Jewelry Making with Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year, Living Coral

The art and design worlds are all abuzz with Pantone’s color of the year for 2019: Living Coral. This pinkish-orange shade feels breezy and cheerful to me. It feels like spring and summer, juicy fruit like mango and popsicles, and the impossible hues in a sunset. This shade of coral was one of my grandmother’s favorite colors, so naturally just seeing it makes me smile.

This lovely 7.20 carat salmon-pink colored, Super Trillion-cut zircon, was cut by John Dyer. Note the visible doubling of facets as you look through the stone. Photo by David Dyer, courtesy of John Dyer Gems.

This lovely 7.20 carat salmon-pink colored, Super Trillion-cut zircon, was cut by John Dyer. Photo by David Dyer, courtesy of John Dyer Gems.

Pantone’s Living Coral for 2019 looks a lot like their Tangerine Tango of 2012. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, described Tangerine Tango as an invigorating color that “marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow.” I agree—both Tangerine Tango and the current Living Coral are vivacious and friendly blends of red and yellow.

Living Coral-Colored Gemstones

Orange and pink shades are pretty common in the gemstone world. Rhodochrosite comes to mind, but Living Coral seems a little more orange than most Padparadscha sapphires to me. Some fire opals could fit the bill, along with spessartite garnet and cameos. I’ve seen pink zircon have a touch of orange like this color. And, of course, there’s actual coral. Pantone said they hoped to spread awareness about the state of live coral and our oceans, but I worry that drawing attention to coral this color might do more harm than good. Here’s a great alternative.

pink gemstones: Rhodochrosite is one of the most feminine gemstones in the marketplace. Pink and white with a lacy pattern, its delicate beauty is a perfect way to express your powerful feminine side. Photo courtesy of Barlow’s Gems.

Rhodochrosite is one of the most feminine gemstones in the marketplace. Pink and white with a lacy pattern, its delicate beauty is a perfect way to express your powerful feminine side. Photo courtesy of Barlow’s Gems.

Why Do We Care About Living Coral?

You might dislike this color, and that’s fine. But there are reasons why Living Coral is important to jewelry designers. Now that this color has been crowned and widely publicized, it’ll show up everywhere—in home décor like bedding and kitchenware, and most importantly, in fashion and accessories.

Sweet Home Mine rhodochrosite

Did you see The Devil Wears Prada, when fashion editor Miranda Priestly rants about the importance of the blue sweater her assistant is wearing? She explains the long-tail version of how that particular color came to be. We as jewelry designers are in a similar situation; we can make trends with our designs, but we’re also part of a larger market that requires us to at least be aware of color trends. Because at your upcoming spring or summer craft show, there’s a good chance you’ll meet a lady looking for a pair of earrings in this coral shade. She needs them to wear with her new coral-colored shirt.

Tammy Jones
Online Editor, Interweave Jewelry


Explore Living Coral and other colorful jewelry designs with these projects.

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