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Glowing Gem

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Like a bug in amber; light trapped in a gem.

A gem is sometimes so brilliant that it appears to not merely refract the available light, but to add to the light — possibly to an altogether ridiculous degree, if Played for Laughs. Or it actually emits light somehow.

Subtrope of Fantastic Light Source. It can sometimes overlap with Power Crystal via Power Glows.

If it occurs that way naturally, see All-Natural Gem Polish. Frequently are the crown jewel in a Magical Accessory.


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    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The art for Prophetic Prism (which provides the trope picture, at least in its Gatecrash incarnation) and Chromatic Star depicts these artifact gems as emitting rainbow light. It's Justified in that they are Mana-altering artifacts, capable of turning energy into death, holy or elemental Mana, which is almost always depicted on cards as bright white/gold, black, red, green or blue light.
    • The plane of Ikoria is filled with magical crystals, some the size of small mountains, which glow when the plane's giant monsters come near them. Humanity has learned to use them as early warning systems — as long as the gems are inert, things are... mostly safe; when they start shining, it's time to grab your weapons.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe: The subterranean Valley of Diamonds is filled with gems that shine blindingly. Daredevil takes a few as restitution for Mole Man grave robbing to use as shining markers on the graves of his victims.
  • Mampato: The protagonists, on a trip to the Jurassic era, find a gem with its own light, bright enough to illuminate an entire room (The gem was used by an ancient race of intelligent humanoid plants.)
  • Wonder Woman and the Star Riders: The Star Jewels glow, which seems to make them difficult to hide when Purrsia starts stealing them.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: The giant red gemstone in the lamp chamber of the Cave of Wonders illuminates its altar without any other apparent source of light. This could simply be magic of some kind, considering the nature of the cave.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Infinity Stones are six glowing gems of various colors.
  • Romancing the Stone: The titular stone glows green, and even comes with a special twinkle sound.
  • Explorers: The green gem given by the alien had a special glow and sound that accompanies it.

  • Sherlock Holmes: In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, the titular gemstone is described as "a brilliantly scintillating blue stone, rather smaller than a bean in size, but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled like an electric point".
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In The Silmarillion, the three Silmaril gems were made from the light of the two towering trees that used to light the world before the time of the moon and sun, causing the gems to glow perpetually. The light is so pure that the gems burn any evil being that touches them. One of the gems was eventually made into a star (implied to be the planet Venus; see here). The word "silmaril" means "silver radiance" in Quenya.
    • In The Hobbit the Arkenstone of Thráin (a.k.a. the Heart of the Mountain) is described as shining with its own inner light. Some Fanon holds that it is one of the previously mentioned Silmarils, others have proposed that it was an attempt to recreate a Silmaril by Celebrimbor (grandson of the original creator, Fëanor).
    • Galadriel's vial contains water touched by the light of Eärendil, the star made from a Silmaril. It functions identically to a Silmaril, producing holy light which burns evil creatures, although only when Eärendil's name is invoked. It could be called a fourth Silmaril, although the text doesn't actually refer to it that way.
  • The eponymous stormlight in The Stormlight Archive is energy that suffuses any gem exposed to one of the powerful storms that frequently ravage the setting. The glowing gems are thus commonly used as a light source, and the light can also be drawn in by magic-users or power magitek. The gems are also used for money, and gems with Stormlight stored in them are preferred to "dun" gems, as it's harder to calculate the value of a dun gem.
  • Glowing gems are visible signs of Deryni power:
    • The gryphon-shaped emerald inlay of Morgan's signet ring glows against the black onyx background when the ring is magically attuned to the Deryni mage holding it. Properly attuned to Duncan in Deryni Rising, it allows him to unlock a secret compartment in the high altar of Saint Hilary's Basilica in Rhemuth.
    • The gems used in the Haldanes' power triggering ritual glow internally when a drop of blood from the next heir(s) comes in contact with the stones. This is true for both the Eye of Rom (a single red ruby mounted as an earring) and the Ring Of Fire (a ring with red garnets set in a cluster).
    • Shiral crystals also glow when a Deryni or someone with a triggerable potential concentrates sufficiently.
  • In the Tales of Kolmar trilogy, dragons' soulgems gleam with an inner light when they are alive. When dead, the gem shrinks and becomes dull, but it will glow again during a Kin-Summoning. The soulgems of the Lost - the dragons who were cursed to lose their sentience — still glow, unattached to the dragon, thousands of years later, so the others know that the Lost are still "alive" somewhere out there.
  • In the short story "The Mischief Done" by Edmund Crispin, the solution to the mystery relies on the "fact" that diamonds glow in the dark after lengthy exposure to bright light.
  • Briar's student Evvy from the Circle of Magic is a stone mage and finds making crystals emit light to be excessively simple for the types of stone that are suited for it.
  • Splinter of the Mind's Eye: The small fragment of the Kaiburr Crystal has a crimson hue deeper and richer than a ruby and a vitreous luster resembling crystallized honey. It also glows softly. The whole Kaiburr Crystal (of which the fragment is but a part) gives off a dimly pulsing light when inactive. When activated by a Force user it shines with an unnatural brilliance and its glow spreads to cover the person using it.
  • The Space Gamer magazine #54, story "The Conjuring". The jewel of D'zhordan is a blood-red crystal that sparkles with its own light and throws a fiery glow over everything nearby. A sorcerer can make it brighten even more with a magical gesture.
  • In The Affix, the probablity-smashing gem appears to be a piece of smoky quartz, approximately quarter-sized, with 11-sided symmetry. Then it starts glowing at night, a sign that it's "awake", and the color changes throughout the book as its power waxes and events spiral out of control. On one occasion it takes Matt and his friends by surprise when it suddenly flares up at sundown.
  • Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness: Luisha, the most precious gem in Kanbal, is described as "glowing blue like the water at the bottom of a deep spring".
  • The H. P. Lovecraft short story "In the Walls of Eryx". The planet Venus has glowing crystals as small as a chicken egg that each contain enough energy to power a city for a year.


