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Crystal Gems, Homeworld Gems, Corrupted Gems, Fusion Gems, Minor Gem Characters, or gemstones.


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The Crystal Gems and Homeworld Gems.

"Gems" are an extraterrestrial species of magical beings that play a key role in Steven Universe. Gems are an interstellar race which 5,750 years ago maintained several outposts on Earth, with plans to completely colonize the planet, but were driven off by Rose Quartz's rebellion, leaving the Crystal Gems, and the Corrupted Gems, the only Gems on the planet, except for a small group of stranded Gems from the Gem Homeworld.

Gem characters

Gems

Semi-Gems

Fusion Gems

Minor Gem characters

Main article: Minor Gem Characters

Corrupted Gems

Main article: Corrupted Gems

Description

Steven tag

Garnet and Amethyst, shape-shifting to play Steven Tag.

Gems are characterized by the gemstone embedded somewhere on their body, which seems to be analogous to a brain or CPU.

BP - GarnetGIF

Garnet, altering her form.

Gems' physical forms are hard light projections from their gemstone, and Gems have the ability to customize their physical forms at will, with their only constant feature being their gemstone and color scheme (shapeshifting is not permanent and Gems will return to their "default" form eventually).[1] Although the species has no sexual dimorphism, Gems' physical forms typically have characteristics associated with human femininity. Because of this, all Gems are inherently sexless, with the sole exception being Steven, due to his half human parentage.

There are more than one type of gem, and there are more of the same type of gem. The gemstone can be located on many different parts of the body, regardless of what type of gem they are. For example, Rubies have been shown to have gems placed on the palm of the left hand, back of the right hand, and on the right shoulder.

Both hydro and weapons

An example of both Lapis Lazuli's hydrokinesis and the Crystal Gems summoning their weapons.

Gems have many abilities, which can vary from Gem to Gem, including weapon-summoning, fusion, the power to 'store' material in their gemstones, the ability to use their gemstones like a flashlight, and bubble creation. Note that some Gems, such as Lapis Lazuli, are not able to summon a personal weapon.[2] All Gems with their own weapon have the ability to direct energy through their weapons, such as Garnet using her gauntlets to charge Greg's van, Pearl firing an energy blast from the tip of her spear, and Amethyst sending bursts of energy through her whips.

Pearl Regeneration

Pearl, retreating to her gemstone.

Gems are engineered to adapt to a variety of conditions and cannot die by any natural cause, and do not have to eat and sleep to survive. Their bodies will also automatically alter themselves to fit the conditions of whatever planet they're on, including adjusting mass for gravity. They can, however, still eat and sleep if they so desire. The only way to permanently destroy or "kill" a Gem is to destroy their gemstone.[3] When the physical body of a Gem is seriously injured, they will retreat into their gemstone to regenerate. Regeneration is special in that Gems can make permanent changes to their physical form while regenerating. The length of the regeneration process can range from minutes to weeks, but a "rushed" regeneration can suffer from physical deformities. Regeneration can be prevented if a gemstone is bubbled or otherwise constricted, such as within a mirror[4], for example.

Less serious injuries can cause scratches and bruises without forcing regeneration. Gems can quickly recover from these sorts of injuries.[5]

Am glitch

Amethyst, "glitching".

If a Gem's gemstone is damaged, their physical form will deteriorate and "glitch," and they will be unable to properly use their powers as well as their language. It is also worth noting that a Gem's gemstone can be used as an energy source, even if damaged. Gem Shards, the remnants of a shattered gemstone, possess a "powerful partial consciousness" which can grant sentience to their containers and have been used to create drone soldiers.[6] Gem Shards have also been forced to fuse together over time to form a Cluster Gem.

While never explicitly stated, a serious flaw in the Gems design is the inability to die. Because Gems are created to regenerate from bodily damage, but cannot heal their gemstone on their own, a corrupted or damaged Gem will simply regenerate into a Gem Monster. Shattered Gems similarly will also attempt to regenerate but will only produce seemingly random appendages. This flaw in the Gems design has been noticed and exploited by Homeworld to create the Cluster.

