The great Oz of color pronouncements, Pantone, has declared Emerald the hue for you in 2013. This gemstone green replaces last year's Tangerine Tango and is packed with potential. The color of money, envy and environmentalists, it promises to bring new life to tired wardrobes and rooms while adding depth and sophistication. Like the Emerald Isle or the Emerald City or the emerald cut, it's a color with romantic magical qualities.
"The prevalence of green has been steadily rising for several seasons now, especially in the fashion and couture markets, and even on the red carpet," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, the color-standards division of X-Rite Inc. "Emerald was chosen for 2013 because it is the color of balance and harmony, enhancing one's sense of well-being and inspiring insight and clarity. Green is the most abundant hue in nature -- the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum. Emerald is a lively, radiant and lush green."
Most often associated with the precious gem, the perception of emerald is sophisticated and luxurious, according to Pantone. Since antiquity, it's been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It's also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity. But, interestingly, during the 19th century it became the color of death.
A new formula for emerald green was developed in England in 1808 using arsenic as its base. Because it was cheap and attractive, it was used extensively for both artist and household paint and for wallpaper, making damp rooms death traps. It was also used in clothing dyes, and high levels of arsenic were found in everyday items such as socks (giving new meaning to the phrase "my clothes are killing me"). It is thought that Napoleon's death may have been hastened this way.
For more than a decade, Pantone's Color of the Year has influenced product development in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design. Perhaps next year we will all click our heels and ruby will reign as the new king of the color spectrum.