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1970s Fads: Mood Ring

By Patrick Mondout

The Mood Ring was, along with the Pet Rock, one of the biggest fads of the Super70s. And as with the Pet Rock, there were plenty of imitations floating around.

How Does it Work?

Mood rings contained a heat-sensitive liquid crystal encased in quartz. As the body temperature of the owner changed, the crystals changed colors. The colors were said to correspond to the wearer's mood at the time (hence, the "mood ring").

What Does It Mean?

Do you still have your Mood Ring but have lost the little instruction booklet showing what each color means? So have we but here's how we remember it...
Golden Yellow: Tense. You have difficulty focusing and are easily bothered.
Blue: You are happy. No, really!
Purple: Moody. Your emotions are erratic. Consider Prozac.
Black: Down. You are overburdened and confused. Check for a pulse.
Reddish brown: Insecure. Go buy yourself a Mazda Miata convertible.
Clear: Fraud. Your mood ring is a fake; you are having financial difficulties.
Green: Easily amused. If you are still reading this, you are easily amused.

Who's Responsible?

The Mood Ring was invented by Joshua Reynolds who, like Pet Rock inventor Gary Dahl, was a marketing wiz (and an heir to the R.J. Reynolds fortune). Reynolds, a New Yorker who was 33 at the peak of the fad, earned a degree in psychology from Colgate in the mid-60s and went on to invent the ThighMaster (so skillfully marketed by Suzanne Sommers). He also claims to be responsible for all those air ionizers as the inventor of the EnergAire.

Where Are They Now?

Joshua Reynolds was last spotted as a vice-president at Brain.com where his bio referred to him as a pioneer in the field of biofeedback but did not mention the Mood Ring by name. Hmmmm... (Dark blue: You are ashamed of your invention.)

 

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have any interesting or amusing stories to tell about Mood Rings? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"I remember my first mood ring. It lasted till I took a shower. After that is was multi colored permanently. I also had a mood pendant. Groovy man."

--Alaskatomboy

"I still have my mood ring. I have worn it every day since 1975, when I got it as a Birthday gift from my parents. [Editor's note: Wow, Anita! That must be some kind of a mood ring record!]"

--Anita

"Ahh, but the newest version of the mood ring? Mood Piercing! That's right, body jewelry with the mood ring twist. It's a curved bar bell with the mood piece on the lower ball. It's intended for a navel ring, but I have mine to determine my sexual mood, if you catch what I'm saying. It was a joke between a friend and I who both have our clitoris hoods pierced how cool it would be, so I got us each one...

I'm not sure it's ever really been accurate, but it makes for good conversation with close (very close) friends."

--PurpleSmile

"I remember during that period, I was employed in the retail field. The fad went so far, that the store I was employed by also carried Mood Shirts!"

--Anonymous

"My boyfriend would look at it. If it said that I was in a bad mood then he would stay clear of me."

--Eskimo's Wife

"Way back in the early Super70s, when "hippies" were cool, we ALL had Mood Rings, along with our bell-bottoms, "chukka-boots", Volkswagen buses. We were into, "flower-power", peace, and LUV.

I recently found two mood rings at a flea-market! Our 28 year old daughter is into the old hippie-clothes, and styles, and has been for years. I bought one of the rings for her for only $1!!! I don't think the old man knew what he had! They are set in sterling silver, and our "girl-child" is ecstatic over her ring! She has had so many compliments on it, and questions about where to get one! Is this cool or what? I had forgotten what the colors meant - thanks for the info!!"

--beckye

"Recently while doing "spring cleaning", I found my old mood ring. I know. I never throw anything away. Mine is not an expensive ring because it looks like silver but hasn't turned dark. The stone does change colors and the ring is adjustable. I had forgotten what caused the ring to change colors but my husband who was a chemist told me exactly what you said made it change colors. I had forgotten what the colors meant and in my research on the net I discovered this cool site of yours."

--Cat

"I remember my first mood ring. It was the same time I had my first heartbreak. I was so distraught, then I looked down at my ring expecting the worst! But to my surprise my ring said I was happy. It was the shortest heartbreak of my young impressionable life! Thanks Mood ring!"

--Anonymous

"My mood ring was a gift from my favorite babysitter. She was so groovy and always wore white vinyl go-go boots. Fortunately, she warned me not to get it wet. Still, it only worked for a few months. It turned green with black splotches, and my mom threw it out because it turned my finger green. I thought that was part of the whole "mood" thing."

--Anonymous

"I could never really get a good reaction from my mood ring. I guess I had chronically cold hands. I'd stick it in my cleavage when I wanted to see the colors change."

--winkie star stevens

"I just bought my daughter a mood ring. It kind of surprised me to see them at a rest stop - must be getting popular again. My daugghter is 9 and thought it was too cool - $2.99 was worth the smile it brought."

--GroovyMom

"Man, I was "out there" when I had my first mood ring put on my finger. I was really into attitudes, vibes, and inner peace at the time and I was really bummed to see that my mood wasn't "blue" so I kept trying to get myself into the "right frame of mind", using the mood ring as a guide.

Finally, I almost gave up, and was depressed because all of my inner peace searching, all of my yoga and meditation, pretty much the whole essence of my BEING had let me down and I STILL wasn't couldn't reach "blue"

Then, that oldies song by the Foundations "Buttercup" came on and I started singing & dancing to it. My mood almost instantly changed to Blue!!! I was so excited I just couldn't stop! so for a while, now matter what I was doing, I danced around with "Buttercup" in my head!

Whenever I stop, the ring goes back to another less-desirable color!"