    Myths & Religion 
  • In the Russian Mythology and Tales, large gems, specifically the byliny, are commonly attributed with the ability to emit light and are used in that capacity by the bogatyrs to light the way.
  • In medieval folklore, it was held that an absolutely perfect ruby would glow from within, like a red-hot coal.
  • Gesta Danorum, book VIII: When Thorkill, on his voyage to Utgard-Loki, goes to explore an unknown shore in a region of eternal darkness, he fixes a gleaming jewel to the mast of his ship to mark the way back.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Arduin
    • Arduin Grimoire Volume 2: Welcome to Skull Tower: The gems known as Sun Drops glow with the warmth of the sun.
    • The Compleat Arduin Book 2: Resources:
      • The Witch Fire Wand is tipped with a glowing sapphire the size of a golf ball.
      • The Greater Demon Zyrax, the Dark Oracle has a large magickal ring carved from a single ruby that glows with its own fire.
  • Call of Cthulhu
    • Dreamlands campaign setting, adventure "Pickman's Student". While exploring the dream version of Elder Yuggoth, the PCs can encounter 4 dully glowing green gems that some Mi-go are using to restrain a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. Later on, the PCs see one of the Mi-go sacrifice the Dark Young with a knife that has a blade made of the glowing gemstone.
    • Campaign Spawn of Azathoth. The Investigators can acquire two stones that are necessary to deal with the Seed of Azathoth. At the climax of the adventure, the stones become strange fist-sized, glowing ovoid gems that increase greatly in weight.
    • Supplement Fragments of Fear, adventure "The Secret of Castronegro". The sorcerer Bernardo Diaz has a magical ruby ring which glows brightly whenever it heals damage he's taken. The ring will also glow the first time it is put on someone else's finger.
  • Champions adventure Wrath of the Seven Horsemen. The scepter of the supervillain Fear has a ruby that glows with an eerie luminescence.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The following magical gems in 1st/2nd Edition glowed either on command or continuously: Gem of Brightness, Gem of Delusion, Jewel of Obsession, the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty, the huge glowing orange Cursed Wishing gem in S1 Tomb of Horrors and the magical ruby called the Eye of Arik in B3 Palace of the Silver Princess.
    • A number of early edition adventures included gems with a Continual Light spell cast upon them to make them glow, such as T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, I12 Egg of the Phoenix and the Dungeon magazine #50 adventure "The Object of Desire": Continual Light creates a white light: if the gem is colored, the light it gives off will be the same color as the gem.
    • Module I5 Lost Tomb of Martek: When one of the Star Gems is placed in the hollow below the writings on the Obelisk Stone, the Gem starts to glow with a soft white light. When it's pointed in the direction of Martek's tomb it will flare up with a brilliant white light.
    • Clerics of the gnome deity Segojan Earthcaller cast Light or Continual Light spells on large, well-cut gems for use as holy symbols, causing them to glow from within.
    • Dungeon magazine:
      • Issue #26 adventure "Nine-Tenths of the Law": In the Back Story, Artanal the Mage cast a Magic Jar spell on a ruby in order to use it to transfer his soul into the fighter Nerick's body, while leaving Nerick's soul in the gem. The ruby glows brightly while Nerick's soul is in it.
      • Issue #31 adventure "Telar in Norbia": In the ruined city of Telar there is a room with red and green crystals in the corners and ceiling. The crystals glow with a faint luminosity that glows eerily in darkness. They were once a power source for a scrying (divination) device.
    • Judges Guild
      • Adventure Escape from Astigar's Lair. The Player Characters will encounter a statue of Egad, the archvillain who imprisoned them in the lair. On the pedestal which holds the statue is a huge, flawless glowing ruby. If a PC touches the ruby, the statue will animate and attack the PCs.
      • Adventure The Treasure Vaults of Lindoran. The dungeon holds seven wands, each tipped with a magical gem that has a soft glow.
      • Adventure Dark Tower. The three Soul Gems are magical glowing crystals. The Heart of Law is colorless, the Soul of Chaos is black, and the Mind of Balance scintillates with all of the colors of the rainbow.
  • Earthdawn: During the Scourge, light spells were cast on quartz crystals, which were then used to brighten underground kaers and sealed cities. After the Scourge, as the population of Barsaive re-entered the outside world, light quartz continued to be used to dispel the darkness.
  • Exalted:
    • A number of rocks found in the South are notable for glowing naturally, in addition to other properties. Firegems only give off a dim light, but also produce intense heat. Glowstones are otherwise regular rocks that shine with red or orange light (white and yellow variants also exist, but are rarer) for up to twenty years after extraction; small ones shine as bright as a torch, while large ones can make a room as brightly lit as if it was exposed to an overcast sun.
    • The underground city of Gethamane is lit by purple crystals that emit a strong white light. They dim and brighten in time with the day/night cycle, and their light is permanently extinguished if they're taken from their bases.
  • Grimtooth's Traps Too. In the trap "Cretin in the Circular Citadel", the bait is a magical glowing gem that casts a geas on all those who behold it. The geas is to search the room the gem is in until the victim can find a corner. The problem: everything in the room is perfectly circular, so there are no corners to find.
  • Man Myth And Magic Adventure 1 Episode 6 The Kingdom of the Sidhe. The Player Characters will be caught in an animal trap consisting of three magical glowing crystals buried underground that create a triangular shaped cage around the victims.
  • Maps Book 1: Cities: The Floating Continent island of Roos Havanos has a huge egg-shaped jewel named Dios Diablo. The gem glows brightly and gives off heat that is used to turn water into steam, which is sprayed out to propel the island through the sky.
  • The One Ring: Gemstones filled with "flaming light" were created with Elf magic in a bygone Age rather than being mined. They occasionally show up in treasure hoards as artifacts with supernatural abilities or as simple ornamentation.
  • Heart of the Sunken Lands by Midkemia Press. Dragon's Breaths are clear glowing magical gemstones that occasionally emit red, yellow, green or orange flames. About 5% of all Dragon's Breaths emit a wide variety of colored flames.
  • Stormbringer supplement The Stormbringer Companion, adventure "The Crystal of Daerdaerdarth". The Crystal of Daerdaerdarth is a perfect 1,000 carat ruby that glows with magical energy.
  • Traveller. MegaTraveller Journal magazine #3, article "Races of the Domain: Crenduthaar". Chagas gems are a crystallized mineral salt found on the planet Thaar that can be as large as a human fist. They are blood-red, translucent, and contain a pulsing inner light.


