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Color Combinations For Jewelry Making Using The Color Wheel

Color Combinations For Jewelry Making Using The Color Wheel

Finding the right color combinations for bead bracelets and necklaces can be as overwhelming as choosing paint colors for your home. With so many colors and shades of gems to choose from, a color wheel can be helpful to provide ideas for winning complementing colors. 

The color wheel holds entirely new meaning when we understand its components and which color mixtures result in others.  Take a moment to analyze the statements below while looking at the color wheel graphic above. 

  • All colors are essentially blends of Red, Yellow, and Blue - these are known as Primary colors. 
  • Mixing equal amounts of the Primary colors results in Purple, Orange, and Green - these are known as Secondary colors. 
  • Mixing Secondary colors with their adjacent Primary colors, or mixing unequal amount of Primary colors result in Tertiary colors. These are Amber, Vermilion, Magenta, Violet, Teal, and Chartreuse. 
  • Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel are known as Complementary colors. Examples are Blue and Orange, Yellow and Purple, Red and Green. 

Now that we've covered the basics of color theory, let's look at some practical color schemes that you can integrate into your jewelry.

Complementary Color Scheme

Complementary Color Scheme
Complementary colors are those that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors are great for making bold high contrast pieces, or adding just a touch of uniqueness when incorporating only a few small pieces of the complementing color.

Rectangle Color Scheme

Rectangular Color Scheme
The rectangular or tetradic color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementing pairs. This scheme always makes for very colorful jewelry with a cohesive feeling given the closeness of the short end pairs.

Analogous Color Scheme

Analogous Color Scheme
Analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel. An analogous color scheme in your jewelry can be as pronounced as the colors shown in the wheel or as slight as simple hue changes.

Triadic Color Scheme

Triadic Color Scheme
Triadic colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel, with each color being being equally opposite the other. This scheme offers a lot of options as a slight rotation of the triangle produces an entirely different color grouping.

Square Color Scheme

Square Color Scheme
The square color scheme is similar to the rectangle, but with four colors evenly spaced around the color wheel. This makes for colorful yet contrast pieces that can project a feeling happiness and vigor in the wearer.

Split Complementary Color Scheme

Split Complement Color Scheme
The split complementary scheme is a play on the complementary color scheme that uses two adjacent complementary colors opposite a base color, yellow in this case. This scheme is great for incorporating accents in your jewelry designs particularly in pieces of predominantly base color with less of the split complements. Or it can be used in the other direction, adding the base color sparing to jewelry made mostly of the split complements, giving your design a more striking appearance.

Shop Gemstone Beads by Color

Sometimes looking a color wheel for ideas can provide just enough direction activate the creative mind to create something beautiful! And of course, there are many other ways to match colors when dealing with whites, grays, and monochromatic tones. Use your intuition and do what makes you feel great! 

Share your favorite color combinations with the community by commenting below!

Comments on this post (10)

  • Aug 21, 2023

    Love this article! I’ve seen many color wheel articles but none specifically dealing with jewelry . Very simple, but informative work. Thank you!🥰

    — Nancy

  • Aug 21, 2023

    This article and the accompanying illustrations are very helpful, especially information on using more than 2 colors. Thanks!

    — Carol Casey

  • Aug 21, 2023

    With my background as a painter, I was familiar with complementary colors…but I found this article very helpful with the additional color relationships you provide! Thanks so much.
    PS. I love working with your material…alway high quality.

    — Shelley Herman

  • May 10, 2023

    Very inspiring color-wheel information. Thanks so much!

    — Nancy K

  • Dec 02, 2022

    I only buy my gemstones beads at Tejas because they are beautiful and genuine and I like that the company moved to Massachusetts because I Sam originally from MA and currently living in Maine so I get my beads shipped to me within a short period of time.

    — Julie Doherty

  • Oct 31, 2022

    Love this article! And I love your beads even more! Thanks so much!

    — Susan MacKay

  • Mar 28, 2022

    Love this article! It truly is all about colors. My favorite combos are Teal, and Red, and use of the triangle color scheme, where you can have multiple colors in your design.

    — Anna McHone

  • May 31, 2021

    The color wheel makes a lot of sense. Thank You.

    — Thelma Wiggins

  • Jan 19, 2021

    Thanks for the color wheel.

    — Bill Russell

  • Dec 31, 2020

    I love your beads and thank you for the color wheel. Please send me updates so I may shop.

    — Gretchen Bianca

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