This is what White Diamond expects of all of us...! From a thin flake of mica to the deepest, hardest stone, we all must make sacrifices for the sake of our perfect empire!
|—Yellow Diamond, "Change Your Mind"|
Before Era 3 the Gem Homeworld maintained a strict Caste System with gemstones having predetermined roles, places, privileges and ordained purposes in the social pyramid and Gems who deviated from this were considered defective. Since penalties were severe disgruntled Homeworld Gems kept to themselves or went into hiding. Because there were so many of each Gem-type (except Diamonds), all Gems normally distinguished themselves via serial numbers. The Caste System was divided under the rule of the Diamonds and other "Homeworld elites"; if Gems were to greet or refer to others in higher sections of the Caste System, they normally prefaced their Gem name with "My" to show they were their superior(s).
The Caste System was somewhat tied to real-world gemology and mineralogy (i.e. Diamonds being the highest as real-life diamond is highest on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness). However, this was not a proper rule for the series as it took creative liberties with Gem-types and their rankings including but not limited to:
- Ruby and sapphire are varieties of corundum in the real world while Rubies and Sapphires were different and unrelated in the series, possessing different roles in the hierarchy. The same applied to Aquamarines, Emeralds, Bixbites, Morganites, and Beryls which were all beryl in the real world but separate and different in the series. Nephrite is under jade in the real world but Nephrites and Jades seem to share no technical relations although both were voiced by Aparna Nancherla, possibly as a nod to their real-world equivalents.
- Main article: The Great Diamond Authority
Diamonds were the highest-ranking Gems similar to royalty and referred to as the matriarchs of society; they still made up The Great Diamond Authority. All Diamonds are (mostly) massive, towering over other Gems and most Fusion Gems seen. They have diamond-shaped pupils in their eyes.
Most Homeworld Gems were fanatically loyal to them and appeared to be categorized under their respective Diamonds as Blue Diamond once referred to Sapphire as being "of [her] court" and Peridot 5XG said she "was made for" Yellow Diamond. Infidelity displayed towards the Diamonds was considered punishable by death at the worst. Their honorific was "My Diamond".
There appeared to be rankings within the Diamonds themselves as White Diamond was superior to the other Diamonds and the leader of the Authority. Conversely, Pink Diamond was below the other Diamonds and had to obey their orders; this relationship resembled a dysfunctional family more than a hierarchy.
Each of the Diamonds had her own aspects of the Empire to govern: White Diamond created the government and held complete control; Yellow Diamond was in charge of the military; Blue Diamond oversaw diplomacy and rule enforcement; and Pink Diamond hosted celebrations for the accomplishments of the other Diamonds.
Emeralds were high-ranking. In The Steven Universe Podcast, Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey emphasized that Emeralds (specifically the one in "Lars of the Stars") were in charge of fleets. The only known Emerald had at least three ships (her personal shuttle, the Sun Incinerator and Destiny Destroyer) and held control over an unspecified amount of Gems.
- Main article: Garnets
Garnets were commanders that aided in conquering and controlling planets; in some cases they were Light Prism-bearers and commanded entire colonies. Certain Garnets seemed to command different types of Gems, but it is unknown if this applied specifically or not. Subtypes included Hessonites, Demantoids, and Pyropes.
Hessonites are a subtype of Garnets with orange colors who commanded armies for colonization or war. They oversaw Quartzes such as Citrines as well as Nephrites, and were more focused on strategies and battles.
Demantoids are a subtype of Garnets with yellow-green colors first mentioned by Blue Diamond in "Together Alone" who served as overseers of lower classes, worked on colony infrastructures and were more focused on technology.
Pyropes are a subtype of Garnets with pink-red colors first mentioned by Blue Diamond in "Together Alone" who served as overseers of upper classes making up Homeworld's aristocracies once colonies were completed. Pyropes were noticeably fancier wearing dresses or gowns and living in places like the Palace of Light.
- Main article: Sapphires
Sapphires were of the nobility class, described as rare and part of the aristocratic elites; in spite of this they had no immunity from outcast status. They could see events using their future vision and were the only normal Gems with this ability. Their honorific was "Your Clarity". Known subtypes included Blue Sapphires and Orange Sapphires, or Padparadschas.
Morganites were high-ranking. While their exact roles remain unknown, they were high enough to have Pearls and Rubies.
- Morganite - A Morganite mentioned by Rhodonite as having replaced her components after discovering they had fused.
- Main article: Aquamarines
Aquamarines were another type of high-ranking Gems. They appeared to serve as assistants to Diamonds, using their own ships to travel from planet to planet and collect things they wanted. Rebecca Sugar said Aquamarines were high-ranked blue Gems.