Culture

Vlcsnap-2013-12-24-22h23m01s68

Ancient Gems at the Lunar Sea Spire.

GemLanguage

Examples of Gem language.

  • There are two known groups of Gems: Homeworld Gems and Crystal Gems.
    • Homeworld society is extremely advanced and imperialistic matriarchy which maintains a strict caste system based on Gemstone and an empire of terraformed colony worlds. All Gems lesser than the Great Diamond Authority are made to serve the Diamonds. Homeworld attempted to colonize Earth and established a foothold on the planet, by which they used to create new Gems, known as a Kindergarten. The Homeworld Gems, including Peridot, Jasper, Lapis Lazuli and their superior known as Yellow Diamond.
      • Homeworld society heavily stigmatizes fusion between Gems of different "types", and Fusion between Gems of the same "type" is reserved solely for combat.
    • The Crystal Gems are a group of rebels who chose to join Rose Quartz in the fight against Homeworld in order to defend Earth. The only Crystal Gems that remain are Garnet (the fusion of Ruby and Sapphire), Amethyst, Pearl, and Steven Universe, the son of Rose Quartz.
      • Peridot has joined the Crystal Gems as of "Message Received".
    • Over five thousand years prior to the start of the series, Rose Quartz organized the Crystal Gems to oppose the Homeworld Gems. The Crystal Gems won, as stated by Pearl in "Rose's Scabbard", and the Homeworld Gems were driven from Earth, leaving behind many relics and temples--remnants of the attempt to colonize Earth.
      • According to Peridot, Homeworld abandoned Earth, rather than lost it.
        Earth Colony Plans

        What Earth was projected to look like as a fully terraformed Gem colony.


        Yellow diamond 2

        A mural of Yellow Diamond.

  • Gem civilization is very advanced, capable of creating spaceships, pocket dimensions, and teleporters.
    • Gem spaceships were commonly used thousands of years ago and may now be considered archaic, due to the advent of teleporters. Current Gem technology is told by Lapis Lazuli to be advanced beyond her understanding.
  • Gem culture is quite different from human culture, given the Crystal Gems' confusion over seemingly everyday human cultural practices, such as birthdays and video games.
  • The Gem culture is an ancient one, predating all known human civilizations.
  • Individuality is not common among Gems as they primarily inherent to the behavior and preferences of their caste and types. The Crystal Gems are exceptions to this.
  • Most Gems hold little value for the preciousness of life. Being part of a society where several individuals shares the same basic character traits, the Gems have come to objectify people. As such, they tend to treat each other and themselves as disposable commodities. This indifferent outlook on the value of life extends to other species as they have destroyed numerous worlds to expand their empire without concern for the local inhabitants.
  • Gems have their own written language, which is inscribed on many of their temples, as first seen in Steven's Room in the "Pilot".
  • Gem architecture can be seen scattered across the Earth in the form of the structures, such as the Lunar Spire, the Communication Hub and the Galaxy Warp.
  • While there has never been mention of Gems practicing any form of spiritualism, the existence of the Moon Goddess Statue, along with the Sea Shrine and the Pyramid Temple, imply some sort of belief system.
  • While Gems are incapable of reproduction, romantic relationships do exist in their society, such as that of Ruby and Sapphire.[7]
  • Gem culture does not have a gender binary or a concept of gender.[8][9][10]
    • Gems refer to each other using feminine pronouns, but have no particular reason for doing so beyond arbitrary convenience.[11][12]
      • The gendered term "mother" is also applied often to Rose Quartz, a Gem, by Gems, humans, and Steven Universe, a half-human, half-Gem.
      • The gendered term "ma'am" is applied to Pearl, a Gem, by Connie, a human.[13]
      • Peridot uses the term "matriarch" when referring to the The Great Diamond Authority in "It Could've Been Great".
    • In their default state, Gems typically appear feminine by human standards, and they can use their shapeshifting abilities to deliberately assume overtly gendered forms.[14][15]
    • Being half human, Steven possesses the characteristics of a male human individual.[16][17]
      • Stevonnie's precise canonical gender is currently unspecified.[18] However, Matt Burnett has stated that Stevonnie uses gender-neutral pronouns.[19]

Gem Types

The Gem Homeworld maintains a strict caste system based on gemstone. With each Gem belonging to a larger "type".

