Wouldn’t it be great if your parents or your teachers wore something that could immediately tell you whether or not they’re in a good mood? It would sure help you decide when would be the best time to tell them about that forgotten chore or the dog eating your homework!

If you traveled back in time to the mid-1970s or to a flea market today, you might find just such an object. We’re talking about mood rings, of course.

Two inventors from New York — Joshua Reynolds and Maris Ambats — created mood rings in 1975. They claimed that their mood rings would change colors as wearers’ moods or emotional states changed.

For example, here are the colors that would supposedly reflect particular moods:

  • violet: happy or romantic
  • blue: calm or relaxed
  • green: neutral
  • yellow: tense or excited
  • brown: nervous or anxious

Mood rings quickly became a fad, especially with young girls. A “fad” describes something — such as a product, fashion or way of acting or speaking — that gains popularity quickly and is followed enthusiastically by a large group of people.

Fads are temporary by definition and often fade quickly. A similar fad from the time of mood rings was the pet rock.

Mood rings featured fake gemstones that were usually made of either glass or quartz. The glass or quartz “stones” were usually hollow shells filled with liquid crystals.

These special crystals were thermochromic, which means they would change color in response to changes in temperature. Changes in temperature — either air temperature or body temperature — would cause the liquid crystals to twist.

When they twisted, the liquid crystals would then reflect different wavelengths of light. This would cause the color of the “stone” to change.

The mood ring fad has more recently been revived through the use of mood nail polish and mood lipsticks. Like the mood rings, these products change colors based on changes in temperature.

The inventors of mood rings believed that body temperature changes when a person’s mood changes. There may be a bit of truth to that.

For example, happiness or passion may slightly increase your peripheral (outer) body temperature as your body sends more blood to your extremities. Likewise, fear or stress may reduce peripheral body temperature as your body sends more blood toward your internal organs in a protective response.

As your fingers get hotter or colder in response to bodily changes, mood rings were expected to change color to reflect these changes. Whether these changes truly reflect mood changes, though, is questionable.

No direct link between a particular mood and a specific color has ever been confirmed. In fact, it appears that air temperature may have a greater effect on the color of mood rings than body temperature.

Mood rings were manufactured so that they would usually display a neutral green color when worn by someone with an average resting peripheral body temperature of about 82° F. As air or body temperatures changed, the liquid crystals in mood rings would twist and cause color changes.

Even if they didn’t reflect true mood changes, they were fun to wear!


63 Join the Discussion

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  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Once again, a great post. I hope some of my students will read about mood rings this weekend. I am presenting at the National Council of Teachers of English this morning and I am going to show them your “wonderful” site. Your site is one that my students are going home to tell their parents about. Wonderopolis is helping my kids be excited about reading. Not only that, they are asking questions of their own, investigating, and having conversations with their parents.

    Thank you for all you do to support our students and families in their learning!

    Julie Johnson

    • Your comment made us so very happy today, Julie! Thank you for letting us know that your students are sharing Wonderopolis at home, as well as in the classroom! We LOVE hearing about the school-to-home-to-school connection and families learning TOGETHER! Please tell your students they have BIG fans here in Wonderopolis! :-)

      P.S. We know you will ROCK your presentation today! Thanks for all YOU do to inspire learning and WONDER in your students and others! :-)

    • We’re super happy that you learned some cool new things about mood rings and how they work by exploring today’s Wonder of the Day®, Jessica! Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis and for leaving us this GREAT comment! :-)

    • We’re not sure about the answer to that one, Macihurt, but we like how you WONDER! We know lots of Wonder Friends who prefer one or the other type of cola (or BOTH)! There are also Wonder Friends who don’t care for carbonated drinks at all. Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis and for leaving us this great comment! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day® about mood rings, Kate! We know a lot of Wonder Friends who have mood rings of their own, too! :-)

    • Hi, Casey! We agree…mood rings ARE awesome! Thanks so much for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and leaving us a comment! We hope you share all the great things you learned about mood rings with your sister! :-)

    • We’re glad you explored this Wonder of the Day®, Sierra! We hope you learned some “groovy” facts about mood rings that you can share with your friends and family! Thank you so much for leaving us this enthusiastic comment today! :-)

    • Hello, Josalyn! Thanks so much for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! Keep your eyes open for mood rings whenever you are out shopping. We have even seen them for sale in Wonderopolis! You can find them at flea markets, at craft fairs, and at the mall, too.

    • Reading your comment put us in a really great MOOD today, lsjfslkj! Thank you for letting us know you learned more about mood rings by exploring this Wonder! :-)

  2. I always wanted to know how mood rings work, it is really cool! And I never knew that the gems had liquid crystals inside of them, that is cool!