- Main article: Lapis Lazulis
Lapis Lazulis were valuable to the Empire. As stated by Yellow Diamond in "What's the Use of Feeling (Blue)?", they were made for terraforming and as such able to manipulate large quantities of water and utilize it in almost any way imaginable like slicing even through solid rock and reshaping planets with ease; this was likely how the canyons for Kindergartens were created.
- Main article: Jades
Jades appeared to be high-ranking given they attended the Era 3 Ball. Unlike most Gems, they had differences between their physical appearances depending on which type of Jade they were and had been seen in different subtypes.
- Main article: Topazes
Topazes seemed to be soldiers obeying orders and acting as bodyguards; these were traits shared with Quartzes and Rubies. Topazes also acted as guards of places suitable for more elite Gems as seen in "Familiar". Rebecca Sugar said Topazes were high-ranked yellow Gems (although topaz is not exclusively yellow in real life meaning Rebecca may have been referring to the Yellow Topaz subtype in particular, or made an error).
- Main article: Nephrites
Nephrites were in charge of piloting spaceships and helping build colonies. Their ranking was never clearly stated but appeared to be high considering they captained their own ships and Yellow Diamond contacted one directly in "Jungle Moon", which she would not do with low-ranking Gems.
Zircons acted as lawyers, though they had no choice over what cases they prosecuted or defended for as revealed in "The Trial" and were assigned them instead. In the podcast, Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey said they had a sort of medium rank serving the upper classes, but no individual power.
- Main article: Quartzes
Quartzes, like Topazes and Rubies, were soldiers. Made to fit the roles of elite warriors, Quartzes normally had incredible height, broad shoulders, and an intimidating muscular build. Jasper fit this description but Amethyst did not because she "stayed in the ground too long" and was therefore "overcooked". Some were used as bodyguards and escorts as shown in Jasper's case. They appeared to be less numerous than Rubies, though greater than Topazes. According to Ian Jones-Quartey, some had defensive powers as well, like Rose Quartz since "they can't all be tanks". Quartzes were described as being "huge, loyal soldiers". Jasper stated Quartzes were made to fight and her kind specifically always got what they wanted. Some also acted as elite guards at Homeworld outposts such as Pink Diamond's Zoo or like the Quartzes commanded by Emerald and Hessonite. They were Gems common on Earth and the most diverse known Gem-type with subtypes including Agates, Amethysts, Carnelians, Citrines, Jaspers, and Rose Quartzes.
Agates seemed to take on administrative roles as higher-ranking Gems. Yellow Diamond stated in "What's the Use of Feeling (Blue)?" they were meant to be terrifying figures intimidating Gems under them into obedience. In "The Trial", it was revealed they could also be bodyguards. It could be assumed based on the way Holly Blue Agate acted around Sapphire and the Diamonds that, while having some authority, Agates were not high-ranking compared to Sapphires.
Citrines were a subtype of Quartzes appearing to have been elite guards serving high-ranking Gems.
Rose Quartzes were new compared to other Gems, having been created on Earth. Sometime between the start of one's rebellion and Pink Diamond's shattering every Rose Quartz in existence was bubbled and made to reside in Pink Diamond's Chamber in her Zoo. It was stated in "That Will Be All" that Blue Diamond wished to keep them around for the sake of preserving Pink Diamond's legacy while Yellow Diamond wanted them shattered as they believed one to be responsible for the start of the Rebellion and Pink Diamond's destruction although this was not the case. While still being soldiers, they were known for defensive powers rather than the offensive abilities other Quartzes had, although this may be exclusive to the Rose Quartz who was Pink Diamond and not the cut of Gem as a whole. Their gemstones appeared to be modeled after the table facet of Pink Diamond's gemstone, lacking the pavilion and having a mirrored back.
Cherry Quartzes are a subtype of Quartzes with pink coloring. Based on other Quartzes, it could be assumed they were soldiers as well.
Amethysts are a subtype of Quartzes mostly with purple coloring. The Prime Kindergarten on Earth produced Gems of this type. Amethysts acted as soldiers and/or guards as seen with the Amethysts guarding Pink Diamond's Zoo.
Carnelians are a subtype of Quartzes with maroon-red coloring. The Beta Kindergarten on Earth produced Gems of this type. Based on other Quartzes, it could be assumed they were also soldiers.
Jaspers are a subtype of Quartzes mostly shown to have tangerine skin and red-orange markings though some were different colors, shapes and sizes depending on the kind of Jasper they were. Similar to other Quartzes below Agates, they acted as either soldiers or guards. Known subtypes include Red Striped Jaspers, Ocean Jaspers, Biggs Jaspers, and Zebra Jaspers.
Tiger's Eyes are a subtype of Quartzes yet to be seen but mentioned by name.
