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Party Dresses: 13 Jewel-Tone Colors for Year Round Style

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Many women think of winter velvets and Baroque brocades when they imagine jewel-toned party dresses. And, I used to consider jewel tones to be colors worn in fall and winter, but these rich hues are also wonderful for dressy spring and summer occasions… like destination weddings, fancy-dancy cruise dinners, and swank fundraisers.

Party wear is all about fabric and cut, so your favorite jewel tones can be just as fabulous for summer holidays as they are for Christmas holidays.

Well, velvets should be reserved for fall and winter. However, other jewel-tone colored fabrics (lace, brocade, chiffon, etc.) can be worn year-round… as long as the fabric weight and the sleeve length don’t make the dress too warm for hot summer nights.

What Are Jewel Tones?

You, of course, already know that jewel tones consist of all the deep, rich, fabulous colors of gemstones. However, I believe that most boldly saturated or shimmery colors (with the exception of neons) should be considered jewel tones… even if no one knows the name of the gem that the color represents.

All of the dresses in the photos are examples of (currently trendy) jewel tones that look as good in summer as they do in fall or winter. We’ll start from the top and go down.

Main Photo at Top:

  • 1. Green Citrine or Chrysoberyl: Yes, this chartreuse hue is actually a gemstone color, and it’s perfect for spring and summer.
  • 2. Pink Tourmaline: This fuchsia tone is a perfect color for year-round wear.
  • 3. Dark Amethyst: Purple and lavender are almost universally flattering. For this reason, it’s a great choice for bridesmaid’s dresses.
  • 4. Turquoise: Turquoise runs from light to dark and from green to blue. This is another color that looks good on most women.
2. Plus Jeweltone Dresses

2. Plus Jewel tone Dresses

Photo 2:

  • 5. Lapis lazuli: Lapis is a blue gemstone, similar to sapphire but less shiny.
  • 6. Dark Coral: Real coral can be almost any color, but fabrics labeled coral are usually some combination of pink and orange.
  • 7. Yellow Topaz: Topaz, like most of these stones can be many different colors, but most people think of golden yellow.

Are Gold and Silver Jewel-Toned Colors?

I break the rules by considering gold and silver to be jewel tones. And, that’s because some gems (like lapis lazuli and turquoise) are often flecked with golden or silvery pyrite inclusions. And, who cares about the official definition of gemstones anyway? Gold and silver (and other shiny metals) just “feel” like jewels to me.

3. Jewel tone Party Dresses

3. Jewel tone Party Dresses

Photo 3:

  • 8. Garnet: This long plus-sized dress is garnet and gold. Garnet is a red gemstone, which usually has an orange or brown cast, making garnet fabulous for fall, but garnet is also a cute color when you have a summer tan.
  • 9. Amber: Amber is a golden yellow with a hint of brown. It can be hard for women with my coloring to wear it, so if it looks good on you, you should wear it everywhere… year round. I love the glow of amber.
  • 10. Emerald: Emerald is the richest, most glorious shade of green (in my opinion). It used to be a “winter” color, but now we wear it all year. It’s a fabulous “party” color.

Black is a Jewel Tone?

Yes, black (as in onyx or jet) is an honorary jewel tone, even though most people do not think of it as such. And, because black is a jewel tone, it looks damn fine when it’s paired with other intense gemstone colors.

4. Long Jeweltone Dresses

4. Long Jeweltone Dresses

Photo 4:

  • 11. Sapphire: Sapphire is a rich blue like lapis, but I use the word sapphire when a fabric has more shine or shimmer.
  • 12. Ruby Red: Rubies come in several versions of red. This is the brightest ruby color.
  • 13. Purple Tourmaline: This reddish purple color is amazing on most skintones, especially fair skintones.

What Jeweltones Are Best for Your Coloring?

No matter what skintone you have, there is at least one jeweltone that will give your complexion a beautiful glow. If you’re fair, you might like blue tones. If you’re a natural redhead, you might look best in golden amber or garnet red.

However, most Americans have such unique family combinations… I mean, if your family has been in the United States for several generations, it’s unlikely that everyone in your family came from the same small village in Ireland or Italy. It’s much more likely that you’re part Irish AND Italian AND Chinese… Hey, you’re unique. Your coloring is unique. Try all the different jeweltones and see which ones make you smile.

All Jewel Tones Go Together

In my opinion, you can pair any jewel tone color with any other jewel tone color and end up with a beautiful combination. Jewel tones are nature’s colors… the colors of vivid flowers and verdant greenery and voluptuous rocks. If you put Mother Nature’s hues together, you’ll end up with a natural party.


Don’t be afraid of strange-sounding color combinations. Try pairing an emerald party dress with amethyst shoes and an amber purse… or try an amber dress with a ruby purse and turquoise shoes… or try whatever unique combination of jewel tones you can come up with. Chances are it will look fabulous on you.

Note: All these photos come from Asos and prshots.com, but look around to find the right jewel tone dress in your size and price range. It's out there. I promise.

Additional Ideas for Party Dresses in Jewel Tones:

If you're looking for something in a beautiful color, you might luck out at one of these places, where I've set up the links to go to jewel tone dresses. It may take a sec to get to the page:

This store has reasonable prices for most items:

  • Plus size evening gowns in jewel tones from a US store that sells fashion from London designers. I have shopped at this site and I've liked what I've bought. It's a great store, even though you may not have heard of it. Don't be afraid to try a UK store. It's mostly for the under-35 crowd, but you'll recognize stuff that's good for your age range when you see it.

If price is no object because it's your daughter's wedding or you're going on a cruise around the world:

Of course, you can find cute jewel tone party dresses on other sites. These are just some of the stores where I have been shopping for years. Most of the clothing sites that advertise here have good jewel tone dresses from time to time. You just have to look around to find the right dress at the right price... and then... if the stars are in alignment and the Moon is in Aquarius and the gods are smiling upon you... you'll find that dress in your size.

More Fashion Articles for Women Over 40, 50, 60:

A Non-Dress for Your Wedding: Alternatives for Indie Brides

5 Easy to Wear Kimono Styles

Wearable Spring & Summer Fashion Trends: 9 Ways to Add Color

Trendy New Ways to Wear Pearls

Photo Credits: prshots.com.

  • Main Photo: Asos, Ganni, Little Mistress, Coast
  • Plus Jewel Tone Dresses: Asos Curve, Lipstick Boutique, Asos Curve
  • Jeweltone Party Dresses: Asos Curve (2), New Look Inspire
  • Long Jeweltone Dresses: Coast, Virgos Lounge (2)

What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page or give us a Google Plus. Some of these links go to affiliate sites, however I never tell you to shop someplace I wouldn't shop.


Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. kay kerns

    Beautiful dresses You're right there is a jewel tone for every complexion

    • Tina-Boomerina


      You gave me the idea with your peacock jewel tone pin. Thanks... I love jewel tones, but I usually wore them as fall and winter wear. Thanks for the idea.

  2. kate

    Ok. That almost citrine-colored dress with the slit in front- at the top of the page. ... where did that fabulous frock come from? ! Please help! -katie

    • Tina-Boomerina


      It's from Asos.com, but their site is down so I can't check to see what they still have available. OMG, I don't see the photo credit info. Did I forget to add it to this article? Asos seems to have had a fire at their warehouse so they are offline temporarily. If I can find the dress in my photo file, I'll let you know who made it and we might be able to run it down at a different site.


  3. Jennifer

    I love the dress in #8 - do you remember where you found it?

  4. Roberta

    I might be beantig a dead horse, but thank you for posting this!