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What does Brown mean on a mood necklace?

What does Brown mean on a mood necklace?

A mood necklace is a type of jewelry that is designed to indicate the emotional state or mood of the wearer based on color changes. Mood necklaces were very popular fashion accessories in the 1970s and have seen periodic resurgences in popularity since then.

How do mood necklaces work?

Most mood necklaces contain a thermochromic liquid crystal solution sealed inside a clear or tinted pendant. Thermochromic liquid crystals change color based on small fluctuations in temperature. The temperature of the crystals is affected by the temperature of the skin of the person wearing the necklace. As the wearer’s emotions change, so does their skin temperature, and the crystals in the mood necklace change color in response.

Different colors are associated with different moods or emotions. The most common color meanings for mood necklaces are:

  • Black – nervous, stressed, tense
  • Blue – calm, relaxed, peaceful
  • Green – normal, balanced, cheerful
  • Yellow/Orange – excited, thrilled, energetic
  • Red – passionate, aroused, angry
  • Brown – comfortable, mellow, content

So when the crystals in a mood necklace turn brown, it is believed to indicate that the wearer is feeling comfortable, mellow, and content.

What causes the brown color change?

The brown color change in mood necklaces is triggered when the temperature of the thermochromic liquid crystals reaches approximately 88-90°F (31-32°C). Skin temperature averages around 90-93°F (32-34°C), but can vary by a few degrees depending on health, environment, and emotional state.

When a person is feeling relaxed, calm, and free from stress or anxiety, their skin temperature tends to be in the lower end of the average range. The cooler skin temperature causes the mood necklace to turn brown. Specific reasons why brown may indicate a mellow mood include:

  • The person is relaxed and content, causing the necklace to cool to brown.
  • The room temperature is slightly cool, lowering the skin temperature.
  • The person feels a bit sluggish or tired, reducing skin temperature.

In most cases, the brown color signifies a positive mood of stability, comfort, and relaxation. However, it can also indicate feeling down, depressed, or “blue” in some instances.

How accurate are mood necklace colors?

Most research indicates mood rings and necklaces should not be used as a reliable indicator of emotion. Skin temperature is affected by many factors unrelated to mood, so the color changes can be misleading.

That said, some studies have found mood necklaces are slightly better at detecting calm versus stressed states compared to random chance. The biggest variable is the room temperature. If the room is cold, the necklace will turn brown regardless of mood. Overall, mood necklaces are best regarded as a novelty fashion item rather than a scientific mood detector.

History of the mood necklace

Mood necklaces and rings were invented and patented in the 1970s by Joshua Reynolds and Maris Ambats. They started a company called Reynolds Technology Inc. to produce Thermo-Emotion Consecutive Chromatics, later shortened to mood jewelry. Their rings and pendants contained liquid crystals inside quartz stones.

Mood jewelry became immensely popular in the 1970s, with millions of pieces sold. Their popularity waned in subsequent decades, but they continue to have revival cycles as retro fashion comes back into style. Today, mood necklaces and rings are still produced by several companies and sold by many retailers.

Popular culture references

As a pop culture phenomenon in the 1970s, mood necklaces and rings made appearances across media:

  • Music: “Mood Rings” song by Paul Simon, “Love Is Like a Mood Ring” by John Denver
  • TV: Featured on shows like The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family
  • Film: Worn by characters in movies like Grease and The Parent Trap
  • Books: References in Judy Blume’s Forever and other young adult books

Mood jewelry remains a nostalgic symbol of 70s culture and retro fashion. More recently, mood necklaces have been referenced in TV shows like That 70s Show and The Vampire Diaries.

Similar types of jewelry

Some other types of jewelry also use thermochromic technology:

  • Mood rings – Rings with thermochromic liquid crystals, operate on same principle as necklaces.
  • Color change nail polish – Some polishes change color based on temperature.
  • Hair accessories – Barrettes, scrunchies, headbands with color changing beads/stones.
  • Kaleidoscopes – Handheld tubes with liquid crystals that change color patterns.

While mood necklaces are the most recognizable, rings and other accessories also tap into the visual novelty of thermochromism. Clothing items like mood t-shirts have also incorporated heat-sensitive dyes.

Selecting and caring for a mood necklace

If you want to buy a mood necklace, here are some tips:

  • Choose the length based on necklace style preferences.
  • Select a metal type that suits your skin tone and doesn’t cause reactions.
  • Make sure the clasp and chain are sturdy and secure.
  • Look for a smoothly finished pendant with no cracks or leaks.
  • Consider a stylish pendant shape like a heart or butterfly.

To care for your mood necklace:

  • Avoid direct sunlight and heat to prevent color fading.
  • Take it off before swimming, showering, exercising, etc.
  • Store inside a closed jewelry box when not wearing.
  • Gently clean with a soft cloth only.
  • Avoid contact with cosmetics, perfumes, and chemicals.


Mood necklaces use thermochromic liquid crystals to indicate the wearer’s emotions through color changes. When a mood necklace turns brown, it suggests the wearer is feeling relaxed, comfortable, mellow, and content. However, mood necklaces are best regarded as novelty jewelry, as their color changes do not always accurately reflect emotions. With proper care and realistic expectations, mood necklaces can be a fun retro fashion accessory.