Color Psychology of Gemstones: Malachite, Chrysoprase, Jade, and Other Green Gems
August. Deep summer, and the birthstone month of peridot gemstones. It’s a time of greens of all shades. It’s the last few weeks before the world begins to change color in September and we start to pack up our shades of green until next spring.
ABOVE: This wild pattern in malachite gemstones can evoke turbulent water or remind the wearer to stay steady in their pursuit of a goal, despite ups and downs. Photo Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International.
Green is the color of many gemstones: emerald, jade and nephrite, serpentine, chrysoprase, variscite, malachite, Tsavorite garnets, tourmalines, green sapphires, green beryl, prehnite, peridot, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. So let’s talk about green, and how it affects mood, health, behavior, and how it can help you better tell your jewelry story.
Green is the most abundant color in the spectrum. Because it is the color of plants, it has often been a symbol of rebirth and fertility. In ancient cultures, color therapy was sometimes used to treat or cure illness. Green was thought to restore balance and harmony, treat pituitary and heart disorders, and relieve tension and headaches.
Today, practitioners of color therapy use colored light wavelengths to adjust imbalances of the corresponding body chakras. Green is the fourth or heart chakra. Some of them claim that the color green can help fight depression, bulimia, and other gastric issues. Green is said to calm the nerves and combat insomnia. (Color therapy is widely regarded as a pseudoscience; however, there are those who claim it works.)
“Let’s talk about green, and how it . . . can help you better tell your jewelry story.”
Cool colors, such as certain blue-greens, calm and rest us because it’s been shown that, in their presence, our metabolism slows down. Interior designers use this to manipulate spaces. They use cool, muted colors to calm and relax people, and induce them to linger longer. This is especially useful to restaurant and business owners and mall managers who appreciate a particular type of green.
But green is also the color we associate with the unpleasant emotions of envy and jealousy. It has become the color associated with many older institutions, too, like that terrible green used in hospital corridors or state offices. (Though that seems to be shifting to an overcooked oatmeal beige. But I digress.)
Most of us have a favorite color we may tend to seek out when we buy and wear clothes or gemstones. But why do we choose those colors? Perhaps we choose them because of the subtle way they affect our emotions and even our health. But what we are—our emotional makeup and personalities—may also affect the colors we choose to have around us. In fact, some psychologists in Europe use color testing in conjunction with personal interviews with patients to determine their underlying personality characteristics.
Know someone who is fond of green? There’s a good chance they are respectable, tenacious, frank, and public spirited. They may also be stubborn and resistant to change. Appropriately enough, at least in the US where green has for many years been the color of money, people who love green are not usually stingy.
You should not try to psychoanalyze friends, family, or customers by asking them (with a feigned air of innocence) their favorite colors. The results of this controversial theory are based on the order in which the colors are selected and combined. It is not a guaranteed barometer of someone’s mental condition or personality traits. So if you go out to dinner with someone whose favorite color is green, do not automatically expect them to pick up the check!
So how does a jewelry designer use their knowledge of the psychology of green? Primarily, color is another layer to help you tell your jewelry story. If you’re using design elements that are reminiscent of nature—leaf, flower, or branch-like—green gemstones might help reinforce those elements. While you’re making a shamanistic or talismanic brooch or neckpiece, you might use the yellowish green of spring to evoke fertility, creativity, or remind the customer to be persistent or tenacious in the acquisition of a goal.
Selected consciously when you design your pieces, the color of the gemstones can provide another talking point when you discuss your work with a potential customer or gallery owner. The more ways you can give your customer to relate to a work, the better your chances of selling it. And that means more green for you.
Do you prefer blue to green? Then check out Color Psychology of Gemstones: Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli, and Other Blue Gems.
Photos courtesy of Pala International.
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.