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Crystal Gems, Homeworld Gems, Corrupted Gems, Fusion Gems, Minor Gems, Minor Corrupted Gems, Unknown Gems, Gemstones, or Caste System (List of Gems).
Gems are an extraterrestrial species of "magical" humanoid (generally) beings that play a key role in Steven Universe. 5,750 years ago, the Gem Homeworld 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 various Corrupted Gems) as the only remaining Gems on the planet.
- Crystal Gems:
- Rose Quartz (permanently inactive)
- Lapis Lazuli
- Biggs Jasper (formerly corrupted)
- Snowflake Obsidian ("Bismuth") (formerly corrupted)
- "Crazy Lace" ("Bismuth") (formerly corrupted)
- "Tiger's Eye" ("Made of Honor") (formerly corrupted)
- "Little Larimar" ("Made of Honor") (formerly corrupted)
- "Beryl" ("Made of Honor") (formerly corrupted)
- "Serpentine" ("Made of Honor") (formerly corrupted)
- Other Unknown Amethysts ("Bismuth") (status unknown)
- Two Unknown Crystal Gems ("Gemcation") (status unknown)
- Other Crystal Gems ("Your Mother and Mine") (status unknown)
- Homeworld Gems:
- Hessonite (Save the Light)
- Topazes (left and right)
- Peridot (Squaridot) (inactive)
- Other Unknown Gems
- Nephrite's Crew ("Monster Reunion")
- Nephrite's Commander Hessonite ("Monster Reunion")
- Unknown Nephrite ("Bismuth")
- Pink Diamond's Agates and Sapphires ("The Trial")
- Morganite ("Off Colors")
- Unknown Quartz Warrior ("Sworn to the Sword")
- 67 Elite Citrines ("Lars of the Stars")
- Emerald's crew ("Lars of the Stars")
- Hessonite's Citrine Guards (Save the Light)
- Hessonite's Nephrites (Save the Light)
- Nephrite-XJ Cut-763 ("Jungle Moon")
- Nephrite-XJ Cut-763's Crew ("Jungle Moon")
- Leader of the Fleet ("Jungle Moon")
- Yellow Diamond's Agates ("Your Mother and Mine")
- Unknown white Gem ("A Single Pale Rose")
- Numerous poofed Gems ("A Single Pale Rose")
- Witness Gems ("A Single Pale Rose")
- Unaligned Gems:
- Crystal Gem fusions:
- Garnet (Ruby and Sapphire)
- Opal (Amethyst and Pearl)
- Sugilite (Ruby, Sapphire, and Amethyst)
- Alexandrite (Ruby, Sapphire, Amethyst, and Pearl)
- Rainbow Quartz (Pearl and Rose Quartz) (permanently inactive)
- Sardonyx (Pearl, Ruby, and Sapphire)
- Obsidian (Ruby, Sapphire, Amethyst, Pearl, and Rose Quartz) (permanently inactive)
- Hybrid fusions:
- Homeworld fusions:
- Unaligned fusions:
- Forced fusions:
Minor Gem Characters
- Main article: Minor Characters/Gems
- Nephrite (Centipeetle Mother)
- Worm Monster
- Pyramid Temple Gem
- Gem Cave Creature
- Desert Glass
- Big Bird
- Heaven Beetle
- Earth Beetle
- Watermelon Tourmaline (Giant Pufferfish)
- Ice Monster
- Invisible Gem Monster
- Lighthouse Gem Monster
- Water Bear
- The Slinker
- Crab Gem Monster
- Snow Monster
- Biggs Jasper (Orange Great North Monster)
- Tongue Monster
- Flower Monster
- Unknown Giant Gem Monster
- Obelisk (comics)
- Rainbow Cloud Monster (comics)
- Old Book Gem (comics)
- Snowbeast (comics)
- Slug Monster (comics)
- Plant Monster (comics)
- Invisible Manta Ray (comics)
- Clock Tower (comics)
- Unknown Giant Bird (comics)
- The Perils of Pweepwee (comics)
- Glass Ghost (comics)
- Mollusk (comics)
- Red Eel Monster (comics)
- Monster Lizard Gem (comics)
- Other Corrupted Gems
- Main article: Unknown Gems
Gems are characterized by the gemstone embedded somewhere on their body, which is analogous to a brain.
