Jewel tones are rich color tones which resemble well known gemstones, either precious or semi-precious. Typically, jewel tones have a high level of color saturation, which makes them very dynamic and distinctive. There are a wide range of uses for jewel tones, from designer clothing to websites with rich interfaces which are meant to pop in the eyes of viewers. Many colors in this family also have traditional or religious significance, and they often appear in works of art.
Some examples of jewel tones include emerald green, amethyst purple, ruby red, topaz yellow, sapphire blue, tourmaline green, and turquoise blue. Almost any colored gemstone can be replicated with a jewel tone, although some are certainly more famous than others. In general, a jewel tone is very bold, and it exemplifies the classic color associated with a particular gemstone. For example, although sapphires come in a range of colors and saturations, sapphire blue is a very distinctive, rich, heavy blue.
In textiles, jewel tones can create a very lush look, especially when they are layered or paired with other jewel tones. Jewel toned textiles can be found in fashion design, bedding, and drapes. Jewel toned rugs are also quite popular, especially in classical design since they can lend an air of rich distinction to a room. Complimentary jewel tones like amethyst purple and topaz yellow can be used for a particularly vibrant effect, as long as the level of saturation is similar so that the two colors do not clash.
In graphic design, jewel tones are used in varying amounts to create a distinctive desired look. Many graphic designers take advantage of the rich look of jewel tones in one-color work, since these colors are so lush and dynamic that they can make one color quite distinctive and elegant, as opposed to a single color design with pastels or earth tones, which could look dull and lifeless. Some jewel tones even become associated with specific branding and companies; Tiffany Blue, for example, is a distinctive shade of sapphire blue.
It is, of course, possible to overdo it with jewel tones. An entire room decorated only in jewel tones would feel heavy and overwhelming, for example, as would an entire jewel toned outfit. Many people enjoy playing with these lush colors, and you can get some excellent ideas for the use of jewel tones in home design stores and fashionable boutiques.