    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney: While never shown giving off light, Phoenix's magatama glows green because of its spiritual energy. When not charged or lacking in spiritual energy, it visibly stops glowing.
  • Colossal Cave: The Plover Room is filled with an eerie green light — which, apparently, comes from the enormous emerald in the middle.
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped: The Crystals glow pink. For the Crash 2 and 3 remakes in the N. Sane Trilogy, they also cast light over the environment.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Eternals commonly used blue crystals as light sources, which continue to shine millennia later. Justified as Eternal technology is said to have bent the laws of nature to their whim.
  • EXTRAPOWER: The ancient wizard Diamond Mine slumbers in a large diamond. When we see it pop up throughout Attack of Darkforce and during Blackberry's credits in Giant Fist, it shines with a rainbow light from the inside, denoting the phenomenal cosmic power entombed within.
  • Minecraft: Amethyst crystals emit light. Although their output isn't especially high compared to other light-emitting items, full-sized ones are still noticeably brighter than candles.
  • Quest for Glory I: So you want to be a hero? The talking skull Bonehead wants one just like his non-talkative brethren before he'll let the hero see the Ogress witch Baba Yaga.
  • Pokémon:
    • Staryu and Starmie are starfish Pokémon that have gems on their bodies. These gems flash as a form of communication and to show when it has taken too much damage, particularly in the anime.
    • Power Gem is a rock move that uses the gemstone's glow as an attack. Naturally, Staryu and Starmie are able to learn it as can other Pokémon that have gems on their bodies, such as Sableye, Persian, Grumpig, and Probopass. Notably, it's one of few Rock-type attacks that aren't physical, and one of very few attacks of the type that have 100% base accuracy.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The franchise has the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald which frequently glow, particularly when used to give power to someone or something.