Angel Aura Quartzes
Angel Aura Quartzes are a subtype of Quartzes with iridescent coloring. Based on other Quartzes, it could be assumed they were soldiers as well.
Cherts are a subtype of Quartzes with brown and beige coloring.
Flints are a subtype of Quartzes with gray-blue coloring.
- Main article: Peridots
Peridots served as technicians and Kindergarteners, sometimes performing field assignments on other planets. Being workers, they had a low ranking and were only allowed into elite Homeworld areas if a job was needed to be done there.
In Era 2, Peridots and even other Gems were given Limb Enhancers to compensate for the lack of strength and unique abilities due to the depletion of resources on Homeworld. Despite this, Peridot 5XG was shown to have ferrokinetic abilities.
Larimars served as sculptors for the elites, although it is unclear if this gave them a high ranking or not.
- Main article: Bismuths
Bismuths were builders for aristocratic members of society. As such, they possessed a broad stature for intense physical labor, above-average resistance to heat and damage and hands capable of fluidly changing form without the need for typical shapeshifting to fit a wide variety of purposes.
Obsidians are tall Gems with a muscular upper half. Like Bismuths, they were workers who dug trenches and other encampments. Certain subtypes seemingly worked in specific areas. Unlike Garnets, which shared similarities regardless of being Fusion Gems or not, the only one seen shared no physical characteristics with the Fusion Gem of the same base name. Subtypes included Snowflake Obsidians.
- Main article: Rubies
Rubies were another type of soldiers and nearly the lowest-ranked Gems of all. They also filled the roles of escorts and bodyguards as well as scouts. Due to their numbers individual Rubies were considered expendable footsoldiers or cannon fodder and much of their worth came from fusing.
Rubies had almost no differences in appearances and were not supposed to have different personalities; the fact they did "flies under the radar" because they acted seriously around high-ranking Gems.
Spinels were entertainers, playmates, and court jesters. They were implied to be rare, as Pearl stated in "system/BOOT.pearl_final(3).Info" that Steven was a "lucky one" for acquiring such a Gem. The body of the only one seen was more elastic and malleable than other Gems, even more so than a Bismuth. According to Rebecca Sugar, if more Spinels had been shown their gems would have been shaped like playing card suits. This may have been a joke referring to the fact that both hearts and diamonds are playing card suits.
- Main article: Pearls
Pearls were servants and had such a low rank they were not even considered real Gems but viewed as property. They were expected only to serve and be submissive and obedient, simply waiting on their owners until being told "That will be all" and not acting independently in any way. Pearls also provided simple luxuries like singing, dancing,and entertainment by projecting holograms.
Unlike other Gems, Pearls did not have set uniforms, as they could be customized in colors and appearances. The position of a Pearl's gemstone along with their colors was made to match their owners (except for the Crystal Gems' Pearl likely because she was Pink Diamond's replacement Pearl as opposed to her original one whose features did match her owner). Pearls could be brought to the Reef to be customized, repaired or reset if necessary.
- Main article: Pebbles
Pebbles also acted as servants, but unlike Pearls who belonged to individual Gems they appeared to serve everyone. They had building and sewing skills that were enough to fulfill different tasks at incredible speed. They were mainly used to create furniture and decorations in living quarters while staying out of sight. They appeared to be the lowest-ranking Gems as they were seldom acknowledged or thanked.
Gems lacking known Gem-types and/or societal roles. These types of Gems have been seen in full but their places in the Caste System have not alluded to enough to determine their exact positions.
Bixbites are tall bony Gems with doll-like joints. Their ranking is unknown but it was implied their role involved being able to cut with precision. It is possible they worked in construction and manufacturing.
Rutiles are tall lanky Gems with a somewhat rectangular build resembling real-life rutile. Although not much was known about them they seemed to have piloting capabilities. Judging by the words of the Rutile Twins they appeared to be mass-produced thus likely holding a low rank, although this is unconfirmed.
Spodumenes are Gems with large singular eyes sometimes covered by hair. Subtypes included Orange Spodumenes.
Tourmalines are large bulky Gems with balloon-like features. Subtypes included Watermelon Tourmalines.
Unnamed Miniature Green Gem Type
This type of Gem has varying shades ranging from bright lime yellow to pale forest green. They are small in stature even compared to Aquamarines and appeared to have been high-ranked given they had spires to live in.
Unnamed Stocky Violet Gem Type
Very little is known about this type of Gem. They appear to have a hunched stout build and the only instance shown appears shrouded in a gelatinous cloak revealing very little about her physical features.
Unnamed Large Green Gem Type
Not much is known about this type of Gem although one has a gemstone similar to the Heaven Beetle and Earth Beetle.
Other Unknown Roles/Gem-Types
- Desert Glass - A presumably-uncorrupted Gem seen in "Steven's Lion" with the ability to create structures out of sand. Her physical form has not been seen.
