I stood in the lobby of our store today and watched a customer browsing the earring section. Picking some up to her face and overlooking others, she was entranced by the glittering stones on the rotating rack. I wondered how she would make the decision on which earrings to choose, having not decided on a dress yet. She quickly moved on, but I remained, standing before this enormous glass case of jewelry catching and reflecting the light with every color of the rainbow. Turns out, knowing your accessories is just as important when choosing a prom dress as knowing what silhouette, designer, or fabric you like in a gown. Dazzled by the jewelry cases and overwhelmed by the sheer size of the selection, I set out to find the meaning behind the sparkling madness.

There are three main types of stones that you’ll find all over the store in addition to sequins of every shape, size and color.

1. Clear

Clear jewelry is what most people think of when they imagine social occasion jewelry. Shiny, sparkling, crystalline pieces. Most wedding dresses have clear crystals on them as opposed to the next two types of stones.

2. AB

AB jewelry is not hard to distinguish from its clear cousin once you know what to look for. “AB” is short for aurora borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights. I won’t pretend to understand the science behind the aurora borealis, but I do know that the sight of such a phenomenon reveals beautiful greens, blues, yellows, and reds. The same can be found in AB jewelry.

3. Vitril

Vitril is the new AB, so I’m told. The black backing transforms the stone into darker, organic gemstone looking piece with reflections of deep purples and greens. Vitril stones have not yet become as popular as clear or AB style stones, but the difference is so striking, we may be seeing more and more of the vitril variety in the next few prom seasons.


The decision between clear, AB, or vitril should come down to the type of stone on the dress that looks best on you. Once you find a gown that you love, take a look at the details. Clear stones (think cubic zirconium) and AB (think diamonds) are the two you are most likely to run into. Vitril stones (I don’t have a comparison for this one, but you’ll know them when you see them now) are pretty designer specific and haven’t made a huge impact on current prom trends just yet. They are also in their own category. For example, a necklace made of vitril stones will only look put together and polished on a dress that also features vitril stones. AB and clear offer a little more flexibility. A pair of clear earrings will go with anything, but looks best with other clear stones. However, a AB stone bracelet will look out of place with a dress containing clear jewelry.

Cheat sheet:

Clear jewelry goes best with clear stone dresses
AB jewelry goes best with AB stone dresses
Vitril jewelry only goes with vitril stone dresses
Clear jewelry can go with AB stone dresses
Clear jewelry can go with vitril stone dresses
AB jewelry can go with vitril stone dresses
AB jewelry does not go well with clear stone dresses


Now tell us what you think? Are you on the AB bandwagon? Or do you prefer something a little funky like vitril stones? What kind of stones does your prom dress have?