Color 101

Color 101 | Birthstones | Meaning of Gems

For ages, people have looked to color and metals for meaning and specific properties. Some stones were/are used for healing, others for relaxation, some for energy, and the list goes on.

When you're painting a room in your home, do you choose a specific color for how it makes you feel? Many kitchens are yellow, bedrooms a soft green-gray or blue, bathrooms lavender, etc. This isn't always the case, but Interior Designers do look for certain emotional properties of color to decide on their plans.

Certain metals have specific properties as well. Do you normally gravitate to a certain metal? (Gold, silver, copper, etc.)

Colors are also associated with birth months. What is your horoscope color? Do you tend to lean towards that color when you choopse your clothing, bedding, jewelry, cosmetics, etc.?

Look at this Color 101 area as your classroom to learn about the different properties and meanings of different gems, hues, and metals.

To start off, let's look at the actual Color Wheel.

This tool is used by many designers and artists to show the relationship between certain colors. For instance, you have colors that blend well, colors that should never be used together, (gag!) and then you have colors that really pop off of eachother. Some may feel cold, others warm.

The color wheel starts off with the primary colors and then shows many of the basic colors in-between. Then those colors are broken down futher into different hues. Some colors have a different tinge to them, some faded/muted, etc.

Complimentary Colors are those that pop with eachother. They are opposite on the color wheel. Orange vs. Blue, Red vs. Green,  Yellow vs. Purple. These colors work really well together because they are so opposite.

Temperatures cause certain colors to look better together as well. Lemon & lime are in the same color temperature so they feel like a natural fit. Speaking of natural, think nature. A tree is typically brown and green. It looks beautiful as such. Fall leaves are red, orange, yellow... same color temperature. Snow is cold (white with a lot of blue reflection to it.)  If we look to nature, we can see a lot of what the color wheel shows us.

Hues are the further breakdown of those colors. The best way to look at hues is through the tools of a graphic designer. When selecting colors for a piece of art, the digital spectrum is vast. Some artists will use a color-picker tool to find that exact hue they need. A hue is a "tone" of the base color. So a faded light blue is a child of blue, but looks very different. It can look like a powder blue, a grayish-blue, a baby blue, a blue that's almost white, a purplish-blue, etc. It depends on the intensity of the color. The less dense the color, the paler it will be. Like pigment in your skin. 


Now, let's move on to the meanings of the colors...

How do certain colors make you feel? How do different hues or combinations of those colors affect you? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see a color?

These aren't always the case, but historically been seen as such:

Red is a very intense color. It is associated with many different emotions. Usually these associations are about LOVE, but... just like light reds (like pink,) can symbolize love and romance, others like a deep & dark red can cause the feelings of war, wrath, rage, and death. Whatever tone of red, it is going to affect you deeply. Its vibration is very strong.

In everyday life, when you see red, you may immediately think of a sportscar. If you're a cook, you might immediately think of a vibrant red bell pepper. If you're an athlete, you may think of the finish line.

Orange is a happy color! It gives the sensation of heat, like the orange tones of a flame. It's an attention-grabber (thus the use on caution signs,) because it is a vivid color. Orange is generally thought of as intelligent, creative, energetic, joyful, and healthy, but... just like other colors, also has some negatives. Darker shades of orange can make you feel dirty, overwhelmed, or distrustful.

In everyday life, a bright orange may make you immediately think of the fresh and clean smell of an orange. Or a tropical vacation. If you're an athlete, it may make you feel more willpower and drive. 

Yellow is a joyous color. Think bright sunny days. Happiness, but also hunger and urgency. Darker yellows may make you feel jealous or ill. Lighter yellows make you feel clean and smart. 

In everyday life, look at nature. The crisp freshness of a lemon. The pop of bright at just the right time in autumn. The Sunflowers towering over you. It's a summer color and feels very healthy.

Green is an interesting color because it's the most common in our lives. Did you know it's the easiest color for the eye? Yet oddly enough, if you're a certain type of color-blind, you won't see it! If you do see it, your first thought may be of nature. But others may first think of money. Green can symbolize growth, and fertility, (as Mother Nature is thought of as green,) as well as wealth. Pea-green is seen negatively, while olive-green is a symbol of peace. Throw in a little blue and you get a feeling of emotional healing. Throw in a little yellow and you may feel greedy and jealous.

In everyday life, green is all around us. The trees, the grass, most vegetables, and even our money. Our traffic light green is for "go," and our recycling bins are green to symbolize preserving our world.

Studies show that Blue is the most liked color in the world. You may immediately think of calming ocean waves when you see blue. Or, you may immediately think of a baby boy. Blue is a masculine color, and men typically see it as a sign of stability and intellect. Women may see it as more of a spa and relaxation color. Or you may think of technology and advancement (IBM is known as "Big Blue", and many Silicon Valley technology companies have blue logos.) You won't see food associated with blue very often, as it actually suppresses appetite. But you will see it on most water bottles.

There are generally no negatives associated with blue. Even mixed with other colors, it never evokes negative feelings. This must be why it's the world's favorite color.

Food for Thought: What natural foods are blue? You may say blueberries, but they're actually more of a purple. Perhaps nature knows what it's doing, more than we acknowledge. Blue suppresses the appetite, so we likely wouldn't eat blue food. In food testing studies, the least likely food to be tried is a blue one.

Purple is the color of Royalty. Perhaps because it is the most rare color in nature. It is also seen as a color of power, dignity, and independence. You may immediately think of a Wizard's Hat when someone mentions purple. That may be because it is associated with mystery and magic. Purple, being made up of red and blue, pulls qualities from both. The energy of red, with the stability of blue. Like blue, it is associated with wisdom/intellect, and like red it is romantic and energetic. But a faded purple (lavender,) in both man-made products, and in nature, is a relaxing and spiritual color.

In nature, the rarity of purple makes it exciting to find. Irises are a rare flower. There are very few purple birds. The sunset can have hues of purple, but so can a dark storm cloud.

Let's move on to metals...













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