  • Diamonds - The Diamonds are the highest ranking Gems and the matriarchs of the entire species who form Homeworld's "Diamond authority". The Diamonds are believed to be flawless, with no weaknesses by Homeworld society. Diamonds are also much larger than the average Gem, dwarfing all other known Gem types, with only some fusions exceeding them in height.
    • Blue Diamond - Seen in "The Answer" as the overseer of Earth's colonization effort.
    • Yellow Diamond - Mentioned in "Jail Break", "Cry for Help", and "It Could Have Been Great", and making her first appearance in "Message Received".
  • Sapphires - Rare Gems that hold aristocratic status.
    • Sapphire - A Sapphire sent to Earth as a diplomat to attempt to disband the rebellion with the ability see the future.
  • Quartz - As revealed in Guide to the Crystal Gems, they are supposed to be huge, loyal soldiers who are broad shouldered, and intimidating. They vary in coloration and appearance.
  • Rubies - In "The Answer", Garnet describes the Rubies as "common soldiers".
    • Ruby - A Ruby that remains fused with Sapphire as Garnet.
    • Ruby (right shoulder gem) - A known Ruby that used to protect Sapphire.
    • Ruby (right back-hand gem) - A known Ruby that used to protect Sapphire.
  • Peridots - Peridots are apparently an engineer/technician caste, operating starships and Kindergarten facilities. Peridots are low-ranking enough that they rarely if ever have their own Pearl servant.
  • Lapis Lazuli - The purpose of Lapis Lazulis are unknown. The only known Lapis Lazuli possesses hydrokinesis and was used to power The Mirror.
    • Lapis Lazuli - A Lapis Lazuli who was trapped in The Mirror for thousands of years, ultimately used by the Homeworld Gems for their invasion of Earth due to her present knowledge of it.
  • Pearls - In "Back to the Barn", Peridot stated that Pearls are accessories and a made-to-order servants who are just there for standing around, looking nice, taking orders, and holding other Gems' stuff. Peridot also indicates that it is a status symbol to have your own Pearl, and typically only the higher castes can own one. Pearls come in various colors, including blue and yellow, and it is implied that there are varying qualities, and that Pearl of the Crystal Gems is an especially fancy one. Pearls all seem to have the same basic physical appearance.
    • Pearl - An independent Pearl who breaks the rules of what a Pearl is supposed to be.
    • Blue Diamond's Pearl - A Pearl that served Blue Diamond.
    • Yellow Diamond's Pearl - A Pearl that serves Yellow Diamond, acting as her receptionist and screening her calls for her.

Reproduction

Bacphage

Kindergarten

Rebecca Sugar has confirmed that Gems don't naturally reproduce[20] and lack reproductive organs by default.

In the short "How Are Gems Made?" it's explained that Gems "aren't born, they're made when some Gems from outer space came here with these big machines! They put the machines on Earth and shot this junk into the ground, and then boom, you pop right out!". In addition, it's revealed that Gems are formed fully developed: "being a weak baby would be a pain, so, they suck up all the good stuff from the ground so we pop out all big and strong".

In "On the Run", it is revealed that the Homeworld Gems invaded Earth several thousand years ago and used the Kindergarten to create new Gems using the method described in "How Are Gems Made?"; and that Amethyst was one such Gem. This process was very harmful to the environment to the point where, if it were allowed to continue, it would lead to "the destruction of all life on Earth", according to Pearl in "Marble Madness". Amethyst refers to all the Gems created through the process, herself included, as "parasites".

While biological reproduction is an alien concept to Gems, it is not impossible for them; while Gems can't reproduce with each other they can create Gem-hybrid offspring. Through shape-shifting, they can perfectly replicate reproductive organs of organic beings for their "human constructs" in order to reproduce.[21] Rose Quartz is the only Gem to have done this and her son, Steven, inherited her Gemstone, without which she could not project a physical form and subsequently "died" , although In "Guide to the Crystal Gems" it is implied that Gems are capable of reproducing without having to give up their physical forms.

