Gems are collectible stones that appear throughout the Crash Bandicoot series. Gems are typically different than the power crystals, as in they are more powerful than the crystals if all of the gems are collected as stated by N. Brio in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. Whether that information is accurate is questionable as it seems that Uka Uka wants the crystals more than the gems since Crash collects these throughout the series. They are usually collected through different means and special tasks like breaking all the crates in a certain level. The gems also appear in different colors, which are more special and rare than the regular gems. In Crash Twinsanity, there are six gems hidden in each level for Crash to collect which count towards 100% completion.
The gems appear in every main Crash Bandicoot console game to date. They are typically collected in every level that contains a crystal. The gems are different from crystals though. Crash is forced to collect the crystals in every level in order to advance in the game and plot, but gems are more optional for him to collect. However, they are still required to collect if the player wants to reach 100% completion.
According to N.Brio, the gems, much like the crystals, can harness planetary energy and can be used to power machines.
The most common way to collect gems is by breaking all the crates in a specific level. This requires Crash to go out and search every route and complete every bonus round to ensure that he earns the gem at the end of every level (except in Crash Bandicoot where crates in bonus rounds don't count towards the crates in the level). There are also different methods to collect the normal gems like completing a death route, specific task, or secret level.
Only appearing in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex, these function like clear gems but can only be obtained by completing Gem Routes, discovery and objectives. These share the same model as the Red Gem.
Colored gems are similar to the regular gems, but function differently and are more rare. There is only one of each color gem in every Crash Bandicoot game and the colors include blue, red, green, purple, yellow, and orange (albeit appearing twice). The colored gems usually require a different and more difficult task to obtain them. Most often this is beating a death route, but it also can be scouting a secret area of the level or completing a special task for a certain level. Once a colored gem is obtained, it is counted towards the regular gem total.
The difference between the colored and clear gems is that the colored gems provide a special lift in certain levels once they are obtained. These special gem lifts allow Crash to access different areas in a level in order to break more crates he couldn't break earlier or take him to a completely different route to collect more clear gems. These gem lifts will only work once the color gem has been collected though. Otherwise, only an outline of the lift will appear if the gem has not been collected yet. In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, in any level that has a colored gem, the secret path to it will become outlined if the player has died anywhere but the special areas.
What follows is a list of each kind of gem and where they can be found in the various games.
In this game, there are five colored gems: blue, red, green, yellow, and purple. Each of these gems is acquired by winning the corresponding gem cup. The gem cups are unlocked by obtained all CTR tokens of the same color. Obtaining all give colored gems unlocks Turbo Track.
Each minigame (except boss fights) contains a green gem. These are the only gems in the game. They are obtained by either winning a round in a short amount of time, or with the odds against the player. Gems are required to unlock boss fights and move on in the game. 25 gems are required to unlock Keg Kaboom.
In this game, all clear gems are obtained by breaking all boxes in a given level. There are three secret levels unlocked by obtaining all gem shards of a given color (and level theme) which are hidden in most platforming levels. These secret levels each contain a colored gem. To enter N. Tropy's boss fight, Crash has to obtain the three colored gems. Each of these colored gems is required in order to play the time trial in the respective level.
In this game, there are four colored gems: blue, red, green, and purple. Each of these gems is acquired by winning the corresponding gem cup. The gem cups are unlocked by obtained all CNK tokens of the same color. Obtaining all give colored gems unlocks Hyper Spaceway in adventure mode.
In this game, there are only colored gems, and clear is considered a color. A lot of them are hidden, and there are six of them in each hub/level. Unlike other games in the series all of the gems share the same sprite and shape.
The clear and colored gems reappear in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remaster of the first three games where they reprise the same roles they had in the original versions of those games. However, unlike the original version of the first game, the player can obtain a clear gem in the remastered version even after losing one or more lives, making the clear gems easier to obtain. Though colored gems in the remaster of the first game still require the player to break all the boxes in their respective levels without losing a life.
The Yellow Gem is frequently the final colored Gem one obtains in terms of level order, with the exception being Crash 2, while Blue is frequently the first colored gem, being the first obtainable gem in level order in Crash 2, The Wrath of Cortex and The Huge Adventure.
In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, all gems can be obtained by shooting them with the Fruit Bazooka. The most notable example is the Red Gem from Crash and Burn.
In the Crash 2 remastered 100% cutscene, it's possible to see the orange gem. It is placed above the rest of the colored gems and shares the same color as the orange gem from the Crash 1 remaster. However it uses the model of a clear gem (orange gem model has similar aspects to the red gem, but with more facets), therefore making it likely to be a lighting error.
All mainstream Crash games that stick to the formula (Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2 Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Bandicoot Warped & Crash Bandicoot and the Wrath of Cortex.) always have two colour gems in consecutive levels (CB1 - Generator Room (Orange) & Toxic Waste (Blue), Slippery Climb (Red) & Lights Out (Purple)CB2 - Turtle Woods (Blue) & Snow Go (Red) CB3 - Deep Trouble (Red) & High Time (Purple) CB tWoC - Crash and Burn (Red) & Gold Rush (Yellow). Additionally, the Red Gem has always been in a level next to another colour gem.
The Orange gem was cut from Crash 2 for unknown reasons. Considering the bad lighting for the removed second gem slot in Bear Down, it could plausibly be the potential candidate.