Created By: Trueman001 on July 9, 2013 Last Edited By: Trueman001 on July 13, 2013
Troped

Glowing Gem

A gemstone appears to glow with its own light, like a miniature star.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
(image caption goes here)
(Indices: Added Alliterative Appeal, Power Crystal, Power Glows, any others?...)

A gem is sometimes so brilliant that it appears to not merely refract the available light, but to add to the light -- possibly to an altogether ridiculous degree, if Played for Laughs.

Can sometimes overlap with Power Crystal via Power Glows.

Examples:

Folklore and Mythology
  • In the Russian Mythology and Tales, specifically the byliny, large gems are commonly attributed with the ability to emit light and are used in that capacity by the bogatyrs to light the way.
  • In medieval folklore, it was held that an absolutely perfect ruby would glow from within, like a red-hot coal.

Literature
  • In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, the titular gemstone is described as "a brilliantly scintillating blue stone, rather smaller than a bean in size, but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled like an electric point".
  • In The Silmarillion, the three Silmaril gems were made from the light of magic trees, causing the gems to glow perpetually. The light is so pure that the gems burn any evil being that touches them. One of the gems was eventually made into a star.
  • In The Hobbit the Arkenstone of Thrain (AKA The Heart of the Mountain) is described as shining with its own inner light.
  • The eponymous stormlight in The Stormlight Archive is energy that suffuses any gem exposed to one of the powerful storms that frequently ravage the setting. The glowing gems are thus commonly used as a light source, and the light can also be drawn in by magic-users or power magitek.
  • The gems used in the Haldanes' power triggering ritual glow internally when a drop of blood from the next heir(s) comes in contact with the stones. This is true for both the Eye of Rom (a single red ruby mounted as an earring) and the Ring Of Fire (a ring with red garnets set in a cluster).

Music
  • In a very famous song, Roger Waters famously (metaphorically) described his friend Syd Barratt in such a fashion:
Remember when you were young,
You shone like the sun?
Shine on, you crazy diamond...

Tabletop Games
  • In Magic: The Gathering the art for Prophetic Prism (see also the page image) and Chromatic Star depicts these artifact gems as this. It's Justified in that they are Mana altering artifacts, capable of energy into death, holy or elemental Mana.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The following magical gems in 1st/2nd Edition glowed either on command or continuously: Gem of Brightness, Gem of Delusion, Jewel of Obsession, the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty, and the huge glowing orange Cursed Wishing gem in S1 Tomb of Horrors.
    • A number of 1st Edition adventures included gems with a Continual Light spell cast upon them to make them glow, such as T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil and I12 Egg of the Phoenix. Continual Light creates a white light: if the gem is colored, the light it gives off will be the same color as the gem.
  • Call of Cthulhu
    • In the Dreamlands campaign setting, adventure "Pickman's Student". While exploring the dream version of Elder Yuggoth, the PCs can encounter 4 dully glowing green gems that some Mi-go are using to restrain a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. Later on the PCs see one of the Mi-go sacrifice the Dark Young with a knife that has a blade made of the glowing gemstone.
    • Campaign Spawn of Azathoth. The Investigators can acquire two stones that are necessary to deal with the Seed of Azathoth. At the climax of the adventure, the stones become strange fist-sized, glowing ovoid gems that increase greatly in weight.

Toys

Video Games
  • In Colossal Cave, the Plover Room is filled with an eerie green light -- which, apparently, comes from the enormous emerald in the middle.

Western Animation
  • In one Tom and Jerry cartoon, Tom's would-be girlfriend has her rich boyfriend buy for her a huge diamond (about a metre across) -- which can only be safely looked at through welding goggles.
  • In Disney's Aladdin, the giant red gemstone in the lamp chamber of the Cave of Wonders illuminates its altar without any other apparent source of light. This could simply be magic of some kind, considering the nature of the cave.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender there is the Underground City of Old Ba Sing Se, which has been buried underneath the modern one. It's constantly lit by green crystal used as street lamps.
  • In the Popeye animation "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp", Aladdin (played by Popeye) asks the genie of the lamp to deliver a chest of gold and jewels to the princess (played by Olive Oyl). The contents include several head-sized gemstones that bathe the room in colored light, including a diamond that is so brilliant the princess needs sunglasses to look at it -- and her window turns it into a spotlight to illuminate Aladdin posing outside on his horse.

