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[[quoteright:345:[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ImprisonedZelda_4758.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:344:Secure ''and'' decorative.]]

Diamonds are forever, which comes in handy when you want to make someone ''really'' suffer during a life sentence while keeping them ([[CardboardPrison securely!]]) caged.

Characters in a Crystal Prison are put inside some gorgeous, colorful and exquisitely cut variety of gem. This crystal is usually made of {{Phlebotinum}} capable of keeping the captive alive despite the lack of air, either in [[HumanPopsicle suspended animation]] or [[AndIMustScream forever awake]]. This [[TailorMadePrison escape proof prison]] may trap them bodily like [[PeopleJars a bug in amber]]; in fact, if the Crystal Prison isn't coffin sized it's going to be small enough to be worn as jewelry.

While breaking the gem can release the captive, attempting this literal jailbreak may not be a guarantee of getting the captive out alive. Breaking it could also shatter or kill the captive, or the gem may be unbreakable unless the jailer/creator somehow dispels it. That being said, a prisoner who is pushed into using HeroicResolve may crack open the crystal through sheer force of will.

If the crystal is imprisoning a very important character, and if ElementalRockPaperScissors is in-universe at the time, this can get a person or persons from all the various groups to [[AllYourPowersCombined combine their powers into one technique]], preferably in a big Finale or at least a SwirlyEnergyThingy that features PowerGlows, and break the crystalline prison, in a show of DramaticShattering.

Contrast SoulJar, where the soul is put in a crystal, and BodyToJewel, where the character becomes crystal. PeopleJars are sometimes this trope with "science." Also compare HarmlessFreezing, with ice blocks being the main difference. See also MineralMacguffin, MagicMirror, PhantomZone and PowerCrystal.

As you can see from the example distribution, this is most common in anime and video games.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Anime/SailorMoon's'' first season, Jadeite got this for repeatedly failing his queen.
** In the final fight against Kaorinite, Tuxedo Mask also gets sealed in a glass crystal by Senishenta. It also happened to him in the ''R'' movie, with Fiore as the culprit. In the first case, he has to be unsealed by the Senshi; in the second, he breaks out when Fiore tortures Moon via sucking her out of her LifeEnergy almost to death.
** In the second season, Neo Queen Serenity was trapped in a coffin-like crystal during the BadFuture. [[spoiler: Subverted: the Queen had been ''very'' gravely injured after TakingTheBullet for Chibi-Usa during the invasion of the Black Moon Clan. Her wounds and the Dark Energy inside them caused her to fall in a coma, so the Senshi of said BadFuture encased the Neo Queen in crystal to ''protect'' her from any other threats. She's healed and released when Wiseman is defeated.]]
* Hellmaster's signature move in ''TheSlayers'', whether a coffin-sized one on individuals (like the ones he crafted for [[spoiler: Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Martina and Zangulus -- and he starts ''crushing'' Gourry's to taunt Lina and provoke her into summoning the Lord of Nightmares]]) or a titanic glacier on an entire city ([[spoiler: like Sylphiel's DoomedHometown]]. It was copied by [[spoiler: Rezo]] in the 4th season.
* In ''TenchiMuyo'', Washu was trapped in a gem placed inside a closed PocketDimension located inside Kagato's ship. When Mihoshi stumbles into said dimension [[BornLucky almost by accident]] and starts fighting a monster inside it, the energy released starts cracking the gem's surface; once the monster somehow becomes TakenForGranite (and just few inches away from poor Mihoshi), Washu is able to break free safely.
* Towards the end of TenchiInTokyo, [[spoiler: Sasami]] is abducted by [[spoiler: Yuugi, whom she's a MoralityPet for]] and is placed in one of these. [[spoiler: She's wearing a bracelet with a powerful gemstone (part of the MacGuffin), and when it begins to react to Tenchi and the girls's own shards, it breaks through the big gem and Sasami is released.]]
* [[spoiler: Pandora]] in ''ViolinistOfHameln.''
* Lisette in ''ElevenEyes''. Happens to Yuka later, and for some reason, her clothes are also gone.
* Although ice is not usually considered a crystal, Snow of ''{{MAR}}'' evokes this trope by encasing herself in ice when she first appears, and the characters, good and evil, don't want to just bust the ice apart, possibly for fear of shattering her as well. They must find a fire ARM to melt the ice instead.
