NUMBER ONE: Black is the hot color for 2008, and will probably hold strongly through much of 2009, as well. Purple is the trendy color of the year, giving an updated look to practically all fashion it’s associated with. But the big independent color – the one the Pantone Color Institute and its top level designer consultants rate as Number One for the year 2008 and for Spring 2009 — is BLUE.
This magnificent, aristocratic color never seems to leave the top color charts completely, no matter what color family is IN. Perhaps that’s because everyone loves blue. Survey after survey, year-in, year-out, show that the great majority of Americans list their favorite color as blue. It is popular. It is often mesmerizing. And, this year, it is more important than ever. On top of which, it is even uptrending!
The fall blue color listed as number one by Pantone is Iris Blue, a rich blue with purple undertones. Also on the top ten list for autumn was Caribbean Blue, a tropical blue, and Twilight Blue, a darker, more navy-oriented color. A continuation of these colors for spring and holding Pantone’s Number One spring spot, is Palace Blue, considered to be a navy blue, but actually somewhat lighter and certainly with more sparkle and pop.
Think in terms of the traditional sapphire for a close gemstone color match to Palace Blue, although matching exactly is anything but important, since all blues are really IN. (You might consider that the French, masters of fashion, tend to criticize Americans for their penchant for matching, which they call vulgar. Ahhh, the French!) Other important gemstones in the blue family (the actual number is amazingly high) are blue topaz, tanzanite, turquoise, aquamarine, blue aventurine, blue quartz, blue tourmaline, and, of course, the glorious, clean, bright blue lapis lazuli, the stone famous in the East for its beauty and reported healing properties.
BLUE LAPIS: Consider a lapis lazuli semi-precious horn or heart pendant. The deep blue color of lapis works beautifully with earth tones, so popular this season. Lapis also looks beautiful set in gold plate or sterling, and mixes well with other gemstones, making it ideal for upgraded fashion jewelry. But of course, it is blue…so what else would you expect?
Blue beads, blue gemstones, blue textiles and blue man-made jewels and materials are all of major importance this season, and are only gaining prominence as we move toward the New Year. This is a color you just can’t go wrong with; it is classic, global, and transforming, with rich symbolism and imagery. A handsome way of expressing the blue momentum is with a bead cluster stretch bracelet in olive and blue turquoise. The unexpected color combination of green and blue shows just how flexible blue can be.
This is also a color with enormous marketing power, frequently representing individuals and situations of importance. Think of the blue power suit of the corporate world, the blue uniform of police officers. Blue is also a banker’s color. Nurses often add the color blue to their white uniforms and caps. Blue jewelry for people in these professions is perfect!
Gifts of Blue: Blue also represents trustworthiness and extreme reliability, such as someone committed to another person, or idea, or situation. With that in mind, think of blue jewelry gifts for weddings and anniversaries, or associate it with doctors, social workers, humane society members, and even the kind of person who volunteers to help build homes for Habitat.
Many people believe that blue radiates a special kind of light to all such giving people. It has to do with soul connections, they say, things meaningful and sincere, things beyond the range of the everyday world. It is highly mystical. Blue is expressed beautifully in a ceramic stretch bracelet made of glazed beads that look like old turquoise. There is an added attraction here, beyond blue, and that is the antique factor that brings in a timeless character to the jewelry.
Likewise, blue is also considered the collective color of the spirit, generating a sense of oneness and interconnectedness, something we could all use more of in our present-day world. Naturally growing out of that is blue’s supposed ability to bring rest and relaxation as a powerful calming color. Unlike other colors and symbols in our society, blue is not gender-restricted in any way. It is equally popular with men and women, and sells equally well to both!
BLUE BOOK: Hey…but what about the word blue and its uses in our language? This gets us into a wholly different idea of blue, one that is not always so lighthearted and gay. There is, for example, nothing wonderful about feeling blue. Or, coming up against some outdated blue laws. Or having to deal with blue noses. On the other hand, out of the blue can refer to a wonderful surprise, a blue ribbon winner is hot stuff, and true blue has real positive grit.
And what is more American than singing the Blues? This is a musical form that has red, white, and blue painted all over it. Blues singing phenomenon Billie Holiday asked us years ago, “Am I blue?” and answered it herself, saying, “You’d be too, if each plan with your man done fell through.” That’s the real blues.
Stay with it for a while. Sometimes feeling blue feels good. Later, when you want to cheer things up a bit, you can always try slipping on a spear-shaped turquoise pendant. It is blue, too, but it works beautifully to neutralize the negative without doing it in. After all, we might be suffering but we all love the blues. Another idea: try adding a large turquoise pendant in the shape of a circle to your product mix. Worn on a long chain, it combines color and movement trends for a double-mood benefit.
Blue has always been significant in religious beliefs. Among other things, it is thought to keep evil spirits away. In the Hindu religion, blue is the color of Lord Krishna. In the Middle East, blue is considered a protective color. To Catholics, blue is the color of the Virgin Mary. Handsome blue lapis lazuli crosses have deep Christian significance and, at the same time, express Eastern and Western spirituality beautifully.
ART AND THE COLOR BLUE: The Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh was especially fond of the color blue, and purposely used it to set a mood. “Instead of trying to exactly paint what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of color to express myself more forcefully,” he said. Monet made comparable visual statements with his moody and magnificent blue-toned water lily canvases.
But perhaps the most electric artist in the blue field was the Dutch artist Jan Vermeer, whose unforgettable portraits of A Young Girl Wearing a Pearl Earring, or The Kitchen Maid demonstrated a blue so extraordinary it has entranced art lovers for centuries.
Finally, one word about the color blue’s connection to water. We’ve already mentioned water lilies, but there is so much more! Almost any water activity or study has blue as a backdrop consciousness. The Astrological Sign of Pisces is a water sign. The implications are deep, intense. A fitting product from the water is shell, taken from various sea animals and used for jewelry in many ways. One lovely aqua clam shell necklace and earrings set features dyed shell enhanced by sequins and glass seed beads, culminating in a fabulous bejeweled combination of the color blue and sparkling light.
A water spectacular!