Created By: tryourbreast on July 29, 2012 Last Edited By: FastEddie on October 20, 2012
Nuked

Stock Gemstone Colors

In fiction, each color is associated with a gemstone, vice versa.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
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.
Community Feedback Replies: 49
  • July 30, 2012
    Routerie
    Fictional diamonds aren't always white. You sometimes see rough uncut diamonds or cut yellow diamonds. Blood Diamond featured a red diamond. The Pink Panther was a pink diamond.

    So if this trope is to list only white diamonds, call it White Diamonds.
  • July 30, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Yes, because I was thinking how to deliver the trope out, so it's still a mess. But edits are on the way
  • July 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    .
  • July 30, 2012
    FastEddie
    ^3 Those would be aversions.

    You might want to expand this to gemstones in general; each colour has a gemstone with which it is typically associated in fiction, despite these gemstones having wider colour ranges in real life (and many other gemstones existing that can have similar colourations. In total they form a Chromatic Arrangement, like so:

    • Rubies are red
    • Topaz are yellow. Sometimes garnets are used instead.
    • Emeralds are green.
    • Sapphires are blue.
    • Amethysts are purple.
    • And diamonds are white.

    Altogether provides a pleasing rainbow of possibilities. And diamonds being white seems to make sense because everyone knows diamonds are the hardest gem, and similarly white is the purest colour. Often in speculative media, the gemstones will have powers associated with their elemental colours: for instance, rubies will have fire powers.
  • July 30, 2012
    tryourbreast
    That looks a good idea. But I'm not sure if they worth all subtropes of their own, since they usually occur at once. Perhaps a supertrope like Stock Gemstone Colors is okay.
  • July 30, 2012
    Damr1990
  • July 30, 2012
    zarpaulus
    I think that the only reason diamonds are usually white is because that's how transparent materials are usually drawn, notice how windows in drawn mediums often have a white "sheen" to indicate "there is something there".
  • July 31, 2012
    tryourbreast
    ^^ In my opinion that trope should become a index. And this will become the subtrope.

    And I'm going to rework this to expand it to common gemstones. So it'll become very different later
  • August 1, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Finished rewriting. I think this comes out pretty well
  • August 1, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • August 1, 2012
    Doxiedame
    I suppose we just need examples now?

    Diablo 3, for instance?
  • August 2, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    Rubies Are Red Sapphires Are Blue would be a nice trope name
  • August 2, 2012
    tryourbreast
    I guess it has some reference? Because other than that I can't see it's better. It's too long in my view.
  • August 2, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Yes, it is, see Roses Are Red Violets Are Blue.
  • August 2, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Okay, now I've known about that, and I think that's not good, since that name would be something about red and blue only. But we're talking about gemstones in general.
  • August 2, 2012
    Koveras
  • August 2, 2012
    morenohijazo
    Not sure about Diablo 3 mentioned above as I haven't played it yet, but 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) and asociated 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).
  • August 2, 2012
    tryourbreast
    What are they? Ruby, sapphire, topaz, emerald, and what's the remaining two?
  • August 2, 2012
    Doxiedame
    Diablo 3 has Amethyst, Emerald, Ruby and Topaz. However, their topazes are colored orange, instead of yellow. Socketing can add a glow, but I can't recall any of them seeming to deal with any elemental thing in particular. They do, however, have certain stats they go with, depending on the equipment in which they're slotted.

    The official page gives more information: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/jeweler/recipe/#page=1
  • August 2, 2012
    SKJAM
    If a gemstone is not the standardized color, it's usually the focus of the story or unusual in some other way.

    • In the DC Universe, Eclipso's powers are focused through/caused by a black diamond.
  • August 3, 2012
    morenohijazo
    ^^^ The other two are diamond and amethyst. Each of the six fits exactly what's mentioned in the description.