** It's also made quite clear that she isn't preserving her life by doing this, one of the characters notes that they only have a handful of hours to rescue her before she'll die while trapped.
* In the ''Manga/{{Naruto}} Shippuden'' three-tails filler arc, the villain put Hinata in one of these. While the crystal substance was extremely strong, the main problem was getting her out without [[LiterallyShatteredLives shattering her]] if she was even still alive.
* In ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' 's anime exclusive Asgard saga, there's an ''extremely'' nasty version. The God Warrior of the Megrez Delta star, Alberich, can summon the "Amethyst Shield" --an attack that sends shards of amethyst flying from his body and towards the enemy, encasing him/her in a shell of translucent gemstone. If they're not freed, victims will be robbed of their LifeEnergy, and eventually become skeletons trapped in amethyst. And the only way to really free them is to kill Alberich himself. [[spoiler: That ''almost'' happens to Marin and later Seiya, and Shiryu has to save them both via fighting Alberich to the death.]]
** Also happens to [[spoiler: Hyoga]] in the anime, but this is [[spoiler: an ''ice'' prison rather than a mineral one. Shiryu, Seiya and Shun find him, and then Shiryu uses one of the Twelve Weapons from the Libra Cloth to unseal Hyoga's body before he ''actually'' freezes to death.]]
* In ''Manga/BlueExorcist'' this happens to [[spoiler: Rin, when he blows his cover.]]
* Lorelei in ''Anime/SaberMarionetteJ'' [[spoiler:while trapped in the ''[[KillSat Mesopotamia]]'']].
* [[spoiler: [[http://www.mangahead.com/index.php/Manga-English-Scan/Vampire-Knight/Vampire-Knight-93-English-Scan/34.jpg?action=big&size=original Kaname Kuran]] ]] from VampireKnight is seen in one of these [[spoiler: in the GrandFinale, after he destroys his own heart and falls in a coma. It's actually a case of ''ice'' made by [[AnIcePerson Aidou]] with the intention of protecting his comatose body.]]
* Happened to [[spoiler: Asuna Kagurazaka]] in MahouSenseiNegima, [[spoiler: [[http://mangafox.me/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v31/c284/7.html during her days]] as a BarrierMaiden.]]
* In ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' [[spoiler:Annie "Female Titan" Leonhart]] invokes the trope and seals ''herself'' in one when the Survey Corps capture her, so they won't be able to interrogate her.
* ''TheNoozles'' has the Crystal Place at the center of Koala Walla Land, which is filled with colored orbs that [[AndIMustScream permanently entrap]] anyone who touches them with bare hands, such as Sandy's grandfather.
* A frequent tool used by GenreSavvy villains in ''Manga/SgtFrog'' to [[TheWorfEffect nerf]] Angol Mois.
* [[spoiler: Meliodas]] from ''Manga/NanatsuNoTaizai'' briefly gets sealed within a small crystal charm.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* An early JusticeLeagueOfAmerica story, "The Doom of the Star Diamond!"
** During the JLA Grant Morrison run, this happened to Triumph. He was a hero who turned bad due to a run of unbelievably crappy luck.
* In BlackestNight, a ''GreenLantern'' story, this is one of the methods the Star Sapphires (Violet Lanterns) use to recruit new members. The crystals they encase people in become brainwashed to become more compassionate and compels them to join the Star Sapphires. A real mystery is that, as of the moment, the Star Sapphires comprise only of women. They've trapped men before, but all have either broken free or were rescued by someone else.
* Cristalline in ''[[{{Marvel2099}} X-Men 2099]]'' can produce crystals out of thin air. Apparently she can structure them to allow air through, so when she is in good mood her enemies will be trapped in a block of crystal but relatively unharmed.
* The first book in the FrancoBelgianComics series ''Chroniques des pays de Markal'' is about a stone with this power.
* The [[EldritchAbomination Ogdru-Jahad]], ever present BiggerBad of the [[HellBoy Mignola]][[{{BPRD}} verse]], are sealed away in hunks of cloudy yellowish crystal floating through an interdimensional void, only able to interact with the world through telepathic communication with anybody stupid and/or evil enough to help them break out and cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* ''[[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog]]'': Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles imprison the immortal Mammoth Mogul inside a Chaos Emerald.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* Sassette as a real young female Smurfling was put into suspended animation inside a crystal in ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The [[GodOfEvil Ogdru Jahad]] in the ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'' film. Hellboy shatters the ice-like crystals, partially releasing them.
* Zod & co. from ''SupermanII'', who got thrown into the original PhantomZone.
* For the [[JerkassGenie evil Djinn]] in the first two ''Film/{{Wishmaster}}'' movies (at least), a gem was basically used in place of the more traditional [[GenieInABottle bottle]].
* Godzilla Junior is trapped in a crystal by the titular alien villain in ''Film/GodzillaVSSpaceGodzilla''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Gamebooks]]
* One of the two [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]] installments in the ''Literature/NintendoAdventureBooks'', ''The Crystal Trap'', had Link being the victim of this due to a curse laid by Ganon on the Triforce pieces (which got Link on a technicality since the Triforce of Courage was in his heart). The reader followed the plot of Zelda on a FetchQuest trying to find the three items that would work together to free him from the curse before it became permanent -- one of the "failure" endings depicted the crystal [[TakenForGranite turning to stone]] with Link still inside.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Prior to the ''TheElenium'', Queen Elhena is sealed in a diamond. The diamond slows her body down drastically, including the effects of the poison currently kill her, giving Sparhawk time to find a cure.
* In ''Servant of the Dragon'', third book in DavidDrake's ''Literature/TheLordOfTheIsles'' epic fantasy series, Cashel is served by the demon Krias, who is trapped in a large gem mounted on a ring.
* In the ''ConanTheBarbarian'' story "Tower of the Elephant" an evil sorcerer is trapped inside a plate-sized ruby, to suffer eternal torment from an extradimensional being he had previously trapped and tormented for power and knowledge.
* One of the ''MagicKingdomOfLandover'' books had Ben trapped in a crystal.
* In ''Literature/DarkLordOfDerkholm'', [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Mr. Chesney]] keeps the demon that allows him to send Pilgrim Parties to Derk's world trapped inside what resembles a clear paperweight. [[spoiler: He ultimately ends up taking the demon's place in the final step of his well-deserved HumiliationConga.]]
* The [[CosmicKeystone Keystones]] of ''Literature/TheSeventhTower'' act as this.
* In the ''Literature/IncarnationsOfImmortality'' novel "Wielding a Red Sword", the Incarnation of War finds a beautiful princess trapped in a smooth sphere. He is only able to enter the sphere as a soul (not with his body) but when he does so, he finds it is a trap by Satan. Satan then brings both of them into Hell.
* In the ''Literature/DresdenFiles'', [[spoiler: Demonreach]] is a prison in which each cell is a crystal. Each crystal holds an EldritchAbomination. The tunnels holding the crystals go on for miles.
* Spren imprisoned in gemstones power ''[[Literature/TheStormlightArchive The Stormlight Archive's]]'' {{Magitek}} fabrials.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', the Fortress of Solitude had been used to imprison [[spoiler:Clark in ''Blue'' and ''Persona'']] and [[spoiler:Davis in ''Bride'']].
* Olaf the troll was trapped in a crystal in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' until Willow broke it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''DungeonsAndDragons'' has a spell called Trap The Soul. When cast, it imprisons the target's soul inside of a gem.
** There's also Magic Jar, where you willingly transfer your soul into a gem or crystal, then attempt to possess another living creature who comes near.
** ''DungeonsAndDragons'' 1st/2nd Edition had a spell called Binding. One variation of the spell was Minimus Containment, which shrank a creature and held it inside a gem.
** A demilich could drain the souls out of its victims' bodies and store them in its gemstone teeth.
** Adventures
*** C2 ''The Ghost Tower of Inverness''. The Soul Gem could drain the souls of creatures and store them in itself.
*** "The Garden of Nefaron" in Dragon magazine #53. The evil psionicist Malakon had his mind trapped within his own psychogem.
* ''MagicTheGathering'': In the ''Mirage'' storyline, Mangara was trapped in amber, as depicted on the card [[http://magiccards.info/mr/en/257.html Amber Prison]].
** And, of course, the card itself does exactly what you'd expect.
* In the ''{{Exalted}}'' [[AlternateUniverse Shard]] "Gunstar Autochthonia]], [[EvilGenius the Magnus]] is imprisoned in a cell carved into Autochthon's Elemental Pole of Crystal.