- Beryls - Nothing is known about this type of Gem although one was a Crystal Gem during the Rebellion. Despite sharing a real-world mineral class with Aquamarines, Emeralds, Bixbites and Morganites they appear to be unrelated.
- Serpentines - Nothing is known about this type of Gem although one was a Crystal Gem during the Rebellion.
- Pyrites - In "Familiar" Blue Diamond mentioned she let Pink Diamond name a batch Fool's Gold. They may be high-ranking due to a small batch seemingly being regarded as a specialty.
- Comby - A Gem in the shape of a comb who served Blue Diamond and resembled the Pebbles.
- Sentient Walls - Strange Gems in the form of mobile walls appearing in the hallway of Yellow Diamond's Extraction Chamber. Other walls of the same appearance appear with empty gemstone slots, implying the walls are external objects with Gems in them. However, a Gem of this type is seen moving around in Homeworld Bound, while in wall form, the reason for this is unknown.
- Sentient Statues - Presumably-harvested Gems appearing in Blue Diamond's Extraction Chamber. Their full physical forms have not been seen.
- Kyanites - In "Change Your Mind" Blue Diamond mentioned she let Pink Diamond bring alien worms to Homeworld from a colony of them. Although kyanite comes from quartz in real life the two appear to be unrelated.
- Micas - A type of Gem mentioned by Yellow Diamond in "Change Your Mind".
- Chalks - A type of Gem mentioned by Bismuth in "Change Your Mind".
- Main article: Fusion Gems
Fusion Gems, Gem Fusions or just Fusions, specifically Same-Gem Fusions were used as weapons, especially in times of war and solely for combat as objects. Fusions outside of battle were considered and regarded as inappropriate, unorthodox, disgusting, embarrassing or discomforting to behold as inferred from Jasper and Peridot 5XG's reactions towards Garnet. However, the existence of Topaz revealed that despite this Fusions outside of battle were indeed legal on Homeworld provided they were of the Same-Gem type and could only be allowed for certain caste positions (e.g. soldiers); even then they were still looked down upon for having a capacity of sentimentality as revealed by Aquamarine.
To a further extent only fusions of the same type were seen as acceptable such as Fusions consisting of Rubies or Topazes. Fusions between Gems of different varieties were considered abnormalities as Blue Diamond's court referred to Garnet as "disgusting" and "unheard of". As other examples Rhodonite and Fluorite were forced to hide to avoid being shattered and the former's components were even replaced by their Morganite after finding out. The reasoning for prejudice against Different-Gem Fusions was because they created entirely new Gems which disrupted Homeworld's society; the new Gems could have had no place in the Caste System and thus hold no job beneficial to Homeworld.
Defective Gems referred to as Off-Color served no use to the Empire, were cast out of its society and if caught were shattered. The only exceptions were the Quartzes at Pink Diamond's Zoo kept in service by Blue Diamond. Amethyst was another exception provided she wore Limb Enhancers like Era 2 Gems to reach her "height requirement".
- Main article: Corrupted Gems
Corrupted Gems, also known as Gem Monsters became corrupted by the Diamonds assuming monstrous and nigh-incoherent forms. One of the main objectives of the Crystal Gems other than the protection of humanity and Earth was to defeat, contain and hopefully cure these Gems. They did not exist on Homeworld and as such had no place in its society.
- Main article: Gem Shards
Gem Shards or Shards were Gems shattered mostly for rebelling against the Caste System. However, according to Pearl in "Frybo" they still had "a powerful partial consciousness that has been harnessed by Gems throughout history to create semi-sentient drone soldiers with the capacity to follow basic orders"; like intact gemstones they could be used as power sources as seen in "Friend Ship". Unfortunately, this proved dangerous to the point Shards in containers ended up attacking everything around them; in some cases they regenerated as disembodied limbs that would seek out the missing parts of themselves in hopes of reuniting.
Cluster Gems, otherwise known as Forced Fusions or Gem Mutants were shattered Gems fused against their will into monsters similar to Corrupted Gems. The Cluster was a result of the Diamonds attempting to harness this process to create a "geo-weapon" which would destroy Earth and other planets as well.
- This utilitarianism and/or functionalism-inspired governing system of judging an individual's worth on their outward appearances was similar to the Caste System and Functionism from Transformers, specifically the Aligned and 2005 IDW reboot series in that they were glaringly suppressive, toxic, flawed and resulted in uprisings that brought about the end of times during which many lived in fear for their lives should they have stepped out of line.
- The movie revealed that Gem Rejuvenators were the initial method of wiping out disobedient Gems but due to being able to restore their memories from something that influenced them this was ended in favor of imprisonment, harvesting, or shattering.