it could've been great

Some Thoughts: White Diamond

With all of the new developments in SU, it’s easy to forget old inconsistencies, but these nonetheless have bearing on some of the current events in the show. When the Crystal Gems and the Ruby Squad arrive on the Diamond Base in Back to The Moon and Eyeball begins some dramatic narration.

She says, “Look at this place – frozen in time. An Era-1 base. Her Era-1 base. It was a tragedy, what happened to her.”

And the way this statement was followed up with Navy saying “Who is that anyway?” the answer being Pink Diamond, we’re led to fill in the blanks and assume this was Pink Diamond’s base.

But looking at the base itself, from the outside especially, nothing about its colour scheme or even its texturing resembles anything of Pink Diamond’s aesthetic.

This leads to an interesting question of who built the Diamond Base on the moon, why it was chosen for that location, and what purpose it served, all of which we’ll be covering in this video.

1. Relationships and Roles among Diamonds

Source: Joe Johnston

When we observe how certain places or objects are associated with characters in Steven Universe, colour is a big factor. For instance, we know Rose, Lion, and the Alpha Kindergarten are domains of Pink Diamond because of their dominance of pinks.

The Kindergarten Control Room, the Hand Ship, and even Peridot are all bright green, which would relate to Yellow Diamond and hint at a collaboration with Blue Diamond in the new order of Homeworld.

There is a scene in It Could’ve Been Great in which the camera zooms out and gives us an outsider’s view of the Moon Base. What we find is that the base is predominantly in colours of whites and greys, almost matching the colours of the moon’s surface.

And this would hint at the only other Diamond we have yet to see in the show. White Diamond.

What’s even more intriguing is that White Diamond is never mentioned by name in Steven Universe. We know of her existence primarily because of the Mural in the Moon Base and her presence in both reincarnations of the Great Diamond Authority logos, as well as the large white bust of her image on Homeworld. But the Diamonds don’t say anything about her, and she hasn’t involved herself in historically important events, such as the Trial of Rose Quartz.

In her depictions, there is a white shape who takes the position at the top of the logos. This would hearken back to White Diamond’s gem placement, which is on her forehead. The same white diamond shape is on the old Diamond Authority logo. Later on, the Diamonds are depicted not from the top view, but from the side, giving rise to the new emblem with three triangles.

But something else worth noting is the aesthetic that each of the Diamonds has in the mural, which emphasises the possibility that the Moon Base was White’s.

When we look at the Diamonds side by side in the mural, each Diamond is shown with the number of colonies and satellites under them.

There is more information than that.

For instance, looking at Pink Diamond, the other apparent object in her mural is the cluster of quartz stones at her feet, which are very similar to the ones we see in Lion’s pocket dimension.

One other thing is that the quartz clusters are coming from the ground, growing upwards.

Earth is Pink Diamond’s first colony. There might not have been reason for the military leader of Homeworld to hold a planet of her own at first. Eyeball says that Earth’s soil was very conducive to growing Quartzes. That means planets could be assigned by the kind of gems that could grow on them. 

Additionally, it could be that previously, there wasn’t as much need to expand Homeworld’s military. Given the way gems exhaust the resources of a host planet in the growing process, Pink might not have been very high priority in allotting colonies because prior to Earth, there may not have been huge wars that required the use of soldiers to take planets.

That would mean Pink is a little more inexperienced in dealing with colonies, but isn’t necessarily the temporal youngest. She’s growing upward because she’s still gaining experience and skills in terms of managing planets. On the other hand, White Diamond’s additional details are emanating outwards and downwards from her figure.

White has the most number of colonies. Also, white diamonds are the archetypal diamond. That is, the word diamond is often associated with a white diamond by default.

That could hint at the dynamic between the diamonds. Even though they were four rulers of the gem empire, when it came to questions and concerns, White may have been the face of the Great Diamond Authority, not necessarily the leader, but someone who serves as their face in public.

We can find the same sort of parallels in the other Diamonds.

For instance, Yellow Diamond’s upper torso appears to be rising from clouds, like a sun poking through. The sun imagery is also seen in the Yellow Diamond of the Serious Steven mural. In her hands are not only planets, but also two stars with their own satellites.

Yellow is known as the rational Diamond. That’s how Peridot describes what made her special. She would always be objective and practical. She always listened to reason and she seemed to espouse that as a leader.

That she was likely in charge of research and technology could be akin to enlightening or illuminating things that were previously unknown.

Her complement could have been Blue Diamond, which is why they have the same number of planet colonies.

