Color Considerations of Bead Necklaces

The overall color impact of a bead necklace depends on several factors:

The intensity (saturation) of the color of the beads, their reflection, the size of the beads and the number of rows the necklace is made of.

Imagine a necklace of light blue, tiny and mat beads compared to one made of dark blue, big, strongly reflecting crystals!

Multi-colored beads will continue change the overall effect of the necklace by spinning around the thread while wearing it. This turning around prevents to enjoy very tiny decorations on beads, especially when they are one sided and have a main function in the necklace.

Whenever choosing a necklace, pay attention to its intended background colors.

This can be the color of the skin with its different shades of dark till light brown, red or white, the color(s) of the clothes, and not to forget, the color of the used beading thread!

This holds especially for beads made of translucent glass or clear plastic made of acryl resin, developed at the beginning(!) of the twentieth's century in Germany.

The trade name for it, Plexiglas, also Perspex or Acryl, seems to be used mainly in reference to utensils and decorative objects. Lucite, introduced by DuPont in 1937, is another trade name for it and most often heard in reference to jewelry. Lucite is water clear in its original form, but is often tinted in a wide range of transparent to opaque colors. Acrylic resins were first used in the production of costume jewelry in the 1930s. It is still in use for jewelry today.


Thus the final color of a necklace is being determined by the combination of the colors of the beads, the color of their background and the color of the used thread.

Clothes and beads of the same color can be very elegant, but in most cases the beads are vanishing optically.

On a black background clear beads of a deep red color seem to be black and a necklace made of black and white beads seems to be made of "floating" white beads.

This same necklace on a red cloth has a completely different effect, just imagine it before your eyes.

Think in advance: Is the bead necklace intended for use during the day, or at special evening events?

The difference between day light and artificial light can play tricks with the color of your beads! As a result, always evaluate the effect of your necklace under both light conditions, whether choosing to buy or just choosing to wear.

Crystal and silver beads (and diamonds too) are at their best when seen by candlelight!


White exists in many subtle variations.

If choosing a white necklace pay attention to the fact that, due to its proximity to the face, these beads may show our teeth much more yellow than they actually are. On the other hand, cream-colored beads may show our teeth more white and bright.


In 1813 Charles Hayters introduced his warm and cold "Painters compass", which indicates the colors red, orange, yellow and the colors derived from them as warm, and green, blue and purple and their derivates as cold colors.

These are contrasts which are still widely accepted.


Colors affect us emotionally: they are used to express emotions and even evoke them. Bright colors, particularly the warm hues, seem to activate us, while cooler duller hues tend to sedate.

Extroverts tend to prefer warm hues, introverts the cool ones.


There exists the idea of a universal, basic feeling for color. The responses to it should go back to archetypal human experiences like the black night, white bone, red blood etc. and we see that children are most responsive to the pleasure of sheer color.

As grown ups our responses to color are heavily influenced by the surrounding culture and fashions within our culture. In the Western world black is associated with death while in China the color used for mourning is white and in many cultures red is associated with life, sexuality and fertility.

In spite of these influences, we respond to it in our own individual way and this explains why our own, personal color preferences are so important to us. To far extent these preferences determine the bead necklace choices we make.


People from strongly sunlit countries tend to prefer warm, bright colors, while those from countries with less sunlight tend to prefer cooler and less intensely saturated colors. May be in brighter environments, people's eyes have adapted to protect them from that sunlight and let in less light, and subsequently less color, so there is possibly a physiological bias toward these warm colors.

Furthermore, under the strong tropical sun, bright colors tend to fade more easily and much quicker.


Small-scale, technologically simple societies tend to use natural dyes, paints, and found objects in their art, and natural dyes are typically of low saturation.


To a certain extent, trends in public color preferences are manipulated by the commercial industries and changed to increase sales. These trends are usually led by the fashion industry, which subsequently determines the colors of the accompanying jewelry. Color is so important in fashion that there exists an international color council which gathers regularly and instructs the manufacturers.


Color associations from the Western World:

Rose Pink Tenderness, affection
Ruby Red Passion, warmth, devotion, cheerfulness
Orange Strength, abundance, regeneration
Yellow Faith, knowledge, honor
Emerald Green Noble spirit, charity, understanding, temperance
Jade green Power, fortune, justice
Royal Blue Pure love, wisdom, courage
Light Blue Intelligence
Purple Mystic vision, intuition, chastity
Black Grief, depth, endurance, protection
White Purity, peace
Grey Modesty, obedience
Clear (Transparent) Clairvoyance, truth, fortitude


Color associations from China:

Ruby Red Energy
Quartz Pink Love
Jade Green Harmony
Jet Black Self control
Sapphire Blue Safety
Marble White Security
Agate Brown Imagination
Hematite Grey Happiness
Sandstone Tan Earth spirit
Orange Star Guiding light
Amethyst Purple Psychic
Crystal Perceptive Clarity














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