Created By: acroboxMay 13, 2013 Last Edited By: NocturnaMay 31, 2013
Troped

Color Coded Stones

Jewels, gemstones, minerals and other precious objects have stock colors associated with them

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This is a visual shorthand trope that makes gems identifiable on sight, often reducing gems to Palette Swaps of each other. In Real Life, there are many features that differentiate minerals, gemstones, precious metals, and organic gems from each other: hardness, smoothness, clarity, a range of possible colors, and location found. But the only feature the audience can directly see for themselves, and that most people outside of geologists are readily familiar with, is color. Therefore, gems in fiction will often be identified solely by color, with a standard set of gem-color associations dictating the types of gems. The gems may be identical aside from the differences in color.

Generally, the code is as follows:
  • Ruby: Red
  • Sapphire: Blue
  • Emerald: Green
  • Amber: Yellow or orange
  • Topaz: Orange or yellow
  • Amethyst: Purple
  • Onyx: Black
  • Diamond: White or clear, possibly with light blue or yellow mixed in
  • Gold: Yellow, orange, or tannish
  • Silver: Medium to light gray, possibly with a little blue mixed in

Often these gemstones are seen together as a set of Mineral Macguffins. When it's more generalized (i.e. all red gems are rubies, all orange gems are topaz all the way down the rainbow), it's never brought up why there's so much mineral diversity in one area. If a gemstone is not the usual color, that is usually a plot relevant detail.

If there's gemstone Theme Naming going on, this trope functions in essentially the same way as Color Coded For Your Convenience. "Ruby" is synonymous with "Fancy Red" and so on. This may also double as Fancy Color Coded Elements, such as having a Fire Ruby.

A subtrope to Color Coded For Your Convenience for gemstones. It can be related to One Steve Limit, Color Coded Characters and Color Coded Elements. A sister trope to All Natural Gem Polish.


Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime And Manga]]
  • Yugioh GX has the Crystal Beasts. a group of monsters that are based on the following Gemstones:
    • Ruby Carbuncle: Red
    • Amber Mammoth: Orange
    • Topaz Tiger: Yellow
    • Emerald Tortoise: Green
    • Sapphire Pegasus and Cobalt Eagle: Different shades of Blue
    • Amethyst Cat: Purple

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: 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.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music]]
  • Aoki Lapis is named for the Lapis Lazuli Gemstone and has a color scheme of blue and purple.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
  • Yu Gi Oh has the Gem-Knight cards (a Homage to the Elemental Hero archetype and the above-mentioned Crystal Beasts) which are named for and usually colored after a Gemstone (The exception is Gem-Knight Lazuli and maybe Gem-Knight Sardonyx) Their leader Gem-Knight Master Diamond has white armor and an All Your Colors Combined Rainbow Motif sword and background.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]

