Pantone has made its 2019 Color of the Year official: Living Coral. The oceanic shade ought to start its ascent to the top any moment now, or at least, once the holidays are over.
Clearly, my predictions were wrong. I had hoped to see shades like Princess Blue or Aspen Gold, also from Pantone’s Spring/Summer 2019 Report, crowned Color of the Year. But the only thing predictable about Pantone’s choices, it seems, is that they won’t be ones I necessarily agree with.
Pantone may be onto something, though, as this isn’t the first orangey-pink shade to garner attention. KitchenAid’s 2018 Color of the Year, Bird of Paradise, though softer and more muted, is in the same family as Living Coral.
Like Pantone’s past picks of Rose Quartz (2016), Emerald (2013), and Turquoise (2010), Living Coral shares an interest with the jewelry industry in its reference to gemstones. This year’s selection is not without controversy, though, at least where the industry is concerned.
If we’re to take the color literally, then we’re encouraged to stock more coral. But coral has become quite the topic of debate, given its origins—the Great Barrier Reef being one, where half of its coral has reportedly died since 2016. A New York Times article published by our own editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky back in 2009 details the jewelry industry’s stance on coral—divided—where some companies, such as Tiffany & Co., refuse to sell it at all.
Other companies, such as Assael, whose jewels are pictured here, claim to use only ethically and legally sourced coral in the creation of its jewelry (you can read about that in further detail, here). The jewels are beautiful, no question, so the choice is left up to the jeweler to decide what—if any—kind of coral jewelry to stock. Responsibly sourced, vintage, or—and I’m sure this exists somewhere—man-made.
If one is disinclined to sell the stone in-store, there are plenty of other, less literal, options to celebrate the Color of the Year. Morganite, for one, has that similar peachy-pink shade, and padparadscha sapphire is a superb choice, for any reason, as is pink tourmaline.
I would have liked to see a calming shade of blue as Pantone’s selection for 2019. That said, I’m looking forward to what comes of Living Coral in the jewelry, fashion, and home decor sectors. These jewels are a very convincing place to start.
At top: Mandala necklace in 18k yellow gold with rhodochrosite and diamonds, $7,000 (sold); Brooke Gregson