Corrupted Gems

In "Ocean Gem", Pearl states, "All Gems aren't necessarily good". Gem Monsters are in fact either "corrupted" or "broken" Gems which, presumably, were unable to maintain humanoid form and sentience.

Corrupted gems were revealed to be battle-damaged gems according to Steven's Guide to the Crystal Gems. In "Monster Reunion", it is revealed that the damage that Corrupted Gems suffer from is mental, as Steven is only able to partially heal the Centipeetle Mother using his healing powers. It is explained that near the end of the war the Diamonds did something that damaged the minds of the gems using a mysterious light. This mental damaging light is referred as Damage from the Diamonds.

Should an uncorrupted Gem fuse with a Corrupted Gem for whatever reason, the corruption would spread like a virus, corrupting the uncorrupted Gem. This was demonstrated by Jasper in "Earthlings".

Trivia

  • Fusions are capable of further fusing with Gems, as exhibited in "Coach Steven" (in which Garnet fuses with Amethyst).
  • Fusions tend to highly exaggerate whatever personality traits are shared amongst the majority of the Gems comprising the Fusion. Sugilite seems to inherit her impulsive and irrational behavior from Ruby and Amethyst, while Sardonyx seems to get her haughty and self-absorbed personality from Sapphire and Pearl.
  • When Gems in a given Fusion have incompatible personalities, or have conflicting motives for fusing, and for whatever reason do not (or can not) terminate the Fusion, it results in an unstable fusion. When this happens, the constituent Gems risk losing touch with their individual personalities the longer the fusion persists.
    • In "Coach Steven", Sugilite is the first example of Gems remaining as an unstable Fusion for too long. It can be surmised that this case arose because Ruby and Amethyst have many similarities in personality, while Sapphire's personality strongly contrasts with both. Sapphire's presence was enough to cause instability, but not enough to "outvote" Ruby and Amethyst and cancel the fusion.
    • Malachite is another example. At the end of "Jail Break", Jasper is clearly trying to escape the fusion. Either Jasper has very low willpower (not unlikely, considering her barbaric personality), or Lapis Lazuli has a great deal of mental fortitude, or a combination of both.
  • The majority of known Gem weapons are medieval: Garnet's gauntlets, Pearl's spear, Amethyst's whip, Steven/Rose Quartz' shield, Opal's longbow, Sugilite's flail, Jasper's crash-helmet, Ruby's gauntlet, and Sardonyx's war hammer.
  • The process for each Gem to summon their weapons depends on a different state of mind for each of them.
    • Amethyst places little effort or concentration, claiming that it "just happens" when she needs to summon her weapon.
    • Pearl claims that her process as being perfect and calculated, using the science of a flower petal dancing in the wind to describe how hard work and dedication can help master the properties of one's own gemstone and "perform their own dance".
    • Garnet claims that she summons her gauntlets by linking her mind with the energy of all existing matter, channeling the collective power of the universe through her gem(s), matching her calm and meditative temperament.
    • Steven's means of summoning his shield is still unknown, though it is thought to be caused when he experiences pure joy, having first activated his gem after taking a bite of his favorite ice-cream sandwich, his ability to summon his weapon can also be attributed to the feelings of love and the desire to protect.
      • Say Uncle reveals that Steven's powers are maternal, and that he summons his shield to protect the things he cares about. Though the episode is considered non-canon, the description of how Steven summons his shield seems to be accurate.
  • Ian Jones-Quartey has stated that Steven is the first Gem to use masculine pronouns.
    • Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey have stated that Gems use feminine pronouns by default.[22]
    • This is demonstrated in "Ocean Gem", as Pearl called Lapis "she," Pearl referred to Rose Quartz as "she" while reminiscing in "Rose's Scabbard," Garnet, Pearl, and Steven referred to Peridot as "she".
    • Garnet referred to Jasper as "she".
Friend Ship 134

What appears to Gemstones powering a mechanism in an ancient Gem ship.

