Color Psychology of Gemstones: Rhodochrosite, Rubellite, and Other Pink Gems
We’ve been looking at different colors–and by extension, colored gemstones–and the effect they have on our minds and emotions. There is almost no color that gets as strong a reaction as pink.
ABOVE: For beautiful pink gemstones, you can do no better than a fine rubellite. This 8.51 carat pear is exceptional. For children of the 1970s, this would be called “hot pink” and was definitely considered sexy. Photo Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International.
Pink is a girl’s color. Ask any boy, most of whom would rather die than be caught wearing pink. Look around any shopping mall at girls under nine. What color are they wearing? Pink. What color, if you ask them, is their favorite color? Pink. (Probably followed by or alongside purple. Purple comes in a strong second in the mall watching game.)
Blue for Girls, Pink for . . . Boys?
But pink hasn’t always been a girl’s color. Until the early part of the 20th century, all children under six were dressed in white dresses. (Easier to change diapers, and white could be bleached to be kept clean.) When pastels started becoming available for children’s clothes, pink was—pay attention–recommended for boys. Why? Because it was considered “a more decided and stronger color, [so it] is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” It wasn’t until the 1940s when manufacturers flipped it around, and pink became the color of femininity. The parents of baby boomers latched on to the designations and we haven’t let go since. (From “When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?” Jeanne Maglaty, Smithsonian.com, April 7, 2011.)
Today, girl babies wear pink. Their hair ribbons, head bands, backpacks, and toys are pink. I just saw a three-year-old girl in a bright pink pedal car a couple of days ago.
Pink is such a strong signifier of femininity that we carry it into adulthood. Pink lipsticks take up a significant amount of shelf space in the cosmetics aisle, giving way only to red, the color of passion. Often, the signature color of women-owned or women-oriented businesses and products is pink.
Pink for Strength
Since the last part of the 20th century, women have been seeking to re-brand pink, if you will, into a color of women’s strength, not weakness and vulnerability. Tomboy Tools produces a line of pink tools and markets them specifically to women. When the breast cancer survivors wanted an emblem to signify their success story, they chose a pink ribbon. During a women’s march in 2016, the crowd was a sea of pink knitted hats.
There doesn’t seem to be a color that is as closely tied to men as pink is to women, although baby boys come with blue baby blankets. When it comes to gemstones, men tend to lean toward blue and black stones, or sometimes—and sometimes under duress—diamonds. Women wear them all, including pink gemstones: pink sapphire, rubellite, pink topaz, purplish pink rhodolite, pink pearls. The reason I’m featuring pink this month is because rose or pink zircon is considered an alternative birthstone for October.
Attributes of Pink
The connection with women and girls to pink is so strong, it has affected the attributes associated with pink. Pink is the color of innocence, of vulnerability, of naïveté. It’s considered tender, and gentler than its passionate sibling, red. When you think of budding love, tender love, mother/child love, you think of pink (unless you came of age in the 1970s when “hot pink” was anything but innocent). Pink is nonthreatening.
Pink is believed to have a calming effect on people because it is not aggressive but instead suggests safety—that nurturing thing again. It’s said to alleviate feelings of anger and aggression. Swiss jails and prisons have pink cells used to house violent prisoners. The color seems to calm them in as little as 15 minutes.
There is pink and then there is PINK, however. A lovely pastel pink house may be welcome in your neighborhood, but one painted the garish pink often associated with Pepto-Bismol may engender feelings that are anything but calm.
Pink is healthy. We say we’re “in the pink,” when feeling good. Pink is optimistic. Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses means you see only the best and most positive things. However, it can also mean that you are a bit blind to reality, perhaps more hopeful or wishful than grounded.
Is pink your favorite color? (As an adult that is.) It may mean you are intuitive, and insightful, sensitive, nurturing, gentle, and kind. You are hopeful.
Gemstones for Fans of Pink
Gemstones and jewelry are about feeling good, feeling powerful. What color better than pink to claim your femininity? And your strength.
Because of its association with women, especially young girls, and negative attributes that have been assigned to women over the centuries, pink can often be thought to signal a lack of willpower, a lack of self-reliance, a lack of self-worth, an overemotional nature, naïveté, and immaturity. For those who think that, I remind you of the pink ribbons worn by so many breast cancer survivors. To survive that disease takes grit, determination, and positivity, yes, but also a willingness to look the world courageously in the face and say, “Just try me.” Remember that, when you look at a pink gemstone.
Sharon Elaine Thompson is a GG and FGA who has been writing about gemstones and jewelry for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1987. She also writes a line of birthstone romance novels under the name Liz Hartley.
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