  • F Zero GX: The four racing cups are Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald and Diamond. Red, Blue, Green and a pale Yellow respectively.
  • Zig-zagged with The Legend Of Kyrandia: Book One. In addition to having all the common gemstones and colors, the game includes a variety of other jewels, as one puzzle revolves around birthstones. One of the first items the player can pick up is a bright red garnet, and the first green-colored stone the player is likely to see is a peridot. The rubies and emeralds are trickier to acquire.
  • The Legend Of Zelda: Tends to do this for their goddess related objects starting in Ocarina Of Time with the green Spiritual Stone of Forest Kokiri Emerald, red Spiritual Stone of Fire Goron Ruby, and blue Spiritual Stone of Water Zora Sapphire.
    • Skyward Sword brought this back with the Emerald Tablet for the Forest, Ruby Tablet for the Volcano and for the first time Amber Tablet representing Yellow for the Desert.
  • Neverwinter Nights 1 has gemstones which all follow the stock-standard colors mentioned in the description.
  • Mine Craft: Emeralds are a conventional green, Diamonds are light blue.
  • In Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, the gemstones Nancy must find to operate a device not only look exactly as this trope predicts, but exactly like the pictures of their type in a book Nancy acquires.
  • Pokemon: The original Generation I games were Red, Green, and Blue. For Generation III, which was essentially a continuity reboot (couldn't link back to Gen I/II games, and included updated Ret Con remakes of Gen I,) started with Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald.
    • Gen IV's Diamond Version was a pale blue.
  • One dungeon in Shining The Holy Ark has the player collecting different coloured gem stones to use in a Soup Cans puzzle. The only way to figure out what gem went where was were was if you knew what the stock colours of the gems where.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog: Both played straight and averted. The Master Emerald which stands alone, is green. The Chaos Emeralds are a set of seven, only one is green and the others are differentiated by color. Given the Real Life example below they should probably be called Chaos Beryl instead.
  • Final Fantasy IX has the twelve birthstone jewels as equipped accessories, with their menu icons appropriately colored. Dissidia Final Fantasy includes the same items as trade accessories, minus the Garnet and Amethyst.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: The crystal stars which must be collected throughout this game are coloured as such. The diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire and garnet stars are white, green, red, blue and reddish-orange, respectively. Another star is palette swapped for gold and referred to as the "gold star", despite it being obvious that the star is a crystal not a metal. Perhaps a slight inversion as the last star is an iridescent white, yet it is the "crystal star" not diamond.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 colors to emerald, ruby, sapphire, amethyst, topaz and quite a few others, though.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
  • The 8 Disaster Stones in Cucumber Quest have each a color, symbol and element.

[[/fodler]]

[[folder: Web Games]]

  • Ginormo Sword has gems as enemy drops which are used to apply elemental power to your weapons and armor:
  • Web Game MotherLoad. When you're digging underground emeralds are green, rubies are red and diamonds are white, which helps you decide which ones you should collect.
  • The Web Game Tower Core features a puzzle involving eight colored gemstones. Each gem has a specific name, with citrine for yellow and obsidian for black.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
  • Birthstones are most popular/valuable/expensive in specific colors, and are the Trope Codifier
    • January Birthstone Garnet - Deep Red
    • February Birthstone Amethyst - Purple
    • March Birthstone Aquamarine - Light Blue
    • April Birthstone Diamond - White or Clear
    • May Birthstone Emerald - Green
    • June Birthstone Pearl - White or Cream
    • July Birthstone Ruby - Red
    • August Birthstone Peridot - Yellow-Green
    • September Birthstone Sapphire - Blue
    • October Birthstone Opal - White or Pink
    • November Birtstone Topaz - Orange
    • December Birthstone Turquoise - Blue-Green
  • The range of colors for some minerals is limited and the trope usually reflects that. For example
    • Rubies and sapphires are actually the same material. The only difference is that rubies are the red kind, and Sapphires are other colors including but not exclusively the blue kind. The only other color besides red that gets a specific name are orangish ones calls padparadscha.
    • Similarly emeralds are specifically the green variety of Beryl. Aquamarine is blue beryl.
  • Aveted however by Real Life Diamonds. With perfect structure and no impurities they are totally transparent and colorless. However with impurities they can be in all kinds of colors, 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.

[[/folder]]

[[foldercontrol]]
Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • May 13, 2013
    StarSword
    I'm not clear on the story mechanic behind the trope. Is this something akin to Theme Naming?

    Also, you might point out that rubies and sapphires get their different colors because they have different elements making up impurities in the corundum crystal. Rubies get their color from chromium, for example.
  • May 13, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ This is pretty much Color Coded For Your Convenience applied to gems. This is rather common in RPGs, where precious stones are a rare but valuable loot. Every gamer knows, for instance, that sapphires are blue and diamonds are clear white, never mind that there are orange sapphires and green diamonds. It's a shorthand convention in visual media and hence, tropable.
  • May 13, 2013
    acrobox
    Right. It's that even though other minerals can be blue, and sapphires can be other colors besides blue, the Blue rock will be called a Sapphire more often than not.