** Gods have a Charm, "Chrysalis of Preservation" that lets them do this. They can even imprison ''concepts'' inside their crystals.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* At the halfway point of ''ChronoCross'', Kid is taken from your party and disappears for the remainder of the game (unless you count her dark doppelganger, [[spoiler:harle]]). She turns up during the final battle inside a crystal, which is actually the backside of the Time Devourer. Freeing Kid without killing her is how you unlock the GoldenEnding.
** In the DS remake of ChronoTrigger, this same awaits Schala when you face the bonus boss, Dream Devourer. Additionally, one of the exiles from Zeal, Melchior, is trapped in a crystal on the Mountain of Woe's peak.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX2'' features Crystal Snail and his weapon, the Crystal Hunter. Getting hit by it will trap you in crystal, and you have to mash buttons to get out. When you [[PowerCopying beat him and get his weapon]], you can do the same to weaker enemies and use the trapped enemy as an ImprovisedPlatform. And if you dash into them, [[LiterallyShatteredLives they shatter into pieces]].
* The Arcane Warrior whose soul was [[AndIMustScream trapped within a gem for thousands of years]] in ''Franchise/DragonAge'' comes to mind.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro'' trilogy, Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx are trapped in a gem between the second and third games.
** In the first game of the original ''VideoGame/SpyroTheDragon'' series, most of the characters were (depending on whether you read the manual or play the game) either sealed in crystal or turned ''into'' crystal statues.
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'', Perfect Chaos was released from the Master emerald.
* [[IronicName Krystal]] in ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' .
* Towards the end of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', Princess Zelda is imprisoned in a crystal. This is of course, the page picture.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link To The Past]]'', this was the the fate of the seven maidens when they entered the Dark World, as they were too pure to change form and thus became imprisoned in crystal instead.
** Din in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames Oracle of Seasons]]''
** Like in ''A Link to the Past'', the six Maidens and Zelda are enjeweled again in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwordsAdventures''.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'', [[spoiler:Zelda does this willingly to prevent the end of the world.]]
* The Unholy Crystal boss in ''{{Splatterhouse}}'' 2, which [[spoiler: contains the soul of Jennifer]].
* ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' has soul gems, which [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin are gems in which you can trap souls]].
* Starting in ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soul Calibur IV]]'', Soul Calibur starts using this trick in quite a few character endings where it defeats Soul Edge. The biggest example is [[spoiler: Patroklos, who's in the receiving end after the spirit of Soul Calibur turns on him]].
* Something of a recurring theme in ''ValkyrieProfile'' and ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile2Silmeria''; apart from the Valkyrie's ability to temporarily trap monsters in a crystal (ice for Lenneth, light for Silmeria), Silmeria, Lenneth and Brahms all end up in crystals during VP 1 and 2. [[http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100722133703/valkyrieprofile/images/thumb/0/02/Silmeria_VP_Lenneth.jpg/569px-Silmeria_VP_Lenneth.jpg Rather like this, really.]]
* Myzrael is a princess (elemental princess, note) trapped in a crystal in a quest in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''.
** A few enemies and bosses, notably some crystal giants, can do this to you. A few ice using bosses can imprison you in an ice block as well.
** Warlocks can trap the souls of their enemies in crystals in order to fuel their stronger spells. And it happens to the warlock himself in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18inYNWrsTg this episode]] of "Chronicle of the Annoying Quest"
* In the musical EdutainmentGame ''Julliard Music Adventure'', the player must rescue a Queen who is trapped in an amulet.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'': Five years before the game begins, [[spoiler:Cloud confronts Sephiroth at the Nibelheim power reactor when the latter returns to retrieve Jenova. Thanks to Cloud mortally wounding him,]] Sephiroth tumbled off the catwalk and fell into the Mako pool below the reactor, eventually winding up in the Lifestream. In the present, [[spoiler:Cloud and his party chase "Sephiroth" across the planet, unaware it is Jenova imitating his appearance; the real]] Sephiroth is frozen in a block of Mako, having drifted to the North Crater during his travels.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'': Once [[BlessedWithSuck branded a L'Cie]] by the [[JerkassGods Fal'Cie]], Crystal Stasis is the reward for fulfilling their focus, in contrast to failing and becoming a Cie'th (i.e. [[BodyHorror transforming into a twisted, zombie-like horror]]). But this also means [[spoiler:the Fal'cie can reawaken them and use them as puppets as much as they want]]. This is what happened with Serah and Dajh, [[spoiler:and Vanille and Fang were originally Pulse L'Cie brought to Cocoon and awakened by Barthandelus as his [[UnwittingPawn Unwitting Pawns]]]]. Ultimately, this also happens to [[spoiler:Lightning, Snow, Sazh and Hope by slaying [[DeathSeeker Orphan]], but soon awaken as a result of Vanille and Fang's double DeusExMachina HeroicSacrifice.]]
