A mood ring is a ring that contains a thermochromic element, such as liquid crystal, that changes colors based upon the temperature of the finger of the wearer. Most new rings come with a color chart indicating the supposed mood of the wearer based upon the colors indicated on the ring.
The mood ring was created in 1975 by two New York inventors, Josh Reynolds and Maris Ambats, who bonded liquid crystals with quartz stones set into rings. They initially retailed for $45 for a "silvery setting" and $250 for gold, and first sold at Bonwit Teller, rapidly becoming a fad in the 1970s.
A mood ring is a specialized liquid crystal thermometer, wearable on the finger. The ring is typically ornamented with a faux gemstone (usually made of quartz or glass) which is either a clear capsule filled with thermochromic liquid crystal, or has a thin sheet of liquid crystal sealed underneath. Changes in temperature cause the crystal to reflect different wavelengths of light which changes the color of the stone. The liquid crystal used in mood rings is usually set up to display a "neutral" color at the average human skin temperature, which is approximately 37 °C.
In popular culture
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Mood rings were a short-lived fad of the mid-1970s (like the Pet Rock) and were especially popular with young girls. In a 1976 Peanuts comic strip, Peppermint Patty gets so angry at Charlie Brown that her mood ring explodes.
In the 1991 movie My Girl (whose plot passes in the summer of 1972), the protagonist Vada Sultenfuss does own a mood ring.
- Mood Ring Monitors Your State of Mind," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 8, 1975, at C1; "Ring Buyers Warm Up to Quartz Jewelry That Is Said to Reflect Their Emotions", The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14, 1975, at p. 16; and "A Ring Around the Mood Market", The Washington Post, Nov. 24, 1975, at B9
- Chicago Tribune, Oct. 8, 1975
- Wall Street Journal, Oct 14, 1975; Washington Post, Nov. 24, 1975
- Temperature of a Healthy Human (Skin Temperature)