    It relates to Theme Naming that if things are named after gemstones they will also follow this color code.
  • May 13, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    I may have some examples from Yu Gi Oh:

    Anime And Manga
    • Yugioh GX has the Crystal Beasts. a group of monsters that are based on the following Gemstones:
      • Ruby Carbuncle: Red
      • Amber Mammoth: Orange
      • Topaz Tiger: Yellow
      • Emerald Tortoise: Green
      • Sapphire Pegasus and Cobalt Eagle: Different shades of Blue
      • Amethyst Cat: Purple

    Tabletop Games
    • Yu Gi Oh has the Gem-Knight cards (a Homage to the Elemental Hero archtype and the above-mentioned Crystal Beasts) which are named for and usually colored after a Gemstone (The exception is Gem-Knight Lazuli and maybe Gem-Knight Sardonyx) Their leader Gem-Knight Master Diamond has white armor and an All Your Colors Combined Rainbow Motif(In the sword and background, not the white armor).

    Also some Non-YGO examples:

    Music
    • Aoki Lapis is named for the Lapis Lazuli Gemstone and has a color scheme of blue and purple.

    Comic Books

    Western Animation
  • May 14, 2013
    Arivne
    We had this on YKTTW once before as Stock Gemstone Colors. It has examples you can borrow.

    It was criticized by several moderators and then discarded. This proposal faces the same fate unless you can make it clear (to their satisfaction) that it's a trope.
  • May 14, 2013
    Melkior
    ^ I think the previous YKTTW was disposed of too quickly. It seems to me that this is common enough to be a trope.

    Video Games:
    • Neverwinter Nights 1 has gemstones which all follow the stock-standard colors mentioned in the description.
  • May 14, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Is this tropable? I mean... it seems to be "gems are certain colors." Which they largely are in real life.
  • May 14, 2013
    acrobox
    I mean its conservation of detail that ignores potential color variance in gems, and ignores that there are differences between gems other than color.

    Not "gems are certain colors", but "colors represent specific gems."
  • May 14, 2013
    acrobox
    if you see a blue gem its a sapphire even though other gems can be blue. if you see a sapphire it will be a blue gem even though sapphires can be other colors. Ignoring hardness, shininess, transparency, where it was discovered etc. Sometimes gems are just PaletteSwaps of each other and they get the names as outlined above, even if there should be more differences than just color.

    And if there's Gem Theme Naming, even without actual gems being invovled, they will also follow the above outlined colors

    Visual shorthand trope, like all the other forms of Color Coded For Your Convenience. I think it has enough examples to get its own page.
  • May 15, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    By the way can I launch this YKTTW when it's ready?
  • May 16, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    bump.
  • May 16, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, the gemstones Nancy must find to operate a device not only look exactly as this trope predicts, but exactly like the pictures of their type in a book Nancy acquires.
  • May 17, 2013
    Frank75
    What about black opals?
  • May 17, 2013
    Jallen
    ^ Wouldn't stock colours for opals be more murky white?

    One dungeon in Shining The Holy Ark has the player collecting different coloured gem stones to use in a Soup Cans puzzle. The only way to figure out what gem went where was were was if you knew what the stock colours of the gems where.
  • May 17, 2013
    NESBoy
    The Web Game Tower Core features a puzzle involving eight colored gemstones. Each gem has a specific name, with citrine for yellow and obsidian for black.
  • May 19, 2013
    Arivne
    Video Games
    • Web Game MotherLoad. When you're digging underground emeralds are green, rubies are red and diamonds are white, which helps you decide which ones you should collect.
  • May 19, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Video Games
    • Zig-zagged with The Legend Of Kyrandia: Book One. In addition to having all the common gemstones and colors, the game includes a variety of other jewels, as one puzzle revolves around birthstones. One of the first items the player can pick up is a bright red garnet, and the first green-colored stone the player is likely to see is a peridot. The rubies and emeralds are trickier to acquire.
    • Ginormo Sword has gems as enemy drops which are used to apply elemental power to your weapons and armor:
  • May 21, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Changed to folders (the supposed wiki standard)
  • May 24, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Web Comics
    • Cucumber Quest: The 8 Disaster stones, in cucumber quest each have their own color and symbols representing their kingdom and element. Their colors are: Blue, red, Teal, Green, Orange, Yellow/White, Black, and Purple
  • May 24, 2013
    XFllo
    @ OP: You asked if you can launch it when it's ready. Yes, you can. Five hats is the standard way of telling that enough people think it's good to go.