Real Life
  • Some diamonds are fluorescent. This will cause them to shine with more (visible) light than is shed on them.
  • As the acronym indicates, lasers increase the amount of light effectively available by making the photons work with, rather than against, each other. The first laser was a(n artificial) ruby.
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • July 9, 2013
    Koveras
  • July 9, 2013
    Trueman001
    ^I'm not familiar with The Elder Scrolls, but the above sounds like it might not be an example; by "like a star" I meant in the amount of light involved, not (just) the shape.
  • July 9, 2013
    Earnest
    In Magic The Gathering the art for Prophetic Prism and Chromatic Star depicts these artifact gems as this. It's Justified in that they are Mana altering artifacts, capable of energy into death, holy or elemental Mana.
  • July 9, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    Needs a better name. I thought this was the gem equivalent of Thunderbolt Iron.
  • July 9, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    The title and laconic are both subjective, since I can't think of any example of someone commonly describing an extremely lustrous gemstone as being star-like. I want to suggest some kind of pun on "brilliant cut" (the stereotypical "five-sided diamond") for the rename.

    In Disney's Aladdin, the giant red gemstone in the lamp chamber of the Cave of Wonders illuminates its altar without any other apparent source of light. This could simply be magic of some kind, considering the nature of the cave.
  • July 9, 2013
    Goldfritha
    Real Life
    • Some diamonds are fluoroscent. This will cause them to shine with more (visible) light than is shed on them.
  • July 9, 2013
    Earnest
    ^^ How about Glowing Gem, Phosphorescent Crystal or Sun Stone?

    Just remembered:

    Western Animation
  • July 9, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 9, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Glowing Gem is simple and clear, though I'm still holding out for something that can also be witty. Sun Stone is punny, but could be confused for specific items like the evolutionary stone in Pokemon (which unfortunately I don't think is an example of this trope). In the meantime, another example I thought of, and based on Aladdin at that:

    Western Animation
    • In the Popeye animation "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp", Aladdin (played by Popeye) asks the genie of the lamp to deliver a chest of gold and jewels to the princess (played by Olive Oyl). The contents include several head-sized gemstones that bathe the room in colored light, including a diamond that is so brilliant the princess needs sunglasses to look at it -- and her window turns it into a spotlight to illuminate Aladdin posing outside on his horse.
  • July 9, 2013
    Nocturna
    Edited the draft to fix a markup issue.

    I think the description needs more about how the glowing affects things in the story; to wit, often the gems are either being used as a light source or they're glowing as an indicator that they're super-duper special (this type could be a subtrope of Power Glows). It may even be better to split those two types into distinct tropes.

    And an example:

    Literature
    • In The Silmarillion, the three Silmaril gems were made from the light of magic trees, causing the gems to glow perpetually. The light is so pure that the gems burn any evil being that touches them. One of the gems was eventually made into a star.
  • July 10, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Seconded Glowing Gem. Simple, and leaves no ambiguousness about the trope namer. Also has that alliterate appeal that some folks appear to appreciate.
  • July 10, 2013
    Arivne
    I also like Glowing Gem.

    Literature
    • In The Hobbit the Arkenstone of Thrain (AKA The Heart of the Mountain) is described as shining with its own inner light.

    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • The following magical gems in 1st/2nd Edition glowed either on command or continuously: Gem of Brightness, Gem of Delusion, Jewel of Obsession, the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty, and the huge glowing orange Cursed Wishing gem in S1 Tomb Of Horrors.
      • A number of 1st Edition adventures included gems with a Continual Light spell cast upon them to make them glow, such as T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil and I12 Egg of the Phoenix. Continual Light creates a white light: if the gem is colored, the light it gives off will be the same color as the gem.
  • July 10, 2013
    XFllo
    Glowing Gem sounds ok. You may find examples in Enormous Engagement Ring or Treasure Is Bigger In Fiction, especially in animated works but you probably have to be familiar with the work.
  • July 10, 2013
    DAN004
    A gem normally glows when a light source shines through it, so I kinda don't think Glowing Gem would work. Just sayin'.
  • July 10, 2013
    Koveras
    Luminscent Gem?