  • Gemstones can be used as a power source, even if damaged.
    • A gemstone is seen powering the Pyramid Temple in "Serious Steven."
    • Lapis Lazuli was used to power a magic mirror.
    • Numerous Gemstones can be seen powering machines in the Ancient Gem Colony Ship.
  • In "Chille Tid," Gems are shown to be able to sleep and dream like humans, though like eating they do not require sleep in order to function. However it is also shown that Gems can tire physically when exhausted.
  • Gem's physical bodies are capable of producing bodily fluids, and in "Coach Steven", Pearl can be observed to have scrapes on her "skin".
  • Pearl referred to their bodies as "human construct(s)" in "Fusion Cuisine".
  • Ian Jones-Quartey has stated that Gems do possess DNA, and that Rose Quartz was able to pass her traits on to Steven, although this would contradict Pearl's implication that Gems are inorganic in Alone Together.[23]
    • This is explained in the Guide to the Crystal Gems, the Gem equivalent to genetic information is stored in the Gemstone, and Rose was able to integrate this information with Greg's DNA by giving up her physical form and passing her Gem along to Steven.
  • Gem-hybrids can fuse with humans, such as Steven did with Connie to form Stevonnie, but it's unknown if hybrids can fuse with Gems.
    • Gems cannot fuse with humans, as shown in "We Need to Talk".
  • If multiple gems with the same gem placement fuse, their gems will be placed side-by-side. [24]
  • It is unknown if the placement and shape of a gemstone is a choice, or a default.
  • Gems' skin tones are always related to the color of their gemstones,[25][26] however they don't always match precisely, for example Rose Quartz's skin tone has a lighter, peachier shade than her gemstone.[27]
  • In the comic series, Pearl has been shown to absorb objects into her gem and has gotten sick when she absorbed too many objects into her gem. It is unclear whether other Gems can do this.
    • This ability may be inherent to Pearls specifically, as it would account for Peridot's comments about Pearls being made to hold things.
    • Although, in "Serious Steven", Garnet appears to be storing the temple key in her gems since she had to summon it as she wasn't carrying it with her prior to arriving at the Gem Battlefield.
    • It should also be noted that the comics are of debatable canon when it comes to their relation to the TV show.
  • It is implied that Gems either don't need to breathe, can hold their breath for long periods of time, or breathe differently from humans.
  • In "Nightmare Hospital", it is revealed Gems do not have a heart or heartbeat.
  • While Gems do not require sustenance, it is implied in "Catch and Release" that they produce bodily waste after consuming food.
  • Many aspects of Gem culture are similar to the Gallifreyans of Doctor Who fame.
    • Both societies predate human, both species are capable of regenerating themselves (though Gallifreyans are less predictable), and are typically dismissive of humanity.
  • When a fusion is formed with Gems of the same gemstone, the resultant fusion will look like the participant ones, but bigger.
  • As revealed in "Message Received", Gems are differentiated from other Gems of their category by identification codes based off of "Facet" and "Cut". For example, Peridot's specification is Facet-2F5L, Cut-5XG.

