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Red lights our hearts on fire. It is the color of blood and fire, anger, adventure,
power, passion. It can be overused; we see red throughout the shopping season from
November through February until finally displays switch to light blues or greens.
"My love is like a red, red rose..." - a familiar verse of poetry from
a 1794 song from Scotsman Robert Burns. Red is also the longest wavelength that our
eyes can perceive, and has the widest waveband (620nm - 750nm). Our eyes have the largest
percentage of cones sensitive to red wavelengths, and while it's true that using a red light
source in the darkness will not affect your night vision as much as white light because of the
reduced sensitivity of the rods to longer wavelength red light, what's more important is
to use low-light intensity. Photography papers aren't as sensitive to red light either, but
as anyone hanging out in a darkroom can attest, the room is generally dark!
Ruby is the obvious gemstone choice for deep, rich red. Pyrope garnet and spinel also have terrific deep
red color. Most of the other "red" gemstones are pink: rhodonite, rhodochrosite,
pink topaz, pink sapphire and rose quartz, and manganese or chromium are trace elements giving rise
to pink colors. Rose quartz is often dyed, though I prefer the naturally colored stones and use them
whenever possible. Naturally pink topaz is quite rare, and like blue topaz, most pink topaz on the
market has been irradiated to enhance color.
The Swarovski crystal color "ruby" can be difficult to find but the color - like its
gemstone namesake - is well worth the search. "Siam" is a nice deep blood red, and there
are many shades of pink: "rose", "light rose", "Indian pink",
"vintage rose" and "rosaline".
Deep red dyed pearls are uncommon but pale pink dyed pearls are plentiful and quite pretty.
Wood with red dyes or stains have a striking but still natural look, and red-dyed fibers will
always be eye-catchers.
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