Color Complements – Adding Zing to the Customer’s Jewelry Color Palette

By Cynthia Sliwa


Earlier this week, I wrote about the power of repeating the color of a customer’s eyes. Today I’ll talk about a technique to heighten and emphasize that color or most any color.


Think of a color wheel. There are six basic hues – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet (note that the preferred term is “violet” rather than “purple”). On the color wheel, red is directly across from green, orange is across from blue, and yellow is across from violet. These pairs of colors are complementary colors or complements.


The pairings themselves are fairly easy to remember. Think of classic Christmas colors (red and green), classic Easter colors (yellow and violet), and, if you will, the team colors of the Chicago Bears (blue and orange) (hey, I’ll always be a Chicago girl).


If you want to highlight blue eyes, consider using fire opals or other orange gemstones to make the blue hue pop. Similarly, green eyes can be emphasized through the use of rubies and other red gems. Amber-colored eyes will be brought out through the use of amethysts and other violet-hued stones. Complementary colors in close proximity to each other have the effect of intensifying both colors. To really bring out the color of eyes, use the complementary color in earrings, a necklace or a brooch worn close to the face.


If you want to be even more precise about color pairings, consider that between any two of the six basic hues are additional hues that are a meld of their two neighboring colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet. And yes, these hues also can be matched with their complements (red-orange with blue-green, yellow-orange with blue-violet and yellow-green with red-violet).


Someone with dark brown or black eyes won’t have this particular technique available relative to finding complementary hues for his or her eye colors. Brown and black serve as neutral colors for that individual’s personal color palette. So too, the whites of that person’s eyes are another neutral. Not to worry! If you can determine if that customer’s coloring is warm, cool or a combination, you’ll be able to introduce a wide range of gemstone colors that will be flattering.


Today’s Jewel

You needn’t memorize which pairs of colors are complements. Draw a quick circle, divide it into six sections and label the sections R, O, Y, G, B, V. Then you can easily see how the complements line up across from each other. You may be able to introduce your customers to new gemstones and color combinations that bring out the colors of their eyes to a most flattering effect.