Thursday, July 13, 2017

Describing Our Colorful Fair Trade Jewelry

What's in a name? By any other name that orange necklace would be as beautiful. Ah - I love quoting from Shakespeare...well sort of from Shakespeare. I was obsessing about color descriptions yesterday when I was photographing Dunitz & Company's colorful fair trade jewelry on a young and pretty model. In this particular case, we had decked her out in an ensemble of orange goodies. There are so many shades of orange, it got me thinking. Just calling these pieces orange is too generic.  (Have you ever lingering over the paint chip displays at the hardware store? Now that's a job I'd like. I'd like to spend countless hours researching what to name all the hues and tints of wall coloring.) If someone is looking at this photo, they get a sense of what they see. And, if you're describing the pieces without the help of a photo, 'just orange' will never cut it. My first sense was to describe this collection as "Persimmon".  And then I thought, not everyone will really know what that color is. Are they Coral? Coral comes in so many shades. Although most people perceive coral as darker as opposed to lighter. (My experience has proved that many of my clients believe Coral to be closer to red.) Oh my. Tangerine? Maybe this looks more Tangelo. What did I go with? Coral/Tangerine.

I could designate this ribbon necklace 'orange' as well. If you saw the photo, you could decide whether you liked it or not. You could decide if the color was for you or not. And how would you describe it? What if you didn't have a photo and you were describing it to a friend? It could be Coral. But that would be a long way off from the Coral in the above photo. Other choices? Salmon seems a good one. That sort of conjures up an impression of a pinky-orange. Peach? Some peaches are pinkish. Others are not.  Tea Roses seem a bit orangish. The verdict. Sometimes I refer to shades similar to this as Salmon. In this case I used Apricot. Would you have known what I meant?  Good thing you can see these and other fair trade jewelry designs on the Dunitz & Company website!

I'm sort of enjoying this color test.  It seems reminiscent of those color quizzes that have been showing up on Facebook lately. You know, the ones that depending on your answers they can guess your age? OK, let's continue.
You might call these Dunitz & Company fair trade earrings apricot, no? But how can we call these apricot when we used that description for the ribbon necklace above? Can you imagine how many hours we spend just thinking about colors and descriptions? The pink we called 'bubble gum' - perfect for summer fun yes? But how could I describe the orange beads? Cantaloupe came to mind. Ah that's it. "Melon" seems a bit sexier. So there it is. Bubble Gum and Melon! You know by actually seeing the earrings, we meant cantaloupe melon. (I'm afraid we'd be in trouble if you didn't have the earrings in your view. What if you had thought of honeydew? Now that would be a bad description.) How might you have described the color combination of these earrings?

The lines do blur. Sometimes shades of yellow might be considered orange. Think Marigold. Sometimes shades of brown might be considered orange. Think bricks and some coffee beans. If someone used the description "carrot" I'm almost sure all carrots are about the color. On the other hand, "pumpkin" might bring up all sorts of different visions. Carved Halloween pumpkins just aren't the same color as pumpkin pie.  Amber. Marmalade. Honey. Yam. Cider. Sherbert. Monarch. Goldfish. Basketball. Papaya. Creamsicle. Candlelight. Ginger. Sunrise. Sunset. And until now, I bet you hadn't spent this much energy thinking about shades of orange. As a designer of handmade and fair trade jewelry, I'm thinking about shades of orange all the time. -ND