I'm finally finished school and can now make up for some lost time. Today I'll be covering some new gemstone monsters such as the new and horrifying Cairngorgon, the Antiluminescent Knight, plus old favorites like Labradorite Dragon and the new element monster, Carboneddon. What do all these monsters have in common? They all relate to Gemstones of course!

Although each monster's from a different storyline in the Duel Monsters world, whether it be a remnant of the Duel Terminal realm or from the animated series, these monsters will and have been seeing play. Let's begin with the darkest of all the warriors, the Smoky Quartz Cairngorgon, the Antiluminescent Knight.

That Tall, Dark and Stalkery Man Over There...
Cairngorgon, the Antiluminescent Knight, although no longer a Gem-Knight monster still holds a special place in my heart. Not only does it possess an amazing deflection ability, it's composed of Gem-Knight Crystal and its alternate fusion forms; Gem-Knight Zirconia and Gem-Knight Master Diamond. I've been waiting a while to write about this monster so I'm pretty stoked. There's quite a bit of etymology and symbolism hidden here, so let's begin!

First off, Cairngorgo's name and body are composed of many pieces, all of which has NOTHING to do with the biblical figure Cain. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I saw someone post, ask me or try and tell me, I'd have at least $50.00...NO CAIN AND NO ABEL. PERIOD. Cairn, not Cain.

The Gem-Knight Crystal we once knew is no longer, and its gemstones have turned nearly black in color. A conglomeration of Gem-Knight Zirconia, Gem-Knight Diamond and Gem-Knight Crystal, Cairngorgon retains its relation to rock crystal (Quartz) but has transitioned into a new variety known as smoky quartz, more importantly the Cairngorm variety located in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. That's where the 'Cairngor-' part of its name is derived from. This variety of smoky quartz is absolutely dark in color, with a huge that ranges from a smoky brown, to a dark brown, to straight black.

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The Cairngorms are part of a famous legend involving a strange being known as 'The Big Grey Man' who wanders around in the mists of the second largest Mountain in the UK of Ben MacDui. While not believed to be real specter, the tales state that a large grey man shrouded in the mists follows travelers in the foothills of the Cairngorms. There's actually some basis for the myths – it's an optical phenomenon that occurs in the Mountains where the gaps in cloudcover allow the victim to see their own shadow reflected with a faint rainbow-like aura.

The phenomenon is followed by the feeling of a presence, as if someone's watching you, and the perception of strange sounds. In science it's known as a Brocken Spectre; it's known for giving the illusion of a giant humanoid thing following you. When you look at the card art for Cairngorgon, Antiluminescent Knight, you can see that he's walking through the typical mist that we see on cards associated with the Evilswarm Virus.

Konami stated in the Master Guide 4 that Evilswarm Exciton Knight feels an ominous presence presiding over him, but that reference could also be related to the future when the Shadolls come into the fold… which brings us to the next part of the name. I do love how the Super Rare foiling of the card gives the rainbow aura, which is typical of all Ultra and Super Rare cards. That's just a coincidence, but it adds a bit to the experience once you know about the real-life phenomenon and the Brocken Spectre illusion.

The next part of this card's name is the '-Gorgon' portion. The tuft of hair found on the helmet of Gem-Knight Crystal seems to have come under the influence of the entity inhabiting the body of this crystal knight. The helmet sways and breaks into the heads of serpents, a visual sidenote that becomes extremely apparent with a new trap card from the next set, Duelist Alliance. Only a single red eye is visible from the broken part of the helmet, which actually has nothing to do with the mythical figure of the Gorgon herself.

Moving along, luminescence is the term used to describe when a substance, in this case a crystal, emits light without heat. Some crystals will luminesce when they're rubbed or scratched, which is known as Triboluminescence. Piezoluminescence is when a crystal emits light in response to pressure. The list goes on, including the more familiar Fluorescence and Phosphorescence.