Gems' physical forms are projections from their gemstone which can be changed at will, described as being "like a hologram, but with mass," with their only constant feature being their gemstone and color scheme (shapeshifting is not permanent, and Gems will return to their "default" form eventually). Although Gems lack 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.
There are a variety of gemstones, each of which imbues the Gem in question with specific abilities, and there are multiple Gems with the same gemstone. The gemstone can be located in many different parts of the body, regardless of Gem.
Typical Gem abilities include extreme physical strength and durability, 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 these are not ubiquitous; some Gems, such as Lapis Lazuli, are not able to summon a personal weapon, and Gems created in sub-optimal conditions like second era Peridots lack strength. So far, 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.
Gems are engineered to adapt to a variety of conditions and cannot die by natural causes. Gems do not have to breathe, eat, drink, or sleep to survive, and they do not age, making them effectively immortal. They can, however, still eat and sleep if they so desire. Their bodies will also automatically alter themselves to fit the conditions of whatever celestial body or spacecraft they are on, such as adjusting mass for gravity. The only way to permanently destroy or "kill" a Gem is to destroy their gemstone. When the physical body of a Gem is seriously injured, they will retreat into their gemstone to regenerate. This is one of the only times Gems can make permanent changes to their physical form. 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.
If a Gem's gemstone is damaged, their physical form will deteriorate and render them incoherent. 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. Gem Shards have also been forced to fuse together over time to form Cluster Gems.
Because Gems are created to regenerate from bodily damage, but cannot heal their gemstone on their own, a Corrupted Gem will simply regenerate into a Gem Monster, while a damaged Gem will retain their original form, albeit with some slight differences. Shattered Gems similarly will also attempt to regenerate but will only produce seemingly random appendages.
- There are two known main groups of Gems: Homeworld Gems and the Crystal Gems.
- Homeworld society is ruled by the autocratic Great Diamond Authority. Its members impose a strict caste system based on gemstone, and maintain their empire by terraforming worlds (and destroying them in the process) through facilities like the Kindergarten. Homeworld society heavily stigmatizes fusion between Gems of different gemstones, and fusion between Gems of the same gemstone is reserved solely for combat (and missions requiring the force of more than one Gem, in the case of Topaz).
- The Crystal Gems are a rebellious group of Gems established by Rose Quartz who disagree with the customs and principles of Homeworld society, particularly on its perspective toward life. Five thousand years ago, Rose instigated the Rebellion against the Homeworld Gems to protect the Earth. The Crystal Gems were able to successfully drive the Homeworld Gems off planet. As they withdrew, the Diamonds released a powerful attack, corrupting the majority of the remaining Gems on Earth. Rose, Garnet, Pearl, and Bismuth were the only Crystal Gems to survive.
- Gem culture is ancient, predating all known human civilizations.
- Gems have their own written language, which is inscribed on many of their temples, as first seen in Steven's Room in the Pilot, despite every non-Corrupted Gem speaking "English". This may mean that they write in an English-like script, or that written words are in a (moderately) traditional Gem language.
- Remains of Gem architecture can be seen scattered across the Earth in the form of the structures, such as the Lunar Sea Spire, the Communication Hub, and the Galaxy Warp.
- Gem civilization is incredibly advanced, capable of creating spaceships, pocket dimensions, and teleporters.
- Slower than light travel is now considered outdated due to the advent of teleporters. Current Gem technology is described as incomprehensible by Lapis Lazuli.
- Individuality is not highly valued among Gems. As implied in "Bismuth", this is in part a conviction the Gem elite has forced down upon lesser Gems to limit their potential. While each Gem may exhibit their own unique nuances in personality, they all primarily adhere to the fundamental behavior and preferences of their caste and types. Whatever the case might be, like organic beings, Gems are able to define their own identities and develop unique personalities of their own. The most prime examples of this are the members of the Crystal Gems.
