Spectrum vs. ColorChart

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   Posted by: Joy Alyssa Day in jewelry

Recently I was asked to produce visible light spectrum pendant necklaces. The lady who asked runs a wonderful scientific website called ScienceMall and she had been selling pendants that claimed to be spectrum, but didn't have the entire visible spectrum in them. When she called and talked with the sellers, they didn't understand what she meant. They were not scientists, not educated about visible light spectrum versus simple rainbow or color charts.

It's a pretty cool thing, really, and I'm honored to help spread the word and teach the difference.

As an artist, I'm very familiar with the color charts showing the 3 primary colors - Red, Yellow, Blue, and the 3 secondary colors - Orange, Green, Purple.  And even the charts that go into the tertiary colors like this one:

Color Wheel

Color Wheel

But in the visible light spectrum, it's common to use the memory game Roy G. Biv to indicate the colors of the different wavelengths of visible light. This stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. This originally came from Aristotle, who charted out the colors to explain color mixing from primaries to achieve every other color. His first color charts only had five colors, but he later added Orange and Indigo (Blue-Violet in the above color wheel).

The mnemonic RoyGBiv kept the distinction of Indigo alive, so when I was asked to produce a full spectrum pendant, I knew what she was asking for.

Roy G Biv Visible Light Spectrum

Roy G Biv Visible Light Spectrum

Finding suitable colors in our glass shop took a little bit of testing but we came up with a wonderful spectrum of gorgeous colors and I began to swirl them together into one pendant, with red at one end and violet at the other, just like how the light wavelengths are.

Since I'm just not much of one for strict lines and exact shapes, I developed this spectrum of colors into a wonderful organic shape for a pendant:

Spectrum WiggleWorm

Spectrum WiggleWorm

It reminded me of a gummy worm, so I named it a WiggleWorm, but was unsure if anyone would actually be interested in it, since it was a worm after all...  I kept it on my desk for a few days thinking about the shape, the color, the feel of it. I finally noticed that I kept holding it, running my fingers over it. If I was wearing it as a pendant, I would absolutely love the sleek feel of the glass and the gentle curving. I also loved the way the colors blended into each other, making the spectrum truly like visible light as there was no clear defining line between the colors.

I decided I loved it.  I hope you do to.


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2 Responses to: Spectrum vs. ColorChart

  • Karla Patterson Says:

    I keep a crystal prism on my desk because I really enjoy light and color. Your pendant is very pretty. I think that one of the reasons that I love glass so much is it's connection to the ocean and to light.


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