--Glowboy

"Well I bought a mood ring a few days ago and I am of the younger generation not the Super70s but this is what the paper said:
black: anxious
orange: unsettled
green: somewhat relaxed
purple: love
blue: relaxed and at ease
light green: under great stress
yellow: strained


It works!! It really works!! Even if I wash my hands with it on."

--titanya

"I used my allowance to buy one in the 4th grade. Regardless of what you did with that ring, it was always the same color blue. But that didn't matter, for a short time, I was a celebrity at my elementary school."

--Anonymous

"My mood ring, which I STILL have, although it no longer fits, put the school nurse to shame in 1977. I LOVED school! (Yeah, I was strange.) I wouldn't leave for any reason, especially if there was a theater club rehearsal after school, as there was on this particularly cold January day. By third period it was obvious to everyone, including my A.P. History teacher, who forced me to the nurse’s office, that I was deathly ill. I stumbled in, trying to ignore the pounding in my head and the odd light show across my field of vision, which I know, wasn't there. Since fourth period was Phys. Ed., she excused me on the basis of having my "monthly visitor." Not even bothering to check the obvious like pulse or temperature, she assumed ANY female was either menstruating like a fiend or pregnant. Girls could get out of gym any time they wanted to! When the fifth period bell rang, she learned I had a biology test, immediately decided I was faking to get out it, and threw me out! Mrs. M., the biology teacher and a mother of seven adult children wasn't fooled. She paged the nurse to come and get me from the biology lab. The nurse arrived in a huff, while Mrs. M. chewed her out in front of the class, much to their delight!

"No fever? Well, check again! See this child's mood ring? It's such a dark purple it's nearly black. She's not just 'a little warm,' this child is broiling! Get some liquid into her and some cold compresses on her and call her mother. Where did you get your nursing degree, from the back of MAD?"

The mood ring was right. My temperature was a whopping 104.1 F. I was out with a severe influenza for three weeks. No wonder I was delirious!"

--the hermit girl

"Worked at the store that first sold Josh Reynold's original mood ring. Still have one of the originals and it still works with vibrant colors!"

--Donna Z

"I just bought one about a month ago. I wear it everyday. It is a big topic of converstain with new people at bars."

--Anonymous

"I thought the inventer of the Mood Ring was Robert Parker who worked at Lawrence Livermore Lab. I have heard him interviewed about the invention."

--Anonymous

"Check out the book "Why Didn't I Think of That?". It has a whole chapter on the origin of the Mood Ring along with a short biography on the creator, Marvin Wernick (my dad), not Joshua Reynolds. I remember as a small child when my dad was experimenting with the process, he'd spend night after night in his "lab" (a workshop in the garage). He was in the jewelry business back then, always creating new and unique fashion accessories for women. His Mood Rings took the fashion industry by storm. Unfortunately, he neglected to get a patent on it and soon everyone was trying to get in on a piece of the action. Amazingly, it never slowed my dad down, as he continued to create new ideas and successful products, one after another. His lab got bigger as corporations grew. To date, he's attempted retirement several times, but can't stop doing what he loves. Only now, with his extensive background in marketing, he spends most of his leisure time helping young entrepreneurs launch their own new products."

--Arin

"There is this cute guy that always comes in at my workplace to flirt w/me ( I am a cashier). He makes me nervous. I guess thats why my mood ring turns purple every time he walk in. :-("

--Anonymous

"I remember first seeing one my sister had recieved as a party favor. I was so enamored with the thought that the ring was ever-changing, and it could tell you your inner self. I wore it everywhere, even though it would catch on jeans or sleeves, it was so big. I've always been on a voyage of self-discovery, and love the idea that the ring could almost read my mind!"

--Fauna

"I LOVED my first mood ring, it was given to me by my best friend (who had one herself and our mood rings became more like friendship rings). We had LOTS of fun with them. They were a BLAST!!"

--MissyS

"I still own my original mood ring from the Super70s and it isn't one of the adjustable ones. It still works only because I never got it wet. . . And I learned that only because 2 minutes before my sister plopped her hands into the dishwater to do dishes and it never worked properly afterward. Poor kid, we had only gotten them just that day. Now if they could only make them so they are permanently sealed, I would buy a new one."

--alexi{Jms}

"I found a nice looking green ring on the ground. It was in really good shape. I tried it on my pinky finger and it fit. 5 minutes later I noticed it was Dark blue. I told myself what the heck I though this thing was green. I didn't think anything of it until I was out throwing snowballs with my kids. Thenit was yellow. Now I was interested and did research on this ring. Yep a MOOD ring. I was born in the early Super70s and I have never seen or heard of the mood ring. My wife always looks at my hand now just to make sure I am in the mood. Hopefully the ring is purple in the evenings if you know what I mean. Thanks for the info"

--twotoney

"I never realized so many people are in awe over mood rings, I get them for about 70 cents a piece off eBay and sell them in my dollar store. [Editor's note: Ah, but are they Original Mood Rings? I think not! Unless you had one, you just wouldn't understand. ;) ]"

--Dollar Store Merchant

"I just found my old mood ring tonight. My mom gave me hers from the Super70s when I was in middle school (in the Awesome80s). I wore it forever--and was totally cool! Mine was ALWAYS blue--and it totally fit my personality! (It did turn colors on other people so I know it worked!)

My seven year old son found some old jewelry of mine as he was looking for stuff to wear as he dressed up for his "Egyptian" project. It is real silver so it has tarnished but still works. Of course, I gave it to him, and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. I couldn't remember what the colors all meant (except blue) :) so he made me get on here immediately and found out! His has not changed from blue yet either. Like mother like son!"

--hsmom


 

FAD FACTS

Mood rings gradually changed color relative to the body temperature of the wearer.

Photo courtesy of Kim Desgarden


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