Skip to Content

Do mood rings expire?

Do mood rings expire?

Mood rings were a popular novelty item in the 1970s that claimed to reveal a person’s mood or emotional state by changing colors when worn. Mood rings are made of thermosensitive liquid crystals inside a quartz glass shell. The heat from your finger causes the crystals to change color based on subtle variations in your body temperature. But do mood rings have an expiration date? Do the liquid crystals eventually degrade and lose their color changing abilities? Let’s take a closer look at how mood rings work and the factors that impact their lifespan.

How Mood Rings Work

Mood rings contain thermochromic liquid crystals embedded in the quartz glass. Thermochromic liquid crystals change color based on small changes in temperature. Each crystal is calibrated to display a specific color within a narrow temperature range of about 1°F. So when the crystals are warmed by your body heat, they change to different colors indicating shifts in your emotions and moods.

The typical mood ring contains crystals calibrated to the following color scale:

Color Temperature Mood
Black Below 82°F Too cold to measure mood
Blue 82-84°F Calm, relaxed
Green 84-88°F Normal, neutral
Amber 88-92°F Nervous, stressed
Brown 92-96°F Excited, passionate

So as your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day, the crystals change color to indicate changes in your mood. When worn on the finger, the ring quickly responds to shifts in stress, excitement, anxiety and other emotional states.

Do Mood Rings Expire?

Mood rings do not technically “expire” in the sense of having a set shelf life or expiration date like food products. However, there are several factors that can degrade the performance and color changing abilities of mood rings over time:

– Drying out – The liquid crystals need to stay moist to maintain their color pigments and temperature sensitivity. If the ring dries out, the crystals can lose their ability to change color.

– Leaking – Tiny cracks or flaws in the quartz glass can allow the liquid to slowly leak out, depleting the supply of crystals.

– Overheating – Exposing the ring to excessively high temperatures outside its working range can potentially damage the thermochromic crystals.

– Sun exposure – Prolonged exposure to UV rays from sunlight can cause the chemicals in the crystals to break down more quickly.

– Contamination – Dust, dirt, oils from skin can contaminate the liquid and interfere with the crystallization process.

So while mood rings don’t have a defined expiration date, their color changing lifespan depends on how well the thermochromic liquid inside is maintained and protected from degradation factors. With proper care and minimal exposure to extremes of temperature, sunlight, and contamination, a high quality mood ring could potentially last for 5-10 years or longer. Lower quality rings may only last 1-3 years before losing color sensitivity.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Mood Rings

Here are some tips for keeping your mood ring in good working condition for as long as possible:

– Avoid extreme temperatures – Don’t leave the ring in hot cars or freezing temperatures for extended periods, which can damage the heat-sensitive crystals. Take the ring off before bathing or hot tubbing.

– Minimize sun exposure – UV rays can accelerate deterioration of the chemicals that cause color changing. Wear the ring minimally during prolonged sun exposure.

– Remove during physical activities – Take the ring off before swimming, exercising, gardening, or other activities that could expose it to contamination or extreme temperatures.

– Clean periodically – Gently clean the ring every few months using a soft toothbrush and mild soap and water to remove skin oils, lotions, dirt, etc. Avoid harsh chemicals.

– Store properly – Keep the ring in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not wearing for extended periods. Place it in a sealed container to minimize dust and humidity.

– Handle carefully – Avoid drops, dings, or other impacts that could crack the quartz glass and damage the thermosensitive interior.

– Hydrate crystals – If the ring seems to be losing color sensitivity, try soaking it in room temperature purified water overnight to rehydrate dried out crystals.

With proper care and maintenance, a high quality mood ring should retain its color changing abilities for years past any perceived expiration date. But inevitably the liquid crystals will eventually degrade to the point where color shifts are no longer visible. When this happens, the only option is to replace the ring.

Signs Your Mood Ring Has Expired

How can you tell when your mood ring has reached the end of its lifespan? Here are some signs the color changing crystals are no longer working:

– No color change – The ring stays one consistent color no matter the temperature changes.

– Dark or muddy – The colors appear dark, dingy or muddy rather than crisp and vivid.

– Limited color range – Only shifts between a couple colors rather than the full spectrum.

– Slow response – The color change lags behind temperature changes.

– Foggy or cloudy – A foggy, opaque appearance instead of clear, transparent crystals.

– Cracked ring – Visible cracks or flaws allow the liquid to leak out.

– Dry crystals – Interior looks dried out with crusty deposits and film.

– Discoloration – Base color has shifted outside the normal mood color scale.

While you may be able to temporarily revive an expired mood ring by rehydrating the crystals, once it stops responding to temperature changes the damage is likely permanent. At that point it’s time to retire the mood ring and replace it with a new one if you want to enjoy the color changing experience again.

Finding Replacement Mood Rings

Mood rings had their heyday in the 1970s but remain popular today as retro novelty items. Here are some places to find replacement mood rings:

– Specialty gift shops – Many carry novelty items like mood rings.

– New age and magic stores – Mood rings are popular for psychic and fortune telling themes.

– Online marketplaces – eBay, Etsy, Amazon offer both vintage and new mood rings.

– Catalogs and TV shopping – Retailers like SkyMall, Hammacher Schlemmer, QVC sell mood rings.

– Jewelry stores – Some fashion jewelry stores carry mood rings as accents.

– Thermal accessory companies – Specialty brands creating thermal rings, mugs, etc.

When shopping for a replacement, look for rings made with quality quartz glass and liquid crystals, which tend to have better longevity than cheaper plastic versions. Go for trusted brands and read reviews to ensure you get an authentic mood ring that provides years of amusing color changes to come.


While mood rings don’t technically have an expiration date, over time the liquid crystals can degrade leading to faded, inaccurate color changes. With proper care and maintenance though, a quality mood ring should keep its color shifting abilities going strong for upwards of 5-10 years. Check for signs of cracked glass, dried out crystals, limited color range, or slow response time to determine when your mood ring has reached the end of its lifespan. When it stops changing color, the only option is to replace it. But a new mood ring will once again let you amuse yourself with the mesmerizing shifts reflecting your emotional states throughout the day.