    ^^ Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 are very different regarding to gem properties. They give different bonuses in each game, there are six in the former (plus skulls, that have the same function, but they don't fit in this trope) while the latter has four.

    http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/items/gems.shtml
  • August 3, 2012
    Generality
    Not sure how best to format this-

    • 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.
  • August 3, 2012
    abk0100
    runescape's gems. I don't feel like writing the example myself.
  • August 3, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Don't worry, I know runescape. I can do it for you
  • August 3, 2012
    abk0100
    thanks for encouraging my laziness.
  • August 4, 2012
    acrobox
    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 refereed to as Emeralds.
  • August 7, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    Garnets are pretty much always seen as red, not yellow.
  • August 7, 2012
    tryourbreast
    Okay, removed that sentence
  • August 7, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    Averted with the "Heart Of The Ocean", a fictional blue Diamond set in a necklace that was a key object in the film Titanic.
  • August 8, 2012
    LOAD
    Star gems may be special.
  • August 31, 2012
    acrobox
    • 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.
  • August 31, 2012
    acrobox
    also i think Topaz is much more commonly in the Orange range (including brown) rather than then Yellow range. If Gold isnt gold in color, itll be yellow, Amber is almost always yellow
  • August 31, 2012
    acrobox
    you should also add that Onyx is usually Black
  • August 31, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Onyx is not a gemstone.

    Possibly interesting note: rubies and sapphires are the same mineral (corundum, or aluminium oxide) with different tints due to containing different trace elements.
  • August 31, 2012
    Kinitawowi
    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.

    Finally, 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).
  • September 5, 2012
    Kinitawowi
    YKTTW Bump!

    @rodneyAnonymous: 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. (And in fiction, acrobox is right - onyx and black are frequently synonymous, particularly in bad Purple Prose-based fanfic.)
  • September 5, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Strictest what? I have never heard onyx called a gem.

    Apparently, despite my never having heard of that, it is sometimes grouped with gems. The others above are precious or semi-precious stones, though, which onyx is not no matter how you slice it.
  • September 5, 2012
    aurora369
    As far as I can remember, onyx is stripey brownish, not black.
  • September 5, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I think a lot of diamonds are depicted as clear
  • September 29, 2012
    ShyTenda
    Thing is, some gems in Real Life are partially defined by color (ruby is red corundum, emerald is green beryl, etc.)
  • September 30, 2012
    SAMAS
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Also, Frenzy Is Red, Rumble Is Blue. ^_^

    AC: Tabletop Game
    • 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.
  • September 30, 2012
    morenohijazo
    ^ Man... First, you should make clear that you're replying to Koveras' post. Second... What you've said is just stupid.
  • October 11, 2012
    McKathlin
    • Minecraft emeralds are a conventional green, but the diamonds are an unconventional cyan.
  • October 18, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Note>

    There does not appear to be any coherent trope here or commonality between examples. Objects come in colours is not a trope. Especially when there's no standard meaning between things.

    This YKTTW is now pending discarding.
  • October 19, 2012
    Arivne
    I think that the narrative meaning of this trope (the information being conveyed to the audience) is what kind of gem they're seeing.

    In other words, the creator doesn't have to say that a gem is a sapphire: if it's colored blue, the reader/viewer will assume that it is without having to be told.
  • October 19, 2012
    FastEddie
    Leaves are painted green, tree trunks are brown. It is just representational. True, it conveys the message "this story has a tree in it," but that's it. I mean ... blue stones are blue is not a trope.
  • October 19, 2012
    Madrugada
    If you're looking for a trope here, there needs to be information conveyed to the audience by the color of the stone, something like what Arivne has in the comment two above this one. Saying "diamonds are always white or clear" isn't a trope. Saying "otherwise unidentified white or clear stones can be presumed to be diamonds, (not white zircon, or quartz, or something else)" might be. Otherwise this is just an observation, not a trope.
  • October 19, 2012
    lexicon
    There's not even an observation in the examples. They're all averted here, subverted there.
  • October 20, 2012
    morenohijazo
    I think there are two aspects that could be tropable:

    -The inclusion of several of these gems together. If you see the examples, there are lots of cases where you can see each of the main gems (the ones mentioned in the description), rather than just one or two, and each representing something.

    -The association of gems with elements.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=i93yzp2u4oowuv6zd65i3e82&trope=DiscardedYKTTW