Also (this is pearls-changing-owners anon) thoughts on the fact that the Diamonds seem to only have one Pearl each? Pearls are treated as a status symbol, but a lot of status symbols can be cumulative (for instance, a hypothetical rich prat might take pride in owning ten entire lamborghinis, which makes him feel superior to people who only have one) and this seems like it's just a yes-or-no thing. Otherwise, you'd think the Diamonds of all gems would have more.
That’s a very good point to bring up! It’s something that I’ve talked about before on the blog.
The point of Pearls, as much as they are a status symbol, is still to take part in service. And having more and more Pearls means that some of them are going to be rendered obsolete. Because Pearls open doors, scout ahead, perform, take calls, these are things that can reasonably be accomplished by one gem taking the role of secretary or Personal Assistant.
And I think that’s because it’s just plain wasteful to have gems do nothing. It was the entire point Yellow Diamond brought up in “What’s the Use of Feeling (Blue)?” and it’s a central tenet of Homeworld’s value system.
Another good point you make is how some status symbols can be cumulative. But it’s not something that’s seen on Homeworld. The Diamonds have one ship, one palanquin, one Pearl. Their status lies in their huge size, their age, and their rumoured power (I mean, we’ve never actually seen them do anything).
These symbols move from the material to the more formal. They’re things that quite literally can’t be earned by anyone else. The social structure is set such that the Diamonds inherently are powerful. They’re powerful because they’re the Diamonds.
Something in the past proved to gems that the Diamonds were as Peridot puts it, “objectively superior.” But more and more we’re seeing that cast into doubt, because the Diamonds err; they make mistakes and get emotional. If they were truly objectively better, it’s something we haven’t seen yet, but following Homeworld’s value system, they must have done something of use.