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Gems are an extraterrestrial species of "magical" beings that play a key role in Steven Universe. Gems are an intergalactic 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

Hybrid Gems

Fusion Gems

Minor Gem characters

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Corrupted Gems

Unknown Gems

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Description

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Gems are characterized by the gemstone embedded somewhere on their body, which seems to be analogous to a brain or CPU.
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Gems' physical forms are projections from their gemstone which can be customized 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).[2] 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, possibly due to his half-human parentage.

There is more than one type of gemstone, and there are multiple Gems of the same gemstone. 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, on the eye, left hip and on the right shoulder.

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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.[3] 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.
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Gems are engineered to adapt to a variety of conditions and cannot die by any natural cause. Gems do not have to eat or sleep to survive, and their bodies will also automatically alter themselves to fit the conditions of whatever planet they're on, such as 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[4], though even the fragments can cling to a form of pseudo-life when fused to other fragments or in the case of the Cluster, in which multiple millions of them were brought together. 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[5], for example. Less serious injuries can cause scratches and bruises without forcing regeneration. Gems can quickly recover from these sorts of injuries.[6] In addition to their extreme durability, most Gems possess super-human strength which makes them capable of impressive feats of physical prowess and makes them deadly warriors. Up until "When It Rains", it was believed that all Gems possessed this great strength. The episode revealed that without her limb-enhancers, Peridot is even weaker than Steven as he could pry open a hatch that she could not. It should be noted that Steven, being a half-Gem (or Gem-Human hybrid) has displayed strength beyond that of a regular human on occasion - which means that Peridot could still possess super-human strength (even if just slightly higher than a human).


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If a Gem's gemstone is damaged, their physical form will deteriorate and "glitch", making their physical form unstable and rendering them incoherent. 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.[7] Gem Shards have also been forced to fuse together over time to form a Cluster Gem.

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

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  • There are two known groups of Gems: Homeworld Gems and The 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 that have been seen are Yellow Diamond, Blue Diamond and two Lesser gems, Jasper and Lapis Lazuli.
      • This includes Peridot, an ex-Homeworld gem who defected to the Crystal Gems in the episode "Message Received".
      • Homeworld society heavily stigmatizes fusion between Gems of different "types", and Fusion between Gems of the same "type" is reserved solely for combat.
    • Over five thousand years prior to the start of the series, Rose Quartz organized a group of rebels to oppose the Homeworld Gems and their takeover of Earth. These Gems are known as The Crystal Gems, who have sworn to Rose and her mission to protect Earth. The remaining Crystal Gems are Garnet (the fusion of Ruby and Sapphire), Amethyst, Pearl, and the aforementioned Peridot.
      • This includes Steven Quartz-Universe, the Gem-Human Hybrid son of Rose Quartz and her human lover, Greg Universe.
        • The Crystal Gems won the takeover, 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.
  • 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.
  • Gem culture is an ancient one, predating all known human civilizations.
  • 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, the 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 several individuals share the same basic character traits, the Gems have come to objectify any life form, organic or Gem. 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 possibly 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, they are capable of romantic relationships such as that of Ruby and Sapphire [8], as well as, in part, Rose Quartz and Gregs. It is unknown as to whether these are accepted within Gem society.
  • Gem culture does not have a gender binary or a concept of gender.[9][10][11]
    • Gems refer to each other using she/her pronouns, but have no particular reason for doing so beyond arbitrary convenience.[12][13]
      • 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.[14]
      • Peridot uses the term "matriarch" when referring to the The Great Diamond Authority in "It Could've Been Great".
      • Amethyst refers to Jasper as "sis".
    • In their default state, Gems typically appear feminine by human standards, and they can use their shapeshifting abilities to deliberately assume overtly gendered forms.[15][16]
    • Being half human, Steven possesses the characteristics of a male human individual.[17][18]
      • Stevonnie's precise canonical gender is currently unspecified.[19] However, Matt Burnett has stated that Stevonnie uses gender-neutral pronouns.[20]

Abilities

Though some Gems may have their own unique abilites, every Gem shares these abilites:

  • Enhanced Condition: Every Gems has superhuman abilities, such as enhanced strength and durability, however the amount depends on the type of Gem.
  • Semi-Immortality: 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.
  • Fusion: Every Gem has the ability to fuse. Fusions can also fuse again.
  • Bubbling: Most Gems, including fusions, have the ability to bubble. The color of the bubble depends on the Gem.

Era 1 Exclusive

  • Shape-shifting: Every Era 1 Gem and fusion is able to shapeshift, an example being Amethyst, who is very skilled.