    I definitely think it's tropeable. People use it in Purple Prose to describe eyes. "Sapphire bullets" or "emerald eyes" etc. However, I hae no specific examples at hand.

    However, have a look at the past YKTTW about gem stone colours, and the comments posted there. There must be more to it in the examples than just noticing that sapphire is/means blue.
  • May 24, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Well the gemstones could be used as a Motif of sorts. But this seems to be a trope where Lazy Artists make the same gemstones different colors and pass it off as different gemstones.
  • May 25, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Final Fantasy IX has the twelve birthstone jewels as equipped accessories, with their menu icons appropriately colored. Dissidia Final Fantasy includes the same items as trade accessories, minus the Garnet and Amethyst.
  • May 25, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 26, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 27, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    YKTTW Bump...again.
  • May 27, 2013
    complainian
    Another possible example to go under video games: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: The crystal stars which must be collected throughout this game are coloured as such. The diamond, emerals, ruby, sapphire and garnet stars are white, green, red, blue and reddish-orange, respectively. Another star is palette swapped for gold and referred to as the "gold star", despite it being obvious that the star is a crystal not a metal. Perhaps a slight inversion as the last star is an iridescent white, yet it is the "crystal star" not diamond.
  • May 27, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Added

    Also I removed the Cucumber Quest example because I think this for when a gem is referred as a specific gem because of color. The Disaster stones are not referred to as sapphires, turquoise, rubies, et cetera.
  • May 27, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 27, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 28, 2013
    morenohijazo
    I wouldn't do that if I were you. You're going to get this discarded again. Just edit the page, there's no need for making a new post.

    Anyway, I think there are two aspects that could be added to the description, to make this more 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.
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Alright, I added back the Cucumber Quest example and the points you mentioned on the description.
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 28, 2013
    Nocturna
    I think one thing which would make this more tropeworthy would be to focus on cases where there are multiple gemstones which are all drawn in the same manner. In those cases, color is used as a shorthand to indicate type, and those colors almost always conform to the ones listed in the draft.
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Okay, Any ideas how to do that?
  • May 28, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 29, 2013
    acrobox
    Morning Star 1337 Calm down...and why did you add all the confusing and wordy stuff from the earlier YKTTW to this one?
  • May 29, 2013
    acrobox
    Also let's make sure the trope is stable enough on its own before complicating it with aversions.
  • May 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^^ Because someone thought it would be more tropeworthy to add the element association and grouping things.

    ^Okay then. But I don't see any aversions (save the cucumber quest example)
  • May 29, 2013
    acrobox
    Already done, i streamlined it a bit and took them out
  • May 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Alright, thanks. do you think that there can be a trope for elemental gemstones? (as a separate trope)
  • May 30, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • May 30, 2013
    XFllo
    @ Morning Star 1337: Please don't make too many "bump posts" -- if you zero edit the article, the result is similar -- you get it to the first page to attract attention, but the discussion stays organized. Several people have told you so. It usually takes time to launch a trope. If you launch it too soon, it may be cutlisted.
  • May 30, 2013
    acrobox
    It's pretty much ready to go, just need one more hat
  • May 31, 2013
    Magiphart
    In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 the Chao race courses were all named after gemstones and the prize for winning is a medal following that color scheme.

    Also aren't Rubies just red Sapphires? Meaning by definition Rubies are red. I think examples of rubies should be removed.
  • May 31, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^ The trope goes both ways -- assuming that all of one type of gemstone is the same color, or that a jewel of a given color is always a certain type. Even if all rubies are red, not all red stones are rubies.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable