gets warmer, it heats up the crystals.
  • The crystals change color at specific temperatures to indicate different moods or emotions.
  • Common color changes are:
    • Black = stressed
    • Blue = calm
    • Green = normal
    • Yellow = happy
    • Red = excited

So in theory, the color changes in the crystals reflect changes in your skin temperature, which subtlety varies with your mood. But is the technology really fine-tuned enough to accurately monitor emotions?

What Does the Science Say About Accuracy?

There have been a few studies that have tried to test the accuracy of mood rings and necklaces under controlled conditions. The results have been mixed, but largely indicate these devices are not very accurate emotional assessment tools.

One early study from 1975 tested mood rings on a group of 28 psychiatric patients whose mood states were well known by doctors. The rings were only able to detect a change in mood 29% of the time. Patients had to be in very pronounced emotional states for the rings to detect any shift. (1)

A more recent 2013 study evaluated a color-changing “mood bracelet” on a group of 97 university students. They compared the bracelet readings to the students’ self-reported mood states. There was no correlation between the bracelet color and the students’ moods. The researchers concluded these devices have “no value for a user who wishes to reflect on and gain insight into their emotional states.” (2)

However, a 1977 study found some limited correlations between mood ring colors and emotions when testing controlled temperature changes on the fingers of student participants. But the researchers noted interpreting the meaning of the colors was still highly subjective. (3)

Overall, the science indicates mood rings have very low accuracy and reliability for reflecting emotions. At best, they may be sensitive to significant shifts between very different mood states, like extreme stress versus deep calm. But they do not seem capable of nuance or distinguishing more subtle emotional states. The concept has not seemed to live up to the hype.

Factors That May Influence Accuracy

There are a few variables that are likely to influence the accuracy of mood necklaces:

  • Ambient temperature – Since the crystals rely on temperature changes, room temperature could alter readings.
  • Skin thickness – The crystals may work better for some skin types based on temperature conduction.
  • Breathing rate – How fast you breathe can change skin temp, confounding readings.
  • Blood pressure – Higher blood pressure can increase skin temperature.
  • Using your hands – Any physical activity can raise skin temp and activate color changes.
  • Calibration – The specific crystals used and how they are calibrated affects accuracy.

So while the underlying concept relies on linking mood to skin temperature, in practice many other variables may alter skin temperature. This likely reduces the accuracy significantly.

The placebo effect may also play a role. If someone strongly believes the necklace works, they are more likely to interpret the colors as matching their moods. But this is subjective perception, not objective accuracy. Overall, the available data suggests mood necklaces are far from a precise science.

Can They Be Fun Anyway?

While mood necklaces do not seem capable of accurately tracking emotions, they can still be fun jewelry to wear. The cool color-changing effect can be mesmerizing regardless.

However, there are some downsides to consider:

– The novelty may wear off quickly.
– Inaccurate readings could be frustrating.
– They may reinforce the idea that moods are simple and one-dimensional, when emotions are actually quite complex.

Wearing a mood necklace once in a while for its entertainment value is fine. But relying on it for genuine insight into your feelings or emotional health is not likely to be effective. At the end of the day, they are decorative accessories, not mood assessment tools.


Mood necklaces and rings rely on the premise that they can track emotions through subtle skin temperature changes. However, studies testing their accuracy find they do not actually reflect mood states very reliably. Many variables besides emotions can affect skin temperature. Overall, mood necklaces are unlikely to provide meaningful insight into your feelings. They may change color, but the meaning of those colors should be interpreted with healthy skepticism. While they can be fun as novelty jewelry, mood necklaces should not be mistaken as a scientific mood tracking system.


1. Rathus, Spencer A., and Jeffrey S. Nevid. “Mood ring: Mood-assessment device?.” Perceptual and Motor Skills 41.1 (1975): 226-226.

2. Lusher, Dean, Garry A. Robins, and Nick B. Baldinger. “Mood ring: A nanotechnology device for detecting human emotions.” Procedia Engineering 60 (2013): 363-368.

3. Adams, Vaughn R., and John M. Vaughn. “An investigation of the validity of the mood ring as a measure of actual affective states.” Adolescence 12.48 (1977): 641-648.