    • We can tell that learning new things by exploring this Wonder has put you in a great MOOD, Sara! We think that is AWESOME! Thank you for stopping by Wonderopolis today and for leaving us a comment to let us know you were here! :-)

    • Hey there, Andrew! We don’t have any mood rings, either, but we have lots of Wonder Friends who might let us wear one of theirs! :-)

  3. I thought today’s wonder was awesome! I never knew who made mood rings until now. I also have a mood ring at home, but it is not made out of those crystals. I was also wondering why they made the mood rings and are they still in style today? I think you guys should do a wonder on why many zoos do not have Giraffes.

  4. I think it’s weird how someone decided to make a ring to tell your mood.
    I also thought it was cool how the rock changed colors by temperature.

    • Thanks for letting us know what you thought was weird and cool about this Wonder of the Day®, Keaton! We appreciate hearing from our Wonder Friends! :-)

  5. Hello Wonderopolis! This wonder was very interesting. I learned that the inventors of mood rings believed that body temperature changes when a persons mood changes. I also learned that mood rings featured fake gemstones that were usually made of either glass or quartz. The glass or quartz “stones” were usually hollow shells filled with liquid crystals. One question I have is how did the inventors come upon the idea of a ring that changes colors based on your feelings? Two new vocabulary words I learned are thermochromic and extremities.

    Thank you Wonderopolis!

    • Those are GREAT new vocabulary words, Team McNeil 20! Thanks for visiting this Wonder of the Day® about mood rings! We’re not sure how the inventors of mood rings first came up with the idea for the fad, but we’re glad they did…mood rings are GROOVY! :-)

  6. I didn’t know that a fad is something that gains popularity quickly. I had no idea mood rings were invented by 2 people, Joshua Reynolds and Maris Ambats, from New York. I had no idea that mood rings were thermochromic, or changes color with change of temperature. Mood rings were invented around the time my aunt was born. Do you know if we will ever know if a certain body temperature reflects a certain mood?

    – Team Unger 14

    • That’s a GREAT question, Team Unger 14! We don’t know if science will ever prove that body temperatures react with mood rings to reflect certain moods in people. It’s fun to WONDER about that, though! Thanks for letting us know some of the cool facts you learned and the vocabulary words, too! :-)

  7. Wow! Now I know what the colors are for new new mood bracelet, since a code didn’t come with it! I made sure that I took notes on that! :-)

    • We’re glad you learned some cool new facts about mood rings by exploring this Wonder of the Day® about them, Ashley! Thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hey Lisa! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! Learning about DNA sounds like an interesting thing to do. Where did you hear about it? Do you know what DNA stands for? :)

    • That’s great news, Sophia! We Wonder what your report was about? Perhaps you had to describe your mood? :)

  8. Hi. I am in Mrs. Hess’ class and I have 2 mood rings but I don’t have ice cube rings. I know because mood rings change color, you hold the mood ring, it will change its color, and when you leave the mood ring, it changes to a dark color. I guess you know all about mood rings, right?

    Do you have any funny videos? I LOVE TO SEE FUNNY VIDEOS!

    • Hi Davide! A mood is based on how you feel! It could be anything from happy, to angry, to peaceful! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

    • We’re not sure, Genevieve V! Perhaps they were trying to invent something totally different but stumbled upon this fun invention by accident! How do you think they came up with mood rings? :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do mood rings work?
  • Who invented mood rings?
  • What is a fad?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Are you in a good mood or a bad mood? And why? Do you ever give much thought to your moods and what causes them?

We’d like you to give it some thought over the course of the next week. Actually, we’d like you to do more than just think about it. We want you to write about it!

Start a mood journal today. If you want, you can print out some blank journal sheets.

At the top of your journal page, write today’s date. Then make some notes about your mood today and why you feel that way.

To make things more fun, assign a color to your mood each day. You can make up the colors to suit your moods.

There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s up to you. Just do whatever suits you best.

Here’s an example of what a day’s journal entry might look like:

Saturday, November 19, 2011
Today my mood is: HAPPY
My mood color: YELLOW
When I got up today, the sun was shining in my window. It made me happy and started my day off right. Since I’m in a good mood and it’s because of the sunshine, my mood color today is yellow. I’m going to enjoy a peaceful Saturday with my friends, so I hope I stay “mellow yellow” the rest of the day!

After you’ve been keeping your mood journal for a week or so, share it with a friend or family member. What thoughts do they have? Do they notice any patterns?

Sometimes keeping a journal like this can help you identify things in your life that cause you stress. Eliminating or reducing those things can help you improve your mood — and your life — for the better!


Still Wondering

Use ArtsEdge’s Exploring Weather Conditions Through Painting lesson to learn about how weather influences culture, daily life and mood by examining paintings depicting different types of weather.


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One goose said to another, “We’re geese.” A moose overheard this and became very confused. Find out more tomorrow in Wonderopolis!

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