- Most Gems hold little value for the preciousness of life. Being part of a society where many individuals share the same traits, Gems have come to objectify any life form, organic or Gem. As such, they tend to treat each other and themselves as disposable commodities.
- Ian and Rebecca state that this mindset comes from Homeworld propaganda where Gems like Peridot are proud because they know their place as they think that Homeworld philosophy is the best for everyone, as part of a Gem's indoctrination, they don't question the system because they work within it, going to a bunch of different places and learning about them, and also unknowingly absorbing revised history created to edit out what made Homeworld look unsuccessful or imperfect.
- While there has never been mention of Gems practicing any form of spiritualism or religion, the existence of the Moon Goddess Statue, along with the Sea Shrine and the Pyramid Temple, implies some sort of belief system.
- According to Emerald, Gems engage in jubilee celebrations.
- Gem culture does not have a gender binary or a concept of gender.
- Gems refer to each other using she/her pronouns but have no particular reason for doing so beyond arbitrary convenience.
- The gendered term "mother" is also applied often to the Gem named Rose Quartz (who gave up her physical form to create Steven Universe), by Gems, humans, and Steven Universe who is half-human and half-Gem.
- Peridot uses the term "matriarch" when referring to the Great Diamond Authority in "It Could've Been Great".
- Amethyst refers to Jasper as "sis".
- Gems refer to each other using she/her pronouns but have no particular reason for doing so beyond arbitrary convenience.
- It is initially difficult for Gems to comprehend human social customs such as marriage, parents, childhoods, birthdays, or funerals (as particularly evidenced in "Gem Harvest"). Given that Gems do not have a gender binary, and they reproduce by growing new Gems in Kindergartens, they apparently do not form romantic/social bonds comparable to marriage (Garnet's status as a "perma-fusion" is highly irregular). Rose herself admitted that for a long time she did not understand that infant and adult humans are the same species: Gems are created fully formed and with adult-level knowledge, so they do not have a concept of a childhood stage of growing.
- Battle cries are a prevalent practice among Gem soldiers.
Most or all Gems share the following abilities and traits:
- Enhanced Condition: Gems can have greater strength, speed, and durability than humans. They can jump longer and higher than even the most athletic humans. The amount varies depending on the Gem type and production quality of the individual Gem - Peridot, a cheaply produced technician, is tough but physically weak, while Jasper, an "ultimate" soldier, can lift an Injector and survive a Gem Warship's explosion.
- Non-Senescence: Gems do not age, and thus do not die of natural causes like humans. However, they can still be killed if their gemstone is shattered.
- Bubbling: Gems have the ability to encase an object inside a bubble. The color of the bubble depends on the Gem. The bubbles can be sent to wherever their creator considers "home". If a Gem is inside, it is kept in a form of stasis. These bubbles are entirely independent of their creator's state, and seem to be able to exist indefinitely if undisturbed (The various bubbled Corrupted Gems in the Temple have remained stable regardless of the instances when the Crystal Gems have been poofed, and bubbles created by Rose Quartz, such as the bubble which contained Bismuth's gem, continue to exist even after she had become a part of Steven).
- Shapeshifting: Gems can temporarily alter their physical forms. The more mass the altered form has relative to the Gem's normal form, the harder it is to maintain. Sufficiently skilled Gems can shapeshift into forms with additional functions, such as Amethyst shapeshifting into a working helicopter in "Message Received". Gems produced with fewer resources during the Gem Homeworld's Era 2 appear to lack this ability. As revealed in "A Single Pale Rose", Gems can't alter their coloration but they can change the rotation of their gemstone.
- Regeneration: When a Gem suffers a fatal injury, they "poof," releasing their physical form and retreating into their gemstone in order to create a new, undamaged form. The amount of time this process takes depends on a number of factors, including whether or not they are changing the appearance of their form. As demonstrated by Amethyst in "Reformed", it is possible for a Gem to rush their regeneration process, but doing so may lead to a number of problems, such as deformed body parts. Regeneration time can range from several seconds, as shown in "Reformed", to a few weeks, such as in Pearl's case in "Steven the Sword Fighter".
