Designing with Neutral and Universal Colors
by Cathryn Jakicic
Neutral colors can be brown, cream beige, tan, taupe, black, white. Universal colors may include khaki, navy and olive. Some of you may feel that designing with neutrals and universals is easier than designing with color. Others may find it quite challenging.


Though neutral colors - like brown, cream beige, tan and taupe - may seem like they don't lean in any particular direction (the absence of color), they are the combination of all three primary colors in different proportions. So they can have undertones of red, yellow or blue. Warm neutrals have a greater proportion of red and yellow. Cool neutrals have more blue.

White and black - and the grays made by combining them - are not made by mixing the primaries, but for design purposes are considered neutrals. They too tend to lean toward warm or cool tones. Grays created from mixing back and white tend to be cool. A grayish brown (griege or taupe) is a mix of all the primary colors and is warm.



Even black and white lean toward warm or cool. Just take a look at the color chips from a paint display to see the amazing range of shades within the labels of "white" or "black."

When working with neutral beads, being aware of these underlying tones can make all the difference in your design. Picking up the neutral's undertone with your other color or metal choices will create harmony. Using colors that are complementary to the undertones will create a dynamic contrast - and a whole different feel for your jewelry.
Cathryn Jakicic's Designing with Neutral and Universal Colors - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, neutral colors
In fashion, colors that fall outside the white-black-brown family are sometimes called neutrals - a better term may be universal . These hues tend to work with all other colors without changing their impact.

It seems like a new "neutral" pops up every few years, but some current examples are navy, olive, and teal. Metallics are also often considered neutral.

Most people will have wardrobe staples in these colors - so it's a good idea to work them into your designs, whether you're making jewelry for yourself or selling your creations.

These universal colors suit just about everyone because the quality of the colors is a mix of a little bit of everything, according to an article on The Chic Fashionista website.

These colors are neither too dark nor light, warm nor cool, and not too overpowering. Who doesn't look good in teal? And olive can be mized effectively with everything from raspberry to navel and coral. Check out Heather Power's color inspiration article for some great ideas.

Gray can be a perfect companion to everything from lemon yellow to fire engine red, sea foam and violet.
Cathryn Jakicic's Designing with Neutral and Universal Colors - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, universal colors
Chic Fashionista's List of Universal Colors is as follows:

Off-white
Ivory
Mid-gray
Stone
Taupe
Pewter
Teal
Purple
Emerald Turquoise
Lavender

Neutral gemstones to explore:

Grays -
COOL - Banded agate, WARM - Willow Creek jasper
Whites -
COOL - Moonstone, WARM - Montana agate
Blacks -
COOL - Onyx, WARM - Sapphire
Browns -
COOL - Smoky quartz, WARM - Tiger eye

Universal gemstones to explore:

Pyrite
Blue apatite
Dumortierite
Amethyst
Lavender Amethyst

Neutral crystals to explore:

Grays -
COOL - Crystal light chrome, WARM- Light grey opal
Whites -
COOL - crystal AB, WARM - silk
Blacks -
COOL- Jet, WARM - Jet hematite
Browns -
COOL - Smoky quartz, WARM - Mocha

Universal crystals to explore:

Crystal silver night
Emerald
Dark indigo
Purple velvet
Violet

Materials

Matte Onyx 10mm Round Beads - 8 Inch Strand
A1-282
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  • Price: $8.07
  • Gold Club Price: $6.05
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Matte Onyx 10x20mm Rice Beads - 8 Inch Strand
A1-285
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  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Smoky Quartz 10x14mm Oval Beads - 8 Inch Strand
A1-456
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  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Pyrite 12mm Square Beads - 8 Inch Strand
A1-376
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  • Price: $8.47
  • Gold Club Price: $6.35
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13 Piece Snow Quartz Collar Set - Pack of 1
A2-1999G
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  • Price: $3.57
  • Gold Club Price: $2.68
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  • Category: Design
  • Technique(s): Design