|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
The Polestones are the ten varieties of gemstone that naturally hold Stormlight. They also serve as the basis of spheres, the basic Rosharan money system. In addition to the ability to hold Stormlight, polestones are able to trap spren. The type of spren that can be trapped depends on the polestone used and its cut. This quality serves as the basis for fabrials.
Some polestones are the same type of crystal but with different color and chemical signatures. Sapphire and ruby are both types of corundum. Smokestone and amethyst are both types of quartz. Emerald and heliodor are both types of beryl. Much like how iron and steel, despite being very similar chemically, are different metals in the Metallic Arts, the exact color and chemical signatures are enough to differentiate the polestones. As a result, an off-color polestone acts much like an impure alloy in Allomancy.
Although the type of polestone Stormlight is stored in is irrelevant for most Surgebinding, polestones do have an important impact on Soulcasting. Namely, they determine what kind of substances a Soulcaster can transmute objects into.
While polestones are produced via mining, a significant source of them on Roshar is the harvesting of the gemhearts that grow inside greatshells. Larger species of greathshell, like chasmfiends, produce gemhearts of great size, which are incredibly useful in Soulcasting as a larger stone is less likely to break from the strain. This trait however has led to many species of greatshells, such as the lanceryn, to go extinct. The exact method by which gemhearts are grown is not understood, though it is known to be caused by a leak from the Spiritual Realm into the Physical, and is analogous, though not identical, to the production of atium in the Pits of Hathsin on Scadrial. Although they may have flaws, gemheart polestones have virtually no impurities, unlike their conventionally mined counterparts.
It is believed to be impossible to create polestones via Soulcasting.
Synthetic versions of the polestones could also be used in fabrials.
The Ten Polestones
Sapphire is associated with the Essence of Zephyr. They are used to Soulcast translucent gases, like air.
Sapphire spheres are given the "sky-" prefix.
Smokestone is associated with the Essence of Vapor. They are used to Soulcast opaque gases, like smoke and fog.
Smokestones are used in a type of fabrial clock.
Ruby is associated with the Essence of Spark. They are used to Soulcast fire.
Rubies are used in the production of conjoiner fabrials, where a single infused ruby is split in two. Once activated the two halves will mirror each others movements, lift one and the other will also rise. Spanreeds are a common application of this phenomenon.
Rubies are also used in a kind of heat producing fabrial. They are also used in the construction of a painrial, a pain reducing fabrial, designed by Longshadow and adapted by Navani Kholin. A ruby was also part of the Oathgate at the center of the Shattered Plains.
Ruby spheres are given the "fire-" prefix.
Diamond is associated with the Essence of Lucentia. They are used to Soulcast crystals, like quartz, and glass.
Diamonds are used in a kind of light producing fabrial.
Diamond spheres are given the "clear-" prefix.
Emerald is associated with the Essence of Pulp. They are used to Soulcast plant material, like wood, moss, and grain.
Emeralds can be used to capture flamespren.
Garnet is associated with the Essence of Blood. They are used to Soulcast the eight types of blood and all other non-oil liquids.
Garnets are used in a type of water attracting fabrial.
Garnet spheres are given the "blood-" prefix.
Zircon is associated with the Essence of Tallow. They are used to Soulcast oils.
Amethyst is associated with the Essence of Foil. They are used to Soulcast metals.
Amethysts are used in the production of reverser fabrials, where a single infused amethyst is split in two. Once activated the two halves will inversely mirror each other's movements, lift one and the other will be lowered.
Topaz is associated with the Essence of Talus. They are used to Soulcast rock and stone.
Heliodor is associated with the Essence of Sinew. They are used to Soulcast animal material, like meat and flesh.
Heliodors are used in the production of alerter fabrials. These fabrials can be used to detect a variety of stimuli, such as people and emotions, and give notice to its user. The larger the heliodor, and as a result the more Stormlight that can be infused in it, the wider the fabrial's range is.
Perfect gemstones occur when one of the polestones forms without any flaws or imperfections which allows them to hold light indefinitely. Spren living in Shadesmar use perfect stones to store the Stormlight they use for currency. The King's Drop is a perfect gemstone that has been held in the Thaylen Gemstone Reserve for over two hundred years without being renewed or losing stormlight. The Elsecallers were tasked with protecting perfect gems, including a ruby named Honor's Drop.
Gemstones form the basis for the Roshar economy. When used as currency, the gems are encased in glass spheres. Although the spheres are of uniform size, the gemstones inside are of three sizes. In descending order of size (and value), these gem sizes are broam, mark, and chip. In addition, the value of the “sphere” is determined by the type of gemstone, which have different values as determined by their utility rather than their rarity.. Their relative value in descending order is as follows: emerald, sapphire, ruby, diamond, and garnet. In addition, amethyst is one of the more valuable gemstones; topaz and zircon are amongst the least valuable.
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