- Gravity Shifting: As stated by Peridot in "It Could've Been Great", Gems' bodies will automatically adjust to different levels of gravity. This is further elaborated on in "Adventures in Light Distortion" where Pearl says that their forms are dependent on the local gravity and air pressure.
- Weapon-Summoning: Most Gems can summon a tangible weapon from their gemstones. Gems can summon multiple weapons at once, but each non-fusion Gem has only one type of weapon that they can summon.
- Fusion: Gems can combine their bodies and minds to form a larger and more powerful Gem with all of their components' gemstones on their body. Fusion Gems can unfuse willingly or fall apart for a number of reasons, and they can fuse further without unfusing first. Fusions inherit all of their components' weapons, and may combine multiple weapons into new forms - for instance, Opal can combine Pearl's spear and Amethyst's whip to form a bow. Humans can also fuse with half-Gems, as demonstrated in "Alone Together".
- Photokinesis: Gems can project light from their Gemstones to light up dark places.
- Unique Abilities: Gems have a wide range of abilities that are exclusive to certain Gem types or individual Gems. These range from Rubies' pyrokinetic touch to Sapphires' future vision to Pink Diamond/Rose's healing abilities, to Peridot's "metal powers".
The Gem Homeworld maintains a strict caste system based on gemstone, with each Gem belonging to a larger "type".
- Main article: Caste System
In the short "How Are Gems Made?", it is explained that Gems "aren't born, they are 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 is 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." However, this process is not entirely flawless; as put by Peridot in "Too Far", if a Gem is incubated for too long (referred as being "overcooked" by Jasper in "The Return"), it will result in the Gem's humanoid form being inherently abnormal, as in the case of Amethyst, who is much shorter than the typical Quartz. Also, as revealed in "Too Short to Ride", if not enough resources are present during the incubation process, the resulting Gems will be underdeveloped, as in the case of Era 2 Peridots, who are shorter and lack most standard Gem abilities.
In addition to being fully developed physically, they are also fully developed mentally. When they come out of the ground, they already know all that they need to know to do their job, up to and including their initial, immediate orders. Rose Quartz explains in "Greg the Babysitter" that when a Gem is made, it is for a reason. They burst out of the ground with the knowledge of what they are supposed to be, and that is what they generally believe they will be for life.
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 is one such Gem. This process is 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 cannot reproduce with each other, they can create Gem-hybrid offspring. Through shapeshifting, they can perfectly replicate reproductive organs of organic beings for their "human constructs" in order to reproduce. Rose Quartz is the only known Gem to have done this, and her son, Steven, inherited her gemstone, without which she could not project a physical form and subsequently "died".
Steven asks Peridot what is it like to be created on Homeworld in "Gem Drill". She says she does not remember anything and only had feelings. She describes it as not existing then suddenly existing.
- The majority of Gem weapons are medieval: Steven and Rose Quartz's shield, Pearl's spear, Amethyst's whip, Ruby's gauntlet, Jasper's crash-helmet, Eyeball's chisel knife, and the Topazes' maces.
- This includes fusion weapons: Garnet's gauntlets, Opal's energy bow, Sugilite's flail, Sardonyx's war hammer, and Topaz's mace.
- 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 is 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 he/him pronouns.
- Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey have stated that Gems use she/her pronouns by default.
- This is demonstrated by the Crystal Gems referring to Lapis Lazuli, Peridot, Jasper, and Bismuth all as "she" before knowing them.
- Although, when regenerating, Gems would be able to take on a "masculine" form and use he/him pronouns if they wish.
- Gemstones can be used as a power source, even if damaged.
- In "Chille Tid", Gems are shown to experience exhaustion and, if they choose to sleep, can dream.
- In "Coach Steven", Gems are revealed to be able to produce bodily fluids and receive scrapes upon the "skin".
- Pearl referred to Gems' bodies as "human construct(s)" in "Fusion Cuisine".
- Ian Jones-Quartey has stated that Gems do possess DNA, and that Rose Quartz is able to pass her traits on to Steven.
- While this would somewhat contradict Pearl's implication that Gems are inorganic in "Alone Together", it is explained in the Guide to the Crystal Gems that the Gem equivalent to genetic information is stored in the gemstone, and Rose is able to integrate this information with Greg's DNA by giving up her physical form and passing her gem along to Steven.
