My Favorite Invisible Color: Reflections on Color in Fashion and Jewelry

Imagine my surprise when, after some 25 years of believing that purple was my favorite color, I was told I was wrong. Imagine my even greater surprise when I found out that I was wrong!

ABOVE: I love charoite for its lively, chatoyant surface–but most of all for its rich, violety purple.

Having specified that I loved “purple, especially on the bluish side” and pointed out my preferred shades to a graphic designer friend, she told me my favorite color was not purple but violet (actually, gentian violet). When I looked askance at her audacity for that remark, she came back with sample Pantone colors used to spec color for printing and waved said violet in my face, which quickly turned a shade somewhere between vermilion and beet red.

Explore the world in shorts in Facets from the March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. On exhibit at New York’s Met: this octopus frontlet, A.D. 300-600, gold, chrysocolla, shells; Museo de la Nación, Lima, Peru. Photo courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Explore the world in shorts in Facets from the March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. On exhibit at New York’s Met: this octopus frontlet, A.D. 300-600, gold, chrysocolla, shells; Museo de la Nación, Lima, Peru. Photo courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Flash forward another 25+ years and Pantone has finally caught up with me, naming Ultra Violet its 2018 Color of the Year. Way to go! Even though I’m now an orange freak, I still love purple, too. Pantone’s 2018 purple pick is spot-on my long-time favorite, so of course I’m fine saying it’s the ultimate shade of violet. And sure, I get it: as a marketing term, “ultra” has way more cachet than “gentian.” I’m happy to see this great color rise in stature–heck, I’m thrilled at the thought of seeing lots of it all year.

Recycled materials are still in, Trends reports in the March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Falling Leaf Necklace, enamel mesh, by Laura Thul Penza.

Recycled materials are still in, Trends reports in the March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Falling Leaf Necklace, enamel mesh, by Laura Thul Penza.

And there’s the rub: violet we can see, but not ultraviolet. That’s the “color” with wavelengths shorter than the human eye can detect. It’s just above the “top” of the visible spectrum, sandwiched at the other end by infrared (meaning below red), and we can’t see that, either. Maybe some creatures can see ultraviolet–but I don’t think any of them are all that much into anyone’s Color of the Year.

Amethyst Bar Chain Maille Bracelet

Amethyst is another fabulous gem that comes in many shades of purple; bracelet by Michelle Brennan (Amethyst Bar Chain Maille Bracelet kit available); photo: Jim Lawson

Technicalities aside, though, the prestige couldn’t happen to a nicer hue. Even better, purple gives us some glorious gem selections: amethyst, charoite, and shades of sapphire and spinel, to name a few.

In the March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, meet artist and instructor Brad Nichols, who created this Lobster Platter using copper, a stainless steel platter, brass, and leather cord. Also in this issue, The Doer’s Profile features David Lee, whose carved and cast ring in 18K white gold features a pink tourmaline carved by Sherris Cottier Shank.

In the March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, meet artist and instructor Brad Nichols, who created this Lobster Platter using copper, a stainless steel platter, brass, and leather cord. Also in this issue, The Doer’s Profile features David Lee, whose carved and cast ring in 18K white gold features a pink tourmaline carved by Sherris Cottier Shank.

And, oh yes, one other thing. For when it’s orange’s turn again, Pantone, go for a really bold one, and please take note: I call my favorite visible color Jailhouse Jumpsuit. Feel free to use it!

–Merle
Editor-in-Chief, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

(This post is adapted from Merle’s column “My Favorite Invisible Color” in the March/April issue.)

rolling mill from Fire Mountain Gems

In the March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Jeff Fulkerson shares tips on using a rolling mill; photo courtesy Fire Mountain Gems & Beads

Find more in the March/April 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

The March/April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is packed with jewelry projects and demos, tips on making your jewelry business successful and how to work with gemstones, and jewelry-making tools that’ll make your mouth water. Plus it has a special focus on jewelry education you won’t want to miss! Peek inside the March/April issue in our Lookbook below.

 

Learn more about metalsmithing, jewelry design, gemstones, and more from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine!

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