* The entire plot of ''KingdomOfLoathing'' comes about because the [[BigBad Naughty Sorceress]] [[{{Pun}} imprismed]] [[DistressedDude King Ralph]]. [[DontExplainTheJoke In a prism.]]
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' and ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'' had several Toads and Lumas trapped in crystals (possibly by [[BigBad Bowser]]), and Mario/Luigi had to spin said crystals to set them free.
** There are also [[TheGoomba Goombas]] trapped in crystals as well. Makes players wonder why Bowser wanted to trap his own minions in crystals along with his enemies.
* In ''{{Runescape}}'', the goal of the "Merlin's Crystal" quest is to rescue {{Merlin}}, who has been [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20091029205221/runescape/images/thumb/a/a8/Merlintrapped.png/180px-Merlintrapped.png trapped inside a crystal]] by [[ArthurianLegend Morgan le Faye]].
* An Archaeology item of ancient amber in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' allows characters to do this, but only to themselves. As one might imagine, it's not a particularly useful item.
* In ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'', a Soul Gem shows up in the last mission of the Orc campaign; it's used to imprison [[spoiler: Grom Hellscream]] so he can be captured without killing him.
* The BigBad does this to your entire party at the end of ''BreathOfFireII''. [[spoiler:TheHero breaks out of it, but this angers the BigBad and he [[LiterallyShatteredLives shatters the remaining crystals]]. (TheHero's EleventhHourSuperPower brings them BackFromTheDead soon after.)]]
* In ''RealmOfTheMadGod'', Mysterious Crystals are scattered throughout the Realm, literally begging you to smash them. [[spoiler:They are actually the prisons of [[MemeticMutation bosses that summon demon PONEHS]].]]
* Several enemies are trapped inside crystals in the Crystal Caves -level of ''VideoGame/MediEvil''.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', Dusk of Oolacile was trapped for centuries inside a Crystal Golem. Defeating the Golem frees her and allows you to summon her later so she can teach you a few nifty spells.
* ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' champion [[LivingDream Nocturne]] is imprisoned in a nexus shard when not fighting on the rift. Despite this, he's constantly slashing away at the barriers between him and the outside world, causing his powers to have a slight influence around the nexus shard.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* Toa in ''{{BIONICLE}}'' can create or destroy absurdly strong Protodermis by using their powers as a team - even Makuta Teridax can't break free of a prison made of it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In the ''SkinHorse'' arc "Borrowers," Tip finds the maintenance staff trapped inside the living crystal entities in the basement. He gets captured too, but since the crystals are sensitive to noise, they release him when he threatens to start singing Madonna.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''
** At the end of her episode, [[spoiler: Tree Trunks]] ends up inside a gem, [[spoiler: (gem-apple, really)]]. She seems quite fond of it.
** The Lich is encased in amber as of the beginning of "Mortal Folly".
** The Citadel uses these to imprison cosmic criminals. [[CardboardPrison It doesn't work so well on the Lich.]]
* During the two-part finale of ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'', many sky knights are captured and imprisoned in a giant crystal.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}}'' this is [[ParodiedTrope Parodied]] in "Omens Part Two," when The [[LizardFolk Lizard]] Army uses a [[TreasureIsBiggerInFiction giant]] geode as a TrojanHorse to enter Thundera, having been stuck waiting in there for two days, not counting the trip ''to'' Thundera. One complains to his general about the smell after being freed.
* ''WesternAnimation/CareBearsMovieIIANewGeneration'' had the characters trapped in a crystal chandelier by Dark Heart.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers'': A Psychocrypt victim will have his LifeEnergy in one crystal, and his body entombed in a second. Merging the two will free the person.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'', recurring villain Mozenrath loves these--the plots of two episodes revolve around him trying to entomb the Genie in one.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Amber is the fossil resin of ancient trees. Since resin evolved as a way of trapping insects and other small animals (to protect the tree from the damage they do), we naturally find a lot of insects, spiders, etc., trapped in amber.
[[/folder]]

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