What’s in a color? Blue says a lot!

Blue sapphires are the most popular non-diamond gemstone sold in the world.

It’s no wonder why natural blue sapphires are the most popular sapphires sold in the world, as the most popular color in polls is always blue!

Here at The Natural Sapphire Company blue sapphires are our most popular color, whether it be sold as a loose stone or mounted in a sapphire ring or other piece of sapphire jewelry.

Take a look at this interesting survey on color preference provided by:

(Birren, Faber., Color Psychology and Color Therapy. New Hyde Park, New York: University Books, Inc., 1961)

Preferences- Favorite Color

Our preference for a specific color can be related to how we feel in any situation, how we want to feel, and even how we remember certain experiences (to name a few). This section, which is closely associated with the previous section color associations, presents the survey participants preferences and how they vary between age groups and gender. This first section examines the question of favorite color for all participants regardless or gender or age. Figure 6.1 below presents this information in graphical form.

Graphical Form of Favorite Colors

Blue, for this group of people, is the most favored choice of the 8 colors available. Blue is an interesting color in that people tend to choose it as a favorite, but it is usually associated with sadness and depression. Birren notes that blue is commonly associated with adjectives like cold, subduing, sober, gloom and fearfulness (Color Psychology and Color Therapy, 143). Although some studies have suggested that blue can represent feelings that are sad or not happy, people tend to like the hue of blue (and like colors) because they have a calming and relaxing affect.

Favorite Color by Gender

When this data is examined further and filters of gender and age are applied, some interesting results surface. The two pie charts below represent favorite colors of each gender.

Graphical form of the Female Favorite Colors

A review of color studies by Eysenck in the early 1940’s notes that St. George (1938) maintained that blue for men stands our far more than for women. Related to different colors, Eysenck’s study also found that the most significant gender difference is yellow being preferred to orange by women and orange to yellow by men. Natalia Khouw states, “this finding was reinforced later by Birren in 1952 who found men preferred orange to yellow; while women placed orange at the bottom” (The Meaning of Color for Gender, 1). Both these published results correlate to the survey results collected in this study.

Favorite Color by Age Group

Color preferences differ by the age of the participant. Birren states in his book that blue and red maintain a high preference throughout life, but colors seem to drop down the list while other colors become more preferred. Yellow, for example, is well liked by children, but begins to drop away by people as they become adults. Birren states, “With maturity comes a greater liking for hues of shorter wave length (blue, green, purple) than for hues of longer wave length (red, orange, and yellow)” (Color Psychology and Color Therapy, 176). Below is a graphical representation of the survey results for a favorite color by age group.

Graphical Form of Favorite Colors by Age

As you can see, blue, green, and purple make up the majority of responses. What’s interesting is the preference of green in the younger age groups and the preference of purple in the older age groups. One could say, by looking at this graph alone, that as people become older their preference for purple increases, while their preference for green decreases. Previous academic or research publications regarding this specific anomaly were not found during this project so the ability to compare and contrast these results with other results isn’t possible at this time. M. M. Terwogy and J. B. Hoeksma did a research study on colors and emotions with regards to preferences and combinations and they noted that as people get older, their preferences are likely to change as a result of social and cultural influences. They state, “As children grow up they learn that the expression of anger is often punished. They also learn that the color black (within Western culture) is associated with mourning.” (Color and Emotions, 7) They also state that the effects of color preferences are still present at later stages of life, but these preferences are outweighed by other (as yet unidentified) factors (Color and Emotions, 16).