    • In the Russian Mythology And Tales, specifically the byliny, large gems are commonly attributed with the ability to emit light and are used in that capacity by the bogatyrs to light the way.
  • July 10, 2013
    dragonquestz
  • July 10, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    I think I might have it. Light-Emitting Diamond, a pun on light-emitting diode (LED). Granted, the stone isn't always a diamond, so weigh the accuracy versus the pun.
  • July 10, 2013
    Koveras
    It's Clear Concise Witty, not the other way around. Clear beats Witty, I'm afraid...
  • July 10, 2013
    Trueman001
    I like Light-Emitting Diamond; the pun outweighs the fact that it doesn't quite fit all examples. Still open to possibilities; Glowing Gem is also good, for the Added Alliterative Appeal.
  • July 10, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I don't think the pun on LED is obvious enough to even make the current title witty. Glowing Gem is a lot better in my opinion.
  • July 10, 2013
    Generality
    • The eponymous stormlight in The Stormlight Archive is energy that suffuses any gem exposed to one of the powerful storms that frequently ravage the setting. The glowing gems are thus commonly used as a light source, and the light can also be drawn in by magic-users or power magitek.
  • July 11, 2013
    Arivne
    I like the witty reference to LEDs, but if the title Light Emitting Diamond is used, people will assume that it only refers to diamonds, not all gems.
  • July 11, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Aye, I'd still favour Glowing Gem over the punny Light Emitting Diamond, since they make only a fraction of light-source gems in fiction and causes some confusion.
  • July 11, 2013
    Earnest
    Here's a potential page pic.

    Here's the markup.

    [[quoteright:348:[[MagicTheGathering http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prophetic_prism2_6531.jpg]]]] [[caption-width-right:348:some caption text]]
  • July 11, 2013
    Trueman001
    For some reason the caption markup didn't work when I tried it...

    (edit) Never mind, fixed.
  • July 11, 2013
    Unknown Troper
    In Literature:

    The gems used in the Haldanes' power triggering ritual glow internallywhen a drop of blood from the next heir(s) comes in contact with the stones. This is true for both the Eye of Rom (a single red ruby mounted as an earring) and the Ring Of Fire (a ring with red garnets set in a cluster).
  • July 11, 2013
    Trueman001
    We still need a better description, and a good caption for that image.
  • July 11, 2013
    Goldfritha
    • In medieval folklore, it was held that an absolutely perfect ruby would glow from within, like a red-hot coal.
  • July 11, 2013
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: Lightstones, which function as Fantastic Light Source for Matoran.
  • July 12, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Call Of Cthulhu
      • In the Dreamlands campaign setting, adventure "Pickman's Student". While exploring the dream version of Elder Yuggoth, the PCs can encounter 4 dully glowing green gems that some Mi-go are using to restrain a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. Later on the PCs see one of the Mi-go sacrifice the Dark Young with a knife that has a blade made of the glowing gemstone.
      • Campaign Spawn of Azathoth. The Investigators can acquire two stones that are necessary to deal with the Seed of Azathoth. At the climax of the adventure, the stones become strange fist-sized, glowing ovoid gems that increase greatly in weight.
  • July 12, 2013
    Trueman001
    ^^Under what heading does the BIONICLE example fall? According to the linked page, it could be Comic Books, Literature, Western Animation, or possibly even Meta.
  • July 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    As far as I've seen, BIONICLE examples are usually listed under Toys.

    EDIT: By the way, the description should probably note that when Power Glows, this trope can overlap with Power Crystal.
  • July 13, 2013
    XFllo
    Just to note, Glowing Gem is not a qualifier for Added Alliterative Appeal. Alliteration must have the same sounds, not the same letters.
  • July 13, 2013
    LOAD
    Sun Stones in the Live Action Dinotopia
  • July 13, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I agree, and someone should start a trope repair thread (I can't, but I would support it if I could post there).
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=bjtihr3tqi6vz5b9igavbg3t&trope=GlowingGem