Mood rings. They were so cool in 1975 before they turned into something so uncool just a short time later. Theoretically it’s a great idea – a piece of jewelry that will reflect your state of mind; but then again, why in the world would you need a piece of jewelry to let you know when you are feeling stressed or calm, imaginative or romantic? So maybe the ring was supposed to communicate your mood to those around you … when your friends saw your ring was green (normal) they knew it was safe to hang, but when your stone was white (frustrated) everyone could clear out. But that doesn’t sound so excellent either. Maybe that’s why the mood ring fad was so short-lived.
In 1975, jewelry designer Marvin Wernick accompanied a physician friend to an emergency and marveled when his friend applied thermotropic (meaning, changed by temperature) tape to a child’s forehead to take her temperature. And so the idea for the mood ring was born. Wernick took a hollow glass shell, filled it with thermotropic liquid crystals, and attached the glass shell to a ring so that when worn on the finger, the thermotropic material would change temperatures and color. Voila!
But, Wernick never patented his idea, and Joshua Reynolds (who reportedly invented the Thighmaster, adn was the heir to the Richard Joshua Reynolds tobacco fortune) quickly swooped in, stole the wave, and created the mood ring fad as we remember it today. Reynolds envisioned the rings as “portable biofeedback aids”, and managed to sell $1 million worth of them in a three month period in 1975. Even so, his company went bankrupt, victim of a flooded market of imitations, all of which are still available today.
The lesson we should all learn from this one – patent, patent, patent!