- Gems' skin tones are related to the color of their gemstones (but do not always match precisely).
- In the comic series, Pearl has been shown to absorb objects into her gemstone and has gotten sick when she absorbed too many objects into her gem. As of "A Single Pale Rose", she has also used this method of storage in the main show. 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 gemstones, since she has to summon it and was not 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.
- In "Nightmare Hospital", it is confirmed that Gems do not have a heart or heartbeat.
- It is implied in "Catch and Release" that Gems produce bodily waste after consuming food (presumably by shapeshifting a digestive system).
- As revealed in "Message Received", Gems are differentiated from other Gems of their category by identification codes based on "Facet", then "Cut" or "Cabochon". For example, Peridot's specification is Facet-2F5L Cut-5XG, while Nephrite's specification is Facet-413 Cabochon-12.
- Pearl mentioned in "Last One Out of Beach City" that she could not get a driver's license due to being an alien.
- This is likely because Pearl is not a legal citizen and thus ineligible for government licensing.
- According to Rebecca Sugar, blue Gems like Sapphire are created with diplomatic skills. And later in the Ultimate Crossover Fundraiser that blue Gems can be introspective and a little judgmental.
- She also states that orange Gems are more lean on the active side as they take action.
- Gems typically have their gemstones exposed in plain view, despite their gemstone being their most vulnerable spot.
- In "Three Gems and a Baby", Steven would become fussy and try to undo his clothes to expose his gemstone, suggesting there may be a reason why Gems leave their gemstones exposed.
- In "Adventures in Light Distortion", it is revealed that if a Gem ship is traveling faster than the speed of light, a Gem's 'hard-light' body will fall behind and lose form.
- Usually, Gems of the same type have identical looking gemstones with the same shape and facets. For example, Rose Quartzes have round pink gemstones with pentagonal facets. However, there are some Gems that deviate from this.
- There have been Jaspers shown with round gemstones and kite-shaped gemstones.
- Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond's gemstones are both diamond-shaped but with slightly different dimensions, while Pink Diamond and White Diamond's gemstones are more like a realistic typical earth-cut diamond.
- The Crystal Gems' Pearl has an oval-shaped gemstone, while other Pearls shown have had perfectly round gemstones.
- While most Amethysts shown have a circular purple gemstone with a hexagonal facet, some Amethysts' gemstones are slightly different shades of purple.
- In "Gem Heist", one burgundy-colored Amethyst is shown to have a square-faceted gemstone (rather than hexagonal). However, whether or not this was an animation error is unclear.
- The Rutile Twins' joint gemstone has two long segments conjoined together, implying that normal Rutiles' gemstones consist of just one elongated segment.
- Gem art and architecture seems to be heavily influenced by Middle-Eastern and Art Deco designs.
- It is unclear whether or not Gems have human-like ears, as the same Gems have been drawn both with and without them. However, all known Gems have hair or visors that normally cover where their ears would be.
- In the Pilot, the Gems consistently had ears. It is unknown why this was changed. (Presumably to make them look more alien.)
- Some Gems are based on minerals that, in reality, were named after specific people, creatures, foods, or places (such as Holly Blue Agate, Sugilite, Larimar, Tiger's Eye, Watermelon Tourmaline, or Serpentine) exclusive to Earth. The implications of this, such as whether these Gems are the in-universe reason why such minerals are named so, are unknown.
- Pearls, however, are the only gems not based on minerals, since in real life pearls are organic matter (specifically calcium carbonate) from oysters and other mollusks, but culturally are considered to have the same value aesthetic properties as gemstones.
- Rebecca Sugar stated that Gems represent non-binary women like herself. While they do not consider themselves women, they do not mind being thought of as such.
- A reply by Rebecca Sugar in a Reddit AMA implied that Gems whose color scheme is a combination of two Diamonds' color scheme are created by a joint effort of said Diamonds. The hypothetical Gem in question was Lepidolite who, as a purple Gem, would've been created by both Blue and Pink Diamond.