Frickin’ Mood Rings, How Do They Work?

by:   |   Feb 3 2014

Like the liquid leggings of their time, mood rings were a 70s trend that infiltrated the minds and closets of every teenage girl. But mood rings had a weird twist: they were all up in your business, emotionally. When you put it on, the ring changed color, and that color allegedly corresponded with your emotional state at the time.

Dare to Wear - Mood Ring

So after you slapped on your mood ring, you checked your finger to see how you were feeling (yes, it seems weird to need dollar-store jewelry to tell you about your own feelings, but let’s move past that). The meanings of the colors went as follows:

  • Dark blue: Happy, romantic or passionate
  • Blue: Calm or relaxed
  • Blue-green: Somewhat relaxed
  • Green: Normal or average
  • Amber: A little nervous or anxious
  • Gray: Very nervous or anxious
  • Black: Stressed, tense or feeling harried


Sure, we could’ve assumed that mood rings were created by the magick gnomes who live in a tree behind Stevie Nicks’ house, and just left it at that. But as a nerd and science enthusiast (SEXXXY), I wanted to know how in the actual-fuck these mood rings work, on a chemical level. It turns out that the answer is simple: crystals. (The answer is always crystals, guys.) According to a reliable source, The Internet, the “stone” of the mood ring is “either a hollow glass shell filled with thermotropic liquid crystals, or a clear glass stone sitting on top of a thin sheet of liquid crystals.” Apparently, the molecules in liquid crystal are very sensitive to temperature changes, and the “change in molecular structure affects the wavelengths of light that are absorbed or reflected by the liquid crystals, resulting in an apparent change in the color of the stone.” It’s a little abstract and I’m not sure I grasp the concept entirely, but yes, I will accept this explanation. I never said I was an actual scientist, just an “enthusiast,” so get off my back about this one.

And that is how mood rings work. If any real-deal geeks want to correct me: in the words of the household objects from Beauty and the Beast, be our guest. Now if anyone can explain Hypercolor T-shirts, we’ll have all of life’s mysteries wrapped up.


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The Co-Founder and Ed-in-Chief of G.A.L.