    Web Original 
  • Taerel Setting: In the Caldar Mountain region there are gems that glow with a soft light and in the Den'sule Brown Beach there is a huge glowing diamond. There also are Sunstones, called soon as they emit a light glow at night.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Blue Cat Blues", Tom's would-be girlfriend has her rich boyfriend buy for her a huge diamond (about a metre across) — which can only be safely looked at through welding goggles.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • There is the Underground City of Old Ba Sing Se, which has been buried underneath the modern one. It's constantly lit by the glowing green crystals also used as lamps throughout the Earth Kingdom.
    • Aang also gives Zuko some valuable advice in "The Firebending Masters": never touch "giant, glowing gems sitting on pedestals."
  • In the Popeye animation Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp, Aladdin (played by Popeye) asks the genie of the lamp to deliver a chest of gold and jewels to the princess (played by Olive Oyl). The contents include several head-sized gemstones that bathe the room in colored light, including a diamond that is so brilliant the princess needs sunglasses to look at it — and her window turns it into a spotlight to illuminate Aladdin posing outside on his horse.
  • The first episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe featured a titular Diamond Ray Of Disappearance who's light could be directed as a disintegration beam. It was so bright, it could even be seen as He-Man gripped it in his hands as he tried to crush it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • In "The Crystalling", Sunburst's home has a cluster of orange gems hanging from a chain attached to the ceiling, which give off enough light to serve as a ceiling lamp. Similar crystals appear in fireplaces instead of conventional fires in "A Hearth's Warming Tale" and in "A Health of Information", where Meadowbrook and her mother use them to heat their cauldron.
    • In "Rock Solid Friendship", the lush underground cave the characters stumble into is kept lit by a cluster of enormous, glowing crystals on its ceiling, as well as a number of smaller glowing gems studded in its walls.
    • In "Dragon Dropped", Applejack uses a jar holding a few glowing crystals and hanging from a pole tied to her hat as a lamp while helping Rarity mine gems.
  • The Dragon Prince: The magma titan's heart, a magical artifact capable of fueling a spell to make two kingdoms fertile in the heart of winter, is a glowing gemstone the size of a grown man.
  • In Trolls: The Beat Goes On! the trolls cut the hair of newborn trolls and plant it. Over the course of their lives, as the troll experiences happiness, this strand of hair will develop into a flower with a gemstone in its bloom. This gemstone will glow in response to the sound of its troll's singing.

    Real Life 
  • Some diamonds are fluorescent. This will cause them to shine with more (visible) light than is shed on them.
  • As the acronym indicates,note  lasers increase the amount of light effectively available by making the photons work with, rather than against, each other. The first laser was a(n artificial) ruby.
  • Scientists have figured out how to stick photons into diamonds. They can wedge the tiny photons inside the lattice formed by the larger atoms. This makes it easy to store photons in experiments, among other things. Of course, when the photons are taken out of the diamonds: technically the diamonds do in fact glow. Though usually the number of photons is too low to be observed by the human eye, and/or they aren't going in the right direction. But yeah, it is technically possible to make diamonds (and probably other gems as well) actually emit light.