Topaz is canonically a high-ranking gem and I honestly couldn’t be happier about that.
To be perfectly frank, one of my least favorite ideas in the Steven Universe fandom is the idea that Homeworld is comprised of the “evil” upper crust gems and the “good” lower class gems, and the upper crust gems – or at the very least, the Diamonds – need to be shattered in order to free the lower class gems. But Topaz, who is completely unhappy with her lot in life, despite being one of the high-class gems, shows that the problem with Homeworld isn’t any one particular gem, or group of gems, but Homeworld’s society itself. A society that forces all gems into a niche. Rubies do this. Pearls do that. Aquamarines do the other. And so on, and so forth.
But wait a minute, one might cry. Aren’t the Diamonds free of this? They’re in control, after all. They can get away with doing things that other gems can’t. On that point, I have to admit that there is a point. Blue Diamond is supposed to be a leader. But when she spends millennia mourning, all she gets is a lecture by an annoyed Yellow Diamond. Other gems might be able to slack off once or twice, but not constantly like Blue Diamond did. But we don’t know who decided that the Diamonds were meant to be the leaders. Still, let’s assume it was all them. Let’s assume that they were the ones who set up Gem Society, and who set themselves up as the leaders of that society.
Shattering the Diamonds would still do jack-squat to save any gems. We can see this by observing what happened to one time that a Diamond, Pink Diamond, actually was shattered. How many gems did her shattering really free? Garnet says it was necessary for the Earth and the Crystal gems to be able to live freely. And it did give them some time of relative peace. That’s definitely something.
I’ve seen it suggested that Pink Diamond allowed herself to be shattered so that other gems could see that it was possible to rebel against the Diamonds, and be whatever they wanted to be. But that’s silly. Let’s look at Garnet and Bismuth, for two examples. Neither one of them joined the Crystal Gems because Pink Diamond was shattered. They joined because the Crystal Gems allowed them the chance to actually be themselves.
And the gem that Pink Diamond’s shattering has most greatly affected? Jasper. But instead of freeing her, it helped to drive her into becoming a self-hating person with an extremely toxic and abusive worldview. Pink Diamond’s death didn’t free her; it only imprisoned her even more. Jasper didn’t stop believing in Pink Diamond. Quite the opposite. As a martyr, Pink Diamond would forever be perfection incarnate to Jasper. Jasper’s love for her Diamond only increased in death.
So now let’s look at the one case where we know how a gem became disillusioned with her Diamond. Peridot and Yellow Diamond. Yellow Diamond wasn’t shattered or anything like that. Rather, she revealed to Peridot that she, Yellow Diamond, was illogical and petty. With that, Peridot stopped believing in Yellow Diamond, because she believed in the image of Yellow Diamond, and Yellow Diamond did not fit into that image.
Honestly, I think that’s what going to have to be necessary to save Homeworld. The Diamonds influence will have to be destroyed, not the gems themselves. The Diamonds will have to become, dare I say, human? They will have to show their weaknesses, show that they aren’t infallible gods.
And it will be okay. A Diamond can be weak. A Pearl can be strong. Gems will be able to do what they do not because it’s what they were literally made for, but rather because it’s what they want to do. Because unless gems truly understand freedom and that they can be whatever they want, all shattering the Diamond will really succeed in doing in creating a power vacuum. Homeworld gems have to freed with Diamonds still alive.
And, yes, that freedom includes the Diamonds themselves.
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