Prior to the recent
Steven Bomb, some of the most divisive fan theory characterisations have been
for Blue and Yellow Pearl. Theories would range
from their having a close and intimate relationship with the Diamonds, to their
being physically abused, to it sometimes being a mix of both.
And we can understand
the source of what seems like a contradiction. That these Pearls, in
particular, are serving the Diamonds directly puts them in a very privileged
position, not exactly in the modern sense of the word.
That Pearls are in such
close contact with the ruling elite makes them privy to the goings on of upper
Homeworld that other gem classes would remain ignorant to. At the same time,
they’re also living objects, dehumanised and treated as utilities rather than
It’s a unique position
of power and powerlessness and, unconsciously, we as fans pick up on that;
hence, the muddled characterisations of what their relationship with their
Diamonds would have been like.
In the latest Steven
Bomb, we got to see more of all of these characters and we know now that their
relationship isn’t one or the other but somewhere in between.
“Oh no. It was very serious. When I still served Homeworld, I saw it myself.”
In that regard, I want to talk about how Diamonds and their Pearls relate to each another, and look at
the implications this has for our very own Pearl, who admits she served
Homeworld at one point.
The function of the Pearl class
To get this out of the way as early as possible,
Pearls are being dehumanised. It’s not right to limit an entire class of gems to objects and prevent them from having individual inclinations, when other gems can manage some level of individuality. Pearls are individuals with their own capabilities,
thoughts, and feelings.
Even before we knew
about the Diamonds, the way other gems like Peridot initially treated our own
Pearl showed us that Pearls are one of the lowest classes on Homeworld.
Words like “owner,”
“stand there,” and “hold your stuff” were being thrown around. Not much was
expected from them.
In light of all the new
information received, a consolidated understanding of what Pearls were expected to do on Homeworld would help
in the succeeding discussions. And what we know is that
Pearls were gems created specifically to serve particular individuals. This
service did not entail doing a job like other gem classes.
Other gems serve a
specific function in servicing gem society as a whole. Like builders, soldiers,
technicians, and leaders.
This public- or
collective-oriented approach to organising gem society makes a lot of sense
considering the way the gem life cycle is perpetuated.
The reason we don’t have
gem classes specifically for private affairs, like the home life, is because
their concept of “home” is much different from ours. Gems are born as full
adults; they don’t need to eat or sustain themselves physically. That means a
lot of our human necessities don’t apply to them.
That in turn puts the
service sector of Gem society, where Pearls are, as something extraneous to
It’s much the same for
social constructs. Would the Ruby Squad consider themselves a “family?”
Probably, but not in the way we understand the word. Instead of families,
gems are groups into classes. And in these classes they socialise each other on
what it means to be the gem they are.
The best example of this
would be the soldier gems, who train each other and depend on each other in
Leggy, the newbie “just
born yesterday,” according to Rebecca Sugar’s early sketches of the Rubies, was
being oriented by her more senior teammates.
Even though we felt threatened by the Ruby Squad,
and Eyeball in particular, Leggy had absolutely no fears hiding behind the
latter and it’s more than clear their shared experiences made them more
cohesive as a unit.
In that way, gems don’t
seem to spend a lot of time with gems outside their class.
very “function” of Pearls is very different from that of other gems. Their work
is relegated inward into the private
attend to very specific individuals. They are always with gems who aren’t like them.
And the key to this is
the value system on Homeworld.
I talk about the utilitarian nature of Homeworld a lot of the time. So in a society in which
utility is one of the key aspects, having work that is visible, like the
creation of buildings or the colonisation of planets, puts a high premium on
certain types of gems.
Service is invisible.
It’s not as easy to
measure the impact of telling people they’re great everyday has on the rest of
their lives. But this is the work Pearls do. Their work makes Pearls
appear like they’re of even less use, which in turn puts them lower down in the
eyes of individuals.
It’s very similar to how
the work of medical nurses wasn’t recognised as legitimate until very late on
in the history of medicine. Nurses comforted
patients, checked on them daily, and attended to them, while doctors stepped in
for a diagnosis and prescribed the treatment plan.
Because one involved
something tangible and the other involved the daily grind of caring for another
human being, the “usefulness” of latter was taken for granted.
It was (and in many
places still is) very difficult to quantify the effects of their contribution
and they were viewed lowly.
Servicing the Diamonds
Now to the specific
question: What exactly do Pearls do?