[[quoteright:300:[[http://www.omcdesign.com/?design=996 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/DataCrystal_8439.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:300:Today, flash drives. Tomorrow, precious gems!]]-]

Rather than use magnetic, optical, flash drive or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive solid-state drive]] based information storage mediums, in the future there will be ways to read and write data onto transparent crystaline solids. This jump in technology usually makes each Data Crystal a veritable BagOfHolding for information, uploading and downloading entire planetary databases in seconds. The crystals may be shaped like quartz, techno {{Crystal Ball}}s or as diamond or gem cut jewelry.

Data Crystals often double as video recorders and {{Hologram}} emitters, allowing owners to record, store and project their home movies. Because PowerGlows, these Data Crystal hologram projectors can often do so without an external power source.

TruthInTelevision with the fact that deep inside all of the plastic cladding, all solid-state electronic devices are based on crystalline semiconductors. Also, a three-dimensional storage matrix should work in theory, and once the engineering problems around heat dissipation and signal routing can be solved, offer orders of magnitude greater information density for a given volume than any possible refinement of the essentially two-dimensional storage methods in use today.

SubTrope of PowerCrystal and MineralMacGuffin, often used by residents of CrystalSpiresAndTogas.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* The ''Gosroth'''s log in ''LightNovel/CrestOfTheStars'' takes the form of a data crystal, which is passed on to Lafiel and Jinto when they're ordered to flee an impending battle.
* A major MacGuffin in ''[[Manga/{{Gunnm}} Battle Angel Alita: Last Order]]'' is an ancient computer program encoded on a crystal.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In post ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'' ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' stories, Superman's Fortress of Solitude uses sunstone crystals to work his computer. This was taken from the ''Superman'' films (see below).


[[folder: Fanfiction ]]

* In ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'', all memory of Smurf history that was transferred into Empath's mind from his great-grandson in the future has been transferred into a magical memory crystal, which in-universe will be given to {{Creator/Peyo}} so that he can create ''Franchise/TheSmurfs''.


[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/SupermanTheMovie'' and ''Film/SupermanII'', Superman's Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole has a system that stores information on crystals. In ''Film/SupermanReturns'', it is mentioned that the crystal impressively holds 95% of Krypton's entire knowledge. [[RedHerring The remaining 5% is never mentioned again.]]
* In ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'', the hard drives of the HAL 9000 computer are shown as blocks of clear crystal/glass. Astronaut David Bowman manually ejects them from their drive bays in order to disable HAL.
* Mocked in ''Film/StarWreckInThePirkinning'', where the parody of Lt. Keffer of ''Series/BabylonFive'' is shot down by the P-Fleet and his flight data recorder is recovered. Being based on ''Babylon 5'' tech, it's in the form of a data crystal, and the Sheridan-analogue briefly thinks that Keffer [[TakenForGranite was turned into a crystal by aliens]] before being corrected.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Franchise/StarWars'' has holocron crystals.
* One of the characters in the ''Literature/WildCards'' series is Jube the Walrus. As an agent of the interstellar trading consortium known as the Network, he has advance technological devices such as recording crystals that can store information.
* In the ''Literature/{{Darwath}}'' trilogy by Creator/BarbaraHambly, the earlier human civilization that built the Keep of Dare used magitech data crystals to store information.
* ''Literature/SholanAlliance'': Sholan computers make extensive use of removable data crystals. When the lead characters are preparing to return from their [[StableTimeLoop trip to the past]], One of the ancient locals points out the location where they've hidden an important data crystal that is later recovered in the present.
* Used ubiquitously in Creator/AndreyLivadny's ''Literature/TheHistoryOfTheGalaxy'' series, mostly by humans. Some aliens use them as well. The ones that bear special attention are the logrs, small jewel-like crystals invented by the [[StarfishAliens Logrians]] that are, actually, self-contained computers powerful enough to be able to store a sentient being's mind and allow the individual to live on in a virtual world. The functionality of logrs can be expanded by connecting several logrs together in a particular configuration. The largest collection of the logrs is the Logris, a gigantic supercomputer visually similar to the [[http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Crystalline_Entity Crystalline Entity]] from ''Franchise/StarTrek''. Many of the logrs that compose the Logris actually contain personalities of dead Logrians, and more and more human logrs are being added to it.
* ''Literature/TheBookOfTheNewSun'': visiting a vast and decaying library, Severian is told that it contains a cube of crystal the size of the ball of one's thumb, which contains more books than the entire world. The blind librarian is no longer sure where it is, and it is questionable whether he would have a reader anyway.
* In ''Literature/CourtshipRite'', one of the Kaiel's most sacred relics is a large crystal disc they call "the Frozen Voice of God". No one had any idea it contained data, though, until Kathein developed a machine to read it, showing that it mostly contained gene sequences. Oelita turns out to have another one that she has no idea of what it is. When read it turns out to be a history book on warfare from ancient Earth.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', it was also a crystal that [[VisualEffectsOfAwesome grows into the Fortress of Solitude]]. The Fortress quickly becomes the resident DeusExMachina, for good or for worse. It has since displayed the ability to (sometimes with added crystals) clone kryptonians, remove or restore kryptonian powers and/or memories, imprison kryptonian-grade beings, open a portal to the Phantom Zone, create an eclipse, and holding information as stated above.
* ''Series/SpaceCases'': The Android Thelma exhibited odd behavior throughout the show due to a memory crystal that Harlan accidentally damaged in the first episode. The main ship in the series, the ''Crysta'', also used similar technology.
* One episode of ''Series/{{Eureka}}'' introduced Data Diamonds. Capable of storing utterly massive amounts of information on the molecular level. They needed [[PhlebotinumOverload proper hardware]] though as lesser computers [[ExplosiveOverclocking combusted]] from the extreme processing.
* ''Series/{{Alphas}}'', one episode featured a necklace made from some strange crystals, and they figure out that it stores information on specially arranged molecule structures.
* In the first season of ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', there were the glass disks and they were data storage devices, Massive Dynamic was able to read information from them.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', too, had data crystals in several episodes, most notably the navigation crystal in "DNA Mad Scientist."
* ''Series/{{Hyperdrive}}'' featured this trope being replaced by even more effective crystals (as a DVD to Blu-Ray analogue).
* ''Series/{{Tracker}}'' had this, they were maps stored on crystals. The first one got left behind at an alien-theme restaurant after a fight, but Cole found the second one hidden in a stored museum piece. They were maps of the Lake Michigan area to show the way to the DoomsdayDevice hidden under the Watchfire bar.
* Shows up occasionally in ''Franchise/StarTrek'', primarily in later ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration TNG]]'', ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]]'', and ''[[Series/StarTrekVoyager Voyager]]''.
** From ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', [[http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/File:Isolinear_Chips.jpg Isolinear Optical Chips]] may represent a "missing link" between data crystals and more traditional electronics.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Stargate|Verse}}'' 'verse most space-faring species use crystals extensively in their computers. In one case a storage crystal from an old Goa'uld research base is dismissed as a simple decoration by archaeologists, until the invaders hanging overhead start looking for it.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': [[http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Data_crystal Data Crystals]] are used by virtually every race, in much the same way we use USB sticks.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' has the team slide into a world where most of the world is run by bandits. Most of civilized knowledge has been destroyed, except for a small island where the entirety of human knowledge is kept by secretive monks. When it looks like the bandits have discovered the island and are invading, Diana sets up a system to record the entire database onto a large crystal (unlike most examples, this particular crystal is uncut) that spins while a laser shines into it. In the end, the library is destroyed, and two of the monks manage to make it out alive along with the crystal. It's not clear how's they're supposed to figure out the extraction process, though, as the knowledge for that is [[TheKeyIsBehindTheLock inside the crystal]].
* In Creator/ChristopherAnvil's ''Colonization'' setting, computers appear to have 'master crystals' where today's computers would have a CPU.
* ''Series/BlakesSeven''. In the episode "Killer", data blocks (in the form of transparent cubes) are given to the protagonist. However they are by no means ubiquitous [[CassetteFuturism as ordinary tapes are also mentioned.]]

[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]

* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}''. Information can stored on optical crystals ("chips"). This includes cyberdeck components.
* ''Starblazer Adventures'', based on the 1980's British ComicBook. The Random Key Items/Target of Objective random table lists Data Crystals as a possible target for an Item Mission.
* In ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' [[HeartDrive cortical stacks]] are almost solid diamond, though mostly for its durability.
* In ''TabletopGame/RocketAge'' the Erisians appear to have used crystals as computers. In the modern era their Venusian descendants are able to store psychic energy in shards and make other powerful artefacts from native Venusian Crystals, such as the speaker's staff and the Venusian wood axe.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/ExaPico'' has Hymn Crystals, which allows for songs (which are used as "magic" in the game) to be stored and later downloaded into Reyvateils.
* ''VideoGame/EccoTheDolphin'' has Glyphs, Atlantean data crystals that store all manner of things such as messages, historical records, songs, and even temporary invincibility.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' has Spheres, which hold holographic recordings.
** The [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2 sequel]] expands upon this with the invention of the Garment Grid, which allows the party to use the skills and abilities of the person whose memories are captured on the sphere - translating into a [[JobSystem Job or Class]]. [[spoiler:This (of all things) actually becomes a major plot point when Yuna's usage of the Songstress Sphere actually awakens Lenne's dormant memories]].
* The ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' series has these and uses them for storing artificial intelligences. Less complex data is simply transmitted.
* The [[VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork Mega Man Battle Network]] series has these... [[PlayingWithATrope Kinda.]] Unknown data takes the form of an 8-sided crystal, in three colors, green, blue, and purple. It's unknown whether or not this is actually crystalline though.
* In ''[[VideoGame/MightAndMagic Might & Magic VI]]'', one plot stage is retrieving and installing four Memory Crystals for an ancient planetary computer. As a possible joke from developers, after you've knocked yourself out hunting for the crystals, there's a crate in the control center chock-full of the same crystals, lying around like trash.
* In ''VideoGame/StarCraft'', the Protoss are an almost literal CrystalSpiresAndTogas society and use crystals as power sources and to store their thoughts and knowledge on. The Warp Prism transport in the sequel is actually described as a crystal ''computer'', able to scan lifeforms and machines, convert them to energy and store the data in its databanks, then reconfigure them from energy back into matter.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsDroidWorks'' features crystals that display messages when a laser is shined on them. A few show video clips from the movies.
* In addition to the holocrons mentioned above, ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has Common, Glowing, and Radiant data crystals as a secondary in-game currency for buying high-level gear.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* ''ComicBook/BuckGodotZapGunForHire'' has [[http://www.airshipentertainment.com/buckcomic.php?date=20090224 "info points,"]] though it's considered quaint.
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' has Dataspheres, which look like cubes. According to Red Mage, one has enough information to overflow the entire universe and possibly drive anyone who looks into it mad.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* In ''WebOriginal/OrionsArm'', the [[http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/48507b746e356 "ultimate chip,"]] doesn't look like a single crystal and was originally intended for use as a processor for very advanced distributed computing, can also store massive amounts of data, and is made of [[http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/464b9c37d9887 diamondoid]], which ''is'' a crystal.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''Toys/{{BIONICLE}}'': Memory Crystals.
* ''WesternAnimation/ShadowRaiders'' has the alliance control their Battle Moons (and all of their fleet) with crystal keys with the security codes.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In "The Crystal Empire", Celestia displays a crystal to Twilight that, when powered by magic, shows a hologram of the Crystal Empire and of Celstia and Luna's fight against King Sombra, the antagonist of the two-part episode.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* The reason for this trope is because crystals have been suggested as a storage medium for [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_data_storage holographic memory.]]
** [[http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2016/02/5d-data-storage-update.page The University of Southampton has developed 5D data storage;]] a coin-sized glass disk that can hold ''360 TB'' for 13.8 ''billion'' years and is far more resilient than other data storage methods. Easily the closest this trope has come to TruthInTelevision.
* While all semiconductors function through quantum effects in their crystal structure, some technologies like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_on_Sapphire Silicon on Sapphire]][[note]]Used for radiation resistant electronics InSpace[[/note]] more accurately reflect this trope.
* There do exist [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_memory various experimental molecular-level storage technologies]] though they look and operate nothing like a gem.
* Creator/WilliamGibson reportedly thought that computer chips actually looked like this. Back in TheEighties!
* The actual semiconductor crystal part of any electronic device (the integrated circuitry) tends to be rather small, as being small is better for both performance and cost-effectiveness, and so they're not generally associated as being based on shiny crystals despite the fact that... they are.
* Phase Change Memory is one avenue for research into future storage tech. It's a form of memory where some reversible process is applied to a material (for example heating) in order to change the phase (the type of solid) of a specific portion of the material between a crystalline state (where the atoms form a coherent structure) and an amorphous state (where the atoms still form a solid but are all jumbled up without a discernible structure). As the crystalline and amorphous phases have different conductivities, the resistance of the treated area can be treated as a binary 1 or 0. In theory such storage devices would retain data without power and last for a very long time, as well as have very fast read times (all you have to do is feed a current through an area of the material and measure its resistance to determine binary 1 or 0). One big drawback with phase change technology is that writing is extremely slow and consumes considerable power as you need to get the material to the correct temperature to effect the state change.
* [[http://www.designboom.com/technology/transparent-smartphone-by-polytron/ Taiwan-based Polytron Technologies]] has not only built transparent USB memory sticks, but [[HolographicTerminal transparent smartphones]].
* A team of physicists from the City University of New York [[http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/10/e1600911 demonstrated]] the ability to encode images into diamonds by manipulating nitrogen vacancy centers with lasers, creating a literal example of this trope.