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I'm just curious because I always thought an "emerald" was green...

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  • 17
    They're emeralds that aren't green? My, that's quite chaotic.
    – Arkive
    May 6, 2011 at 18:47
  • They wouldn't be chaos emeralds, if they weren't chaotic.
    – RolandiXor
    May 7, 2011 at 4:50

4 Answers 4

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In real life, Emeralds run the gamut from the standard green (the color "emerald", even) to a bluer / yellowish in the extremes, but even then they don't reach the full spectrum of the chaos emeralds.

Putting aside the very nature of them being video game constructs, the fact that the number of emeralds have changed (from 6 to 7), and that their colors have varied, it's otherwise likely that the chaos emeralds aren't really "emeralds" at all, but rather take their name for their association with the Master Emerald, which has always been a large, green gem (and thus, a "real" emerald).

This theory of course falls flat when you consider that the Master Emerald debuted in Sonic & Knuckles, while the Chaos Emeralds have existed since Sonic the Hedgehog (the 1991 game).

Bottom line? Someone in marketing thought "Chaos Emeralds" sounded better than "Chaos Beryls" or "Chaos Diamonds" (which are known for their varied colors) and that choice has propagated ever since, geology be damned.

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  • I seem to recall an explanation (or theory) that the reason there was only 6 Emeralds in the first game was because neither Sonic nor Robotnik knew about (or could get to) the 7th. (which explains why Sonic couldn't go Super Sonic). As for the colour differences, no idea. Also, the Master Emerald is younger than the Chaos Emeralds
    – Robotnik
    Oct 1, 2015 at 1:41
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Because it was called "Chaos Emerald" in the original Japanese.

When Sonic 1 was released in 1991, most Japanese gamers were able to read a small amount of English, but weren't fluent and had only a narrow vocabulary. This allowed game developers to get away with technically inaccurate English. A great example of this is the game Zero Wing, also released in 1991, featuring lines like "All your base are belong to us".

Sonic 1 called the gems Chaos Emeralds (カオスエメラルド - kaosu emerarudo). The American translation kept this name, since it was already in English.

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  • Circuit Beaver stalks again, I see. May 7, 2011 at 3:07
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    +1 for actual gamer history instead of speculation. =)
    – Wikwocket
    May 7, 2011 at 3:46
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Well, there really isn't any "right" answer to this (unless you happen to know the person who originally designed them), but my guess would be that they're different colors to help distinguish them from each other, as well as the master emerald shards in later games. Think about it, it's more interesting to collect 7 different objects, (even if the differences are cosmetic) than it is to collect 7 identical objects.

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    Boo to you sad repetitive Tri-Force! May 6, 2011 at 18:45
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    Are you nuts? Triangles are awesome. May 6, 2011 at 22:15
  • But it's not like there's seven of 'em. One piece, great. Two pieces, better. Three pieces, awesome... Six pieces, ok. Seven pieces, AHHH TOO MANY! :D May 7, 2011 at 1:43
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One plausible explanation is that they actually meant Beryl, of which Emerald is the green version.

However, if you look at them, the Chaos Emeralds resemble cut diamonds more than anything else.

At a guess, a translator mistranslated it back at Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and the name has stuck ever since.

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  • The Brilliant Cut has neither been the only way the Emeralds have been presented, nor is it traditionally reserved for diamonds (it has more to do with the shape of the gemstone pre-cut). You're probably spot on with the Beryl, however. Much harder to pluralize, too. May 6, 2011 at 23:37
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    "Hey, I've gotten all of the Chaos Beryl...s...uhh..."
    – Kevin Yap
    May 7, 2011 at 3:08
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    Also, try to imagine Japanese people pronouncing "Beryl". May 8, 2011 at 6:43
  • @Raven: I imagine after クイン・ベリル, contemporary with Sonic, nearly every Japanese person had some idea of how to pronounce it.
    – user2640
    Mar 23, 2012 at 21:55

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