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.
  • Sapphires - Rare Gems with foresight that hold aristocratic status.
    • Sapphire - A Sapphire that was sent to Earth as a diplomat to attempt to disband the rebellion.
  • Quartzes - 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, but all are broad shouldered, around 6 feet tall and have big back-length hair. They seem to be considered high in Homeworld's hierarchy, as Rose Quartz is able to lead a rebellion and Peridot considered Amethyst to be the highest ranking gem among the Crystal Gems despite her "defectiveness." Unlike the other gems, quartzes coming in varying shapes, names and categories (Rose Quartz, Jasper, Amethyst, etc.). Due to this, it is possible the term "Quartz" is a broader term to refer to these kinds of Gems.
    • Amethyst - A defective Quartz, according to Peridot in "Too Far".
    • Carnelian(s) - Peridot talks about the hole "a Carnelian" came out of in the Beta Kindergarten.
    • Jasper - An especially powerful Quartz Gem, as noted by Peridot in "Earthlings".
    • Rose Quartz - A known Quartz Gem and former leader of the Crystal Gems.
    • Steven Universe - A hybrid Quartz Gem.
  • Rubies - In "The Answer", Garnet describes the Rubies as "common soldiers". They usually come in groups, and most commonly fuse with one another in combat, possibly to compensate for their height, and rarely summon weapons for combat with few exceptions. In "Hit the Diamond", Homeworld rubies were shown to be rather dumb, not being able to count the number of rubies in the area, being easily tricked by Steven twice and seeing no imperative or reason to capture Peridot, who openly admitted to being a fugitive. Whether or not this is common for rubies gemetically or if this is due to the educational system placed by Homeworld's strict hierarchical system is unknown.
  • 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. The current version of Peridots a.k.a. "Era 2" Peridots are more diminutive than the original line and are given technological enhancements as they supposedly don't have powers (Peridot's metal powers may make this untrue). It is unknown how Era 1 Peridots were more superior, if at all.
  • Lapis Lazulis - The purpose of Lapis Lazulis are unknown. However, in "Barn Mates", Peridot said that Lapis Lazulis are particularly partial to water and to flying. The only known Lapis Lazuli possesses hydrokinesis and has the ability to project her memories.
    • 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 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. It is also implied by Ruby that pearls are awarded to Gems who have done honorable deeds in "Bubbled". 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. Pearls are the only Gems known to come in different colors; according to Rebecca Sugar, this makes Opal, Sardonyx, and Alexandrite also come in different colors, dependent of the pearl who fused.
  • Unknown round, green gem - Currently, it is unknown what type of gem the Centipeetle is. However, in "Monster Reunion" her role in Gem society is shown. She is a captain in charge of other gems presumably the same type as she. These gems fly in Gem Spaceships, and start building structures on Gem Colonies.
    • Centipeetle - a Gem sent from Homeworld to start building on Earth, an early Gem Colony. However she got caught in the war, and was ordered to retreat. She was unable to board her ship in time, and suffered from the attack caused by the Diamonds, resulting in her corruption.
  • Bismuths- Bismuths were made for the purpose of building structures for elite gems on Gem colonies, such as spires for intellectual gems and arenas for fighting gems.
    • Bismuth - One of the original Crystal Gems, who took an almost zealotry towards Rose's beliefs in personal freedom, giving her the choice to make what she wanted. Before the end of the war, Bismuth introduces Rose to a weapon known as "The Breaking Point", which would completely shatter a Gem's gemstone, destroying them completely. Rose feeling it is cruel, fights Bismuth, poofs and bubbles her, and keeps her fate a secret from the rest of the Crystal Gems. It wasn't until about 5,300 years later that she is freed, Steven learns the truth, and she is poofed and bubbled again, but this time the Crystal Gems are told of what truly happened.
  • Nephrites - Not much is known about what their abilities or role in Gem society is. Nephrite is one of two distinct mineral forms classified as "jade" (the other is jadeite).
    • Unknown Nephrite - Pearl once took a Nephrite out of the cockpit of a space ship.

Reproduction

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Rebecca Sugar has confirmed that Gems don't naturally reproduce[21] 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". 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. Rose Quartz explains in "Greg the Babysitter" that when a Gem is made, it's for a reason. They burst out of the ground already knowing what they're supposed to be, and that's what they are forever.

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 can't reproduce with each othe,r 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.[22] 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", although In "Guide to the Crystal Gems", it is implied that Gems are capable of reproducing without having to give up their physical forms.

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.

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 sapience.

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

  • The majority of known Gem weapons are medieval: Garnet's gauntlets, Pearl's spear, Amethyst's whip, Steven/Rose Quartz's shield, Opal's longbow, Sugilite's flail, Jasper's crash-helmet, Ruby's gauntlet, "Eyeballs" Chisel Knife, 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 the 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.[23]
    • This is demonstrated by the Crystal Gems referring to Lapis Lazuli, Peridot, and Jasper all as "she" before knowing them.
    • Although, when regenerating, Gems can take on a "masculine" form and use he/him pronouns if they wish. [24][25]
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  • Gemstones can be used as a power source, even if damaged.
  • 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 is able to pass her traits on to Steven, although this would contradict Pearl's implication that Gems are inorganic in Alone Together.[26]
    • This is explained in the Guide to the Crystal Gems, 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.
  • It is unknown if the placement of a gemstone is a choice or a default.
  • Gems' skin tones are always related to the color of their gemstones,[27][28] however they don't always match precisely. For example, Rose Quartz's skin tone has a lighter, peachier shade than her gemstone.[29]
  • 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 has 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.
  • 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.
    • It is implied that for gems to do this, they must shapeshift a digestive system.
  • 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.
  • As of "Hit the Diamond", there have been more rubies seen than any other type of non-corrupted gem. Eight Rubies have appeared so far, the second highest amount of Gems being Pearls at 3 Gems.
    • The highest number of corrupted Gems has been Quartz types, several seen in the Beta Kindergarten imprisoned by Jasper, the second highest being Centipeetles.
  • Despite Rebecca Sugar having stated that the world knows of Gems, Pearl mentioned in "Last One Out of Beach City" that she couldn't get a driver's license due to being an alien.
    • It should be noted, however, that this is likely just because Pearl is not a legal citizen and thus ineligible for government licensing.
  • According to Rebecca Sugar, all blue Gems, like Sapphire, are created with diplomatic skills.[30]

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