References

  1. "What Are Gems?" - Pearl - "Our bodies are actually projections generated by our gemstone. Think of it like a hologram, but with mass."
  2. Ian Jones-Quartey on Twitter
    Q: "What are Lapis and Peridot's weapons?"
    A: "Lapis' weapon is water control! You'll just have to keep watching to find out more about Peridot."
  3. "What Are Gems?" - Pearl - "And if a Gem's gem is shattered completely, they'll cease to be."
  4. "What Are Gems?" - Pearl - "And when a Gem is reduced to its gemstone, it can be contained in a bubble or trapped in an object, making it impossible to reform."
  5. Peridot has a bruised, swollen cheek after being punched by Pearl in Back to the Barn. In the next scene, she has completely recovered. Both scenes take place around dusk of the same day.
  6. "Frybo" - Pearl - "These shards have a powerful partial consciousness that has been harnessed by Gems throughout history in order to create semi-sentient drone soldiers with the capacity to follow basic orders."
  7. Joe Johnston on Tumblr
    Q: "are you allowed to tell us if Sapphire and Ruby's love is romantic or more platonic?"
    A: "Romantic yo"
  8. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/113794156834/i-know-that-the-gems-are-sexless-agendered-etc
    "In the world of the show, Gems are an alien species that don’t have a gender binary. They are all the same. (This is very common in fiction. Think of alien species like the Namekians in Dragon Ball.)"
  9. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2e4gmx/i_am_rebecca_sugar_creator_of_steven_universe_and/cjw34bu
    "The real question is, were/ are there any female crystal gems! And the answer is NO. Gems are Gems!"
  10. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2e4gmx/i_am_rebecca_sugar_creator_of_steven_universe_and/cjw4rfj
    "Technically, there are no female Gems! There are only Gems!"
  11. http://rebeccasugar.tumblr.com/post/113764004948/does-ruby-use-male-or-female-pronouns-since-it-a
    Ian Jones-Quartey: "In the world of the show, gems are an alien species that use feminine pronouns for each other"
    Rebecca Sugar: "For everyone wondering about Ruby: she is a Gem"
  12. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2e4gmx/i_am_rebecca_sugar_creator_of_steven_universe_and/cjw8ztw
    Q: "I'm not trying to nitpick, because I am very happy with the gems and who they are, but is there any particular reason they use feminine pronouns if gender is irrelevant to them? I would understand if it were just more convenient."
    A: "There's a 50 50 chance to use some pronoun on Earth, so why not feminine ones-- it's as convenient as it is arbitrary!"
  13. "Sworn to the Sword"
    Pearl: "We have important training to do, Connie."
    Connie: "Yes, ma'am."
  14. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/113794156834/i-know-that-the-gems-are-sexless-agendered-etc
    "That said, Gems have the ability to take on gendered forms if they choose to. You’ve seen Amethyst do this."
  15. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2e4gmx/i_am_rebecca_sugar_creator_of_steven_universe_and/cjw8gre
    Q: "Hey Rebecca, Will we ever get an explanation in the show why Gems have the form of human females? If not, could you explain why?"
    A: "Why not look like human females? That's just what Gems happen to look like!"
  16. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/113794156834/i-know-that-the-gems-are-sexless-agendered-etc
    "Steven on the other hand was created by mixing human and gem DNA so he’s a completely new kind of being. He is the only gem to be born thru biological reproductive means(Rose shapeshifted a womb for him to be born from). In Earth terms, he identifies as male so the Crystal Gems have no problem using he/him pronouns with him. (Jasper, who has no concept of this, refers to Steven as if he is Rose)"
  17. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2e4gmx/i_am_rebecca_sugar_creator_of_steven_universe_and/cjw4rfj
    "Steven is the first and only male Gem, because he is half human!"
  18. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/578413033883508738
    Q: "So real talk, what does this say about Stevonnie's gender? I mean if we want to be cannonically correct, of course!"
    A: "Stevonnie is an experience."
  19. https://twitter.com/mcburnett/status/620637717731217408
    "Stevonnie uses them/they."
  20. Gem reproduction
  21. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/113794156834/i-know-that-the-gems-are-sexless-agendered-etc
  22. http://rebeccasugar.tumblr.com/post/113764004948/does-ruby-use-male-or-female-pronouns-since-it-a
  23. Gem DNA
  24. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/686006458782232576
  25. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/98516324679/can-there-be-a-topaz-gem-please-oh-pretty-please
    "in canon, a Gem’s skin color MUST be related to the color of their gemstone!"
    "Lapis’s skin is blue because the gemstone is blue. Amethyst is purple because the gemstone is purple! Pearl is cream because her Pearl is cream! Garnet is red because etc etc etc!"
  26. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/98523846249/q-about-the-gemstone-color-thing-dont-a-lot-of
    "You’re absolutely correct- for instance, if we had designed the character Pearl to have a yellow-colored pearl on her head, her skin would be a yellow shade! Or if we had chosen a green-colored Garnet she would have greenish skin! The main point was: in canon we don’t give Gems “human” skin colors. The skin is based on whatever gem that character has."
  27. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/98525160924/if-the-gems-arent-supposed-to-have-human-skin
    "There are rose quartz stones that are peachy light pink. That’s what her skin is based off of."

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