Stock Gemstone Colors
In fiction, each color is associated with a gemstone, vice versa.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-07-29 20:11:24 sponsor: tryourbreast edited by: FastEddie (last reply: 2012-10-20 02:48:20)

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In Real Life, almost every gemstone has a range of colors, depending on the crystal formation, and/or impuries in the gemstone. Diamonds deserve special mention here - with perfect structure and no impurities they are totally transparent (has no color), but in practical they can be in all kinds of color, including red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, indigo, violet, magneta. What's more, even gray and black diamond exists[[hottip:*:by reaching a certain degree of saturation]], leaving the only missing color white. And human have made a complex scale for every gem to categorise its color, which could ruin its value, or make it skyrocket.

In fiction, however, no, you won't see diamonds in all kinds of color. Not even all other gemstones - they won't get their full range of color at all, but rather, in one specific stereotype color that's associated with it. And perhaps to add bonus to it, each gemstone is associated with one colour, which in total forms a Chromatic Arrangement, like so:

  • Rubies are red;
  • Topaz are yellow;
  • Emeralds are green;
  • Sapphires are blue;
  • Amethysts are purple;
  • And finally, diamonds are white[[hottip:*:which we couldn't show in white text, but whatever]];
altogether provides a pleasing rainbow of possibilities.

And of course, the converse work as much as these too, which mean each colour represent one specific gemstone, like all red gems are Rubies, all yellow gems are Topaz, and so on. Which missed an important fact that many gemstones can share a common color, for example, Sapphire and Aquamarine are both blue, while blue Zircon and Diamond exists... but comes into fiction, Sapphire often becomes the only blue gem. Or you could let Aquamarine becomes the cyan gem. And lastly, when this is in effect Up to Eleven, the gems could even represent an element - Rubies equals fire, Sapphire equals water, etc. Possibly interesting note: rubies and sapphires are the same mineral (corundum, or aluminium oxide) with different tints due to containing different trace elements. While according to the strictest mineralogist interpretations onyx might not be a gemstone, it's usually treated as one both in real life and in fiction. Onyx is usually Black.

If a gemstone is not the usual color, it's usually the focus of the story or unusual in some other way, since it's a detail.

Sub-Trope of Stock Object Colors. Sister trope to All-Natural Gem Polish. Compare Color-Coded Elements. Related to One Steve Limit.

Examples

Comics
  • In the DC Universe, Eclipso's powers are focused through/caused by a black diamond.

Film
  • Averted with the "Heart Of The Ocean", a fictional blue Diamond set in a necklace that was a key object in the film Titanic.

Literature
  • Played with somewhat in The Stormlight Archive, where there are ten gemstones used in Soulcasting; each gemstone can transmute a certain element, and the association is based mainly on the commonality of colour between them. In order, with colours and elements listed, the gemstones are: Sapphire, blue, any clear gas. Smokestone, black, any opaque gas. Ruby, red, fire. Diamond, white, crystal. Emerald, green, plant matter. Garnet, rusty red, blood. Zircon, yellow, oil. Amethyst, purple, metal. Topaz, brown, stone. Heliodor, golden, flesh.

Tabletop Games
  • Rifts usually subverts this. In using gems as Power Crystals for Techno-Wizard devices, gem types of alternate colors are often mentioned and actually have their own magic separate from the standard color.

Video Games
  • In Diablo 2, you could find the six gems that are explained in their description, each with the colour that it's said in the description. What's more, adding them to Socketed Equipment gives it a glow of the colour of the gem, and some of them (to be precise, ruby, sapphire, topaz and emerald) are associated with elements, adding damage of that element in weapons and resistance to the element in shields (ruby is fire, sapphire is cold, topaz is lightning and emerald is poison). The other two (diamond and amethyst) aren't, though.
  • In Runescape, there are blue sapphires, red rubies, green emeralds, white diamonds, and black onyx. But's it's not ended yet: there are also quest-related gems that are different in color (blood diamond is red, smoke diamond is gray, shadow diamond is black, ice diamond is light gray). Lastly, jade, opal and diamond are in ridiculously similar color. You can have a reference here.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • First done in Ocarina of Time. The Kokiri Emerald is Green, Goron Ruby is Red, and Zora Sapphire is Blue.
    • Later invoked in Skyward Sword. The Ruby Tablet has a red stone, the Emerald Tablet has a green stone, and for the first time there is an Amber Tablet that has a yellow stone.
  • Averted in Sonic the Hedgehog, The Seven Chaos Emeralds come in different colors which tended to change from game to game until it was standardized in Sonic Adventure. Since then, they are consistently Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple, Cyan, and White. There are also several other jewels in the series in different colors, all refered to as Emeralds.
  • Partly averted in Dwarf Fortress, which has diamonds of five colours as well as clear, and also blue, clear and pink garnets in addition to red, and so on and so forth. It assigns the standard colours to emerald, ruby, sapphire, amethyst, topaz and quite a few others, though.
  • Nethack plays this one dead straight, with a few exceptions - there's two possibilities each for turquoise and aquamarine (green or blue), and fluorite is randomly assigned either green, blue, white or violet. All gems are just "< colour > gem" until identified, so an unidentified "red gem" can't turn out to be sapphire, which is a blue gem.
  • Bubble Bobble has gemstones in five of the spectrum colours (its sequel, Rainbow Islands, adds the missing two - red and green), but they're all treated as diamonds (probably because they conform to the stereotypical 2-D diamond shape - the point-down pentagon, which is surely also a trope).
  • Minecraft emeralds are a conventional green, but the diamonds are an unconventional cyan.
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