Blue’s territory is the Lunar Sea Spire, which Bismuth says is “for thinkers to think in.” And that would give the impression that it housed philosophers and other practitioners of the discipline we’ve come to label as the humanities.

They would complement and balance the sheer “rationality” that Yellow’s faction cultivated. If a new technology were developed, should it be used and why? These are the questions that might have been asked.

This is also possibly why Blue Diamond was sent on the diplomatic mission in The Answer even though the rebels were from Pink Diamond’s colony, and why Rebecca Sugar associates blue gems with diplomats. The Answer took place in the budding days of the Rebellion, and taking back Earth without a fight was still a viable option. This implies that Pink Diamond was still present then, since Blue Zircon puts PD’s shattering at a time when Rose and the CGs were already well-known and established. Yet Blue was sent on the mission to capture the rebels.

So these points reinforce why the Diamonds occupy certain positions on the mural. These refer to their roles and not their personalities. It’s also clearer to see now the kind of stress a gem experiences when the role given to her doesn’t match up very well with her personality.

Given this understanding of the Diamond’s relationships, it seems odd that Pink Diamond’s base would be far away from her own planet, a place where the warps could not reach.

From the imagery in the mural, it seemed unlike her to rule from a point of distance and height. Rather, we’re given the indicators that Pink tried very hard to rule close to her constituents, which is why gems like Jasper feel a personal closeness to her.

It contrasts sharply with the awe that Peridot felt for Yellow Diamond. The latter feels a lot like someone talking about a celebrity; the former sounded like Jasper knew her Diamond personally even if we’re given the indication she didn’t.

If we combine that knowledge with the colour scheme and patterns on the base, even the inside of the base is white rather than pink. The Base looks more like something of White Diamond’s. It would then be a question of why something of White Diamond’s domain was so close to Earth.

2. White Diamond connected colonies

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thoughts about the nature of the diamonds

So we all know by now about the dramatic difference in size. Pink Diamond is tiny compared to Yellow and Blue, and the image that drives this home is her chair on Earth’s moon base contrasted with Yellow Diamond’s chair on the jungle moon base.

The hot take I’m getting from these two images is the very personal involvement of the Diamonds themselves in building new colonies.

I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect that chair to belong to Pink Diamond herself, even though Peridot remarks that she is “literally walking in the very footsteps of the Diamonds”. The chair is only for “the most elite Gems” and I assumed it was for a military general or other high-ranking commander managing the project of transforming the Earth into a colony. Someone who is probably a direct report to a Diamond but not a Diamond herself.

If the chair on Earth’s moon base had been scaled for Yellow or Blue Diamond I would have realized that a Diamond was personally overseeing the new colony from the planet’s natural satellite. I don’t think I’m alone in buying into the mystique of the Diamonds as these remote, almost god-like beings (at least until that image fell apart.) I expected the Diamonds to remain on or near Homeworld.

When Peridot broadcast a message directly to Yellow Diamond in Cry for Help I remember the speculation that it would be ignored. And if Yellow Diamond deigned to respond she would forsake her flawed, lowly servant– forcing Peridot to join the Crystal Gems. To the credit of the crewniverse it went nothing like that. Peridot rejected Yellow Diamond of her own free will once she realized that the leader she idolized as “the most perfect, the most reasonable, rational, efficient decider ever to exist in the universe” chose petty revenge over resources and potential.

Up until the point where Peridot repeatedly defies her direct orders Yellow Diamond is wiling to humor her; sass, incompetence, and all. She’s willing to send a ship to retrieve a single technician. And now we see another example of Yellow Diamond interacting directly with a Gem under her command who is less than compliant: Nephrite. 

We only hear Yellow’s side of the conversation but it’s eerily familiar. “You have disrespected this channel and my time with your presence” vs. “There will be no more excuses. Get it done. And don’t expect me to look kindly upon this transgression.” When Yellow threatens to personally shatter Nephrite and her crew if they don’t follow orders I sense that she means to do it.

The Diamonds are obviously more than figureheads but I had no idea they were so hands-on. This gives a new urgency to Yellow pleading, “Where’s their Diamond when they need her, Blue? You’ve got to be a leader, Blue!” 

Blue Diamond is more than a head of state who can delegate duties to her staff. She’s expected to be intimately involved with the expansion of the Gem empire and building new colonies. Literally in the hot seat, in the war room.

Is the resource crisis a direct result of Blue Diamond neglecting her duties? The Gem way of life isn’t sustainable but Blue isn’t helping.