Luminescence is a type of cold radiation, associated with the excitation of atoms within the material. An abundance of energy is used up in moving electrons out of their typical orbital shell, known as the 'ground' state, and into orbits of a higher energy level known as the 'excited' state. When the electrons return to their 'grounded' state, they release that surplus of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation and discharge their energy as photons of light. At best, quartz is Triboluminescent, which means that when quartz pebbles are rubbed together they can produce light. I don't think this has much relation to the card, but it is pretty cool. Cubic Zirconia will fluoresce apricot orange or yellowish under Long Wave UV and Short Wave UV light. Diamonds can fluoresce blue, green, pink, red or yellow under Long Wave UV with a yellow phosphorescence.

Also, the word alone – Antiluminescent – while not a real word, would mean 'opposed to a state of light'. This is further perpetuated by the fact that Cairngorgon's a Dark monster, and no longer a warrior of the Light like it was in the original Duel Terminal stories. The character's body is no longer a metallic silver but a dulled and dirty grey.

All of these crystals that comprise the body of Cairngorgon are also used as diamond simulants. Cubic zircona is not and does not have a natural counterpart in nature and is therefore a simulant. Quartz has also been used as a simulant for diamond. Black diamonds do exist and were a highlight of fashion in the jewellery industry.

Hard And Hot...For Diamonds!
Oh Carboneddon, you fascinating thing you! This monster's part of the Chemical archetype along with the previously released Hydrogeddon and Oxygeddon monsters, aligned with Water Dragon from the GX era. Maybe from a flavor level Carboneddon should technically only Summon the Dragon composed of diamond, Hyozanryu. Diamond's the only gemstone to be comprised solely of carbon. However, for the sake of playability, a monster that could only summon Hyozanryu would probably lose its appeal-through-hilarity factor after a few trouncings.

This monster can effectively summon any of the Gemstone Dragons: Luster Dragon #1, which is sapphire – a chemical composition of aluminum oxide; Luster Dragon #2, emerald, composed of beryllium aluminum silicate; Alexandrite Dragon, which is obviously alexandrite, beryllium aluminum oxide; and Hyozanryu – diamond, made of carbon. And...

Get Rock Hard Cabs Now!
Labradorite Dragon, unlike it's fellow Gemstone Dragons, isn't as rare a gemstone but can be just as spectacularly beautiful in its own right. This monster's named and designed after the gemstone labradorite, which takes its moniker from a province in my home country Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador. Labradorite's part of the Plagioclase Feldspar group of minerals. The effect we see withlLabradorite is known as labradorescence, which occurs when light reflects and refracts off the boundaries of lamellar twin planes and fine platelets and inclusions, as well as lamellar twining. Usually, these gemstones are carved into cabochons (also known as cabs) which are rounded domed stones. There's also an off-yellow variety of labradorite that's faceted.

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Another form of Labradorite occurs in Finland, known as spectrolite. It exhibits a wider range of different colors which tend to be stronger. Our Dragon seems to be more based on the labradorite variety than the spectrolite variety. Its body is composed of cabochons in the shapes of scales, made up of matrix-like components (the matrix is what the crystals are attached to during development). The flavor text alludes to the 'mystical' qualities of the stone: labradorite's said to be a chunk of the aurora borealis fallen from the sky, while and its fellow feldspars – such as moonstone – are said to glow like the moon. It's thought to be one of the most spiritually powerful stones, creating a barrier to protect your aura.

I hope you enjoyed this article on the fascinating and strange world of gem-stone monsters! Who would have thought that Cairngorgon, the Antiluminescent Knight, Gem-Knight and fallen warrior, was so steeped in legend? I also hope many of you will give Carboneddon a try, maybe even outside of the Gottoms deck we've seen circulating online. Next week I'll finally tackle a subject that many of you have been asking for. It's another family of gem monsters that are based on a hodgepodge of different gemstones, and the answer to a life-long question as well: what's that blue stone?!

-Franco Ferrara