- "The strongest stars have hearts of kyber."
- ―Chirrut Îmwe
A kyber crystal, simply known as a kyber, also called a lightsaber crystal, the living crystal and known in ancient times as a kaiburr crystal, were rare, Force-attuned crystals that grew in nature and were found on scattered planets across the galaxy. They were used by the Jedi and the Sith in the construction of their lightsabers. As part of Jedi training, younglings were sent to the Crystal Cave of the ice planet of Ilum to mine crystals in order to construct their own lightsabers. The crystal's mix of unique luster was called "the water of the kyber" by the Jedi. There were also larger, rarer crystals of great power and that, according to legends, were used at the heart of ancient superweapons by the Sith.
- "We know little about kyber crystals, because the Jedi Order worked to keep knowledge of them secret. But to put it simply, they focus energy and amplify its intensity. That once made them ideal for use in Jedi lightsabers; now it makes them ideal for use in laser weapons."
- ―Jan Dodonna
Kyber crystals were Force-attuned crystals that grew rarely but throughout the galaxy, with some areas having a greater abundance than others. The crystals concentrated energy in a unique manner through the Force, resonating with it. The crystals exhibited a sort of "collective consciousness," verging on sentience, and could non-verbally communicate with both one another and living beings. Some theorized that the permutations in the kyber lattice were comparable to emotional shifts in a sentient being.
Internally, kyber crystals were composed of both organic and inorganic matter. They were stable at temperatures and pressures found in the cores of large stars, and were thus impervious to fire and resistant to hammering, and noted for their intricate patterns. Kyber crystals were sturdy enough to survive the violent explosion of a lightsaber's power grid, such as those caused by accidentally inverting the emitter matrix during the weapon's assembly. Kyber crystals would not warm a sheath or a towel or any inanimate object, responding only to life, including plant life. If an individual were to wrap their hand around a crystal, the crystal would warm, but not change in temperature. The crystals grew in an organized way, adding to their prismatic structure one piece at a time. They had no discernible lifespan, and thus could be found from sizes as small as a fingernail to gigantic proportions. All kybers were attuned to the Force regardless of their size. Incorrectly pumping laser energy into the crystals weakened their lattices in the same way living cells were affected by radiation.
True kybers were only found in veins of pure kyberite. If the crystal contained impurities, it was regarded as a false kyber. Ranite was closely related to kyberite, but was denser and tougher, and did not contain kyber crystals. Crystals were typically brought to the surface of planets by movements along fault lines, exhumed from the high temperatures and pressure conditions in which they formed. The crystals could be mined from secondary deposits in streams, perhaps following long transport, owing to their mechanical and chemical resilience. Alternately, they could be found in their primary, in situ positions, having grown into free space on the walls of lava tubes, caves, fault zones and within veins of kyberite.
Kyber crystals were most notably found in Ilum's Crystal Cave. They were a critical component in the construction of lightsabers, focusing energy into the weapon's distinct plasma blade. The crystals shared a special relationship with the Jedi for tens of thousands of years, and welcomed them to hear their song and learn their lessons. Jedi younglings traveled to the ice caves to harvest their own crystals, which they then used to build their lightsabers. The Force guided their selection, finding a crystal that matched them as Jedi. To those not meant to receive it, the crystal was cold to the touch, but those the crystal chose would hear its "music" and "harmony," becoming attracted to it. Crystals lacked color before they were chosen by a Jedi. Once chosen, most lightsabers became blue or green, though other shades were created in some instances, most notably Mace Windu's purple blade, the yellow blades of the Jedi Temple Guards, the black Darksaber, and Ahsoka Tano's white lightsabers. The resulting crystal and blade color was decided through shifting to match the nature of the bonded owner. It was possible to alter the angle or frequency of a kyber crystal or lightsaber blade, in order to change the color of the latter. This was done by Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker on former Padawan Ahsoka Tano's lightsabers.
Kyber crystals were inherently attuned to the light side of the Force, and resisted any effort by dark-side practitioners to use them in lightsabers, with one crystal in particular (the green crystal within Jedi Master Kirak Infil'a's lightsaber) subjecting Darth Vader to intense visions that almost drove him insane. To this end, a Sith or other dark-sider could use a kyber crystal only by using the Force to dominate the crystal, bending it to their will. This process caused the crystal to "bleed," as if it were a living organism, resulting in the distinctive red or crimson-bladed lightsabers synonymous with the Sith. It was possible to "heal" a corrupted kyber crystal. One known instance of purifying a corrupted kyber crystal was when Ahsoka Tano purified the two crystals she retrieved from the Sixth Brother's lightsaber following his defeat. In this case, the crystals turned white.
The crystals were noted for their unmatched ability to channel energy and generate enormous returns. To this end, numerous individuals attempted to make synthetic kyber crystals, though their artificial nature made them highly unstable and explosive. If a crystal was subjected to forceful attempts to study it or harness its power, it would "flee" such attempts, hindering those that sought to use it against its will. Furthermore, those that worked in proximity to them would experience headaches and a loss of sleep, becoming incessantly fanatic and fixated over the crystal in the process.
For centuries, the Jedi cut and faceted the crystals to eliminate occlusions and intensify their power yield. Galen Erso theorized that larger crystals needed to be faceted, not only to eliminate these occlusions, but also to minimize diffraction resulting from the introduction of energy from a lasing medium. With proper faceting, the pulse of energy released by the crystal could be greatly amplified and, with the help of containment devices, provide inexpensive power for developing worlds, or be directed into a collimating beam of incredible power, as was used on the DS-1 battle station. Galen Erso also theorized that increased energy yield could be further attained by forcing what the Jedi called the "day and night" lattices of the Force to realign. By realigning the crystals' lattices along the dark or nighttime axis of the Force, Galen postulated that it could allow for greater control over the crystal's tendency to diffract. Thus, technology could be used to force the crystals to obey their masters. The abundant yield could then be siphoned off, contained, and used as enriched energy. Without containment, the yield could result in a catastrophic event, capable of wiping out a large population center.
Specifically, when one giant kyber crystal was destabilized by Saw Gerrera, it absorbed so much energy that when it finally did reach critical mass, it exploded with enough force to destroy both the freighter transporting it and a nearby Star Destroyer.
Sacred crystal of the Jedi
- "Long ago in forgotten times, when the Sith and Jedi fought for control of the galaxy, weapons there were, of unimaginable power. Always at their heart, a kyber crystal was."
Before the Jedi and Sith orders, kyber crystals were worshiped by primitive societies for their fire-resistant properties, intricate structures, and near impermeability, signs which made them appear outwardly eternal. Ancient beings associated them with wind, rain, and breath. It is believed that the Jedi saw them as embodying an aspect of the Force. Over the centuries, the Jedi amassed an almost exclusive right to the crystals, protecting and collecting them to decorate their temples and power their lightsabers. Some saw this collection of the kybers as proof of the Jedi's inordinate greed, and their secrecy over its nature a result of their wish to remain in power. Others saw the Jedi as protecting the galaxy from those who might use the powers of the crystal for dark purposes. Within the Temple of the Kyber on Jedha, the Jedi were able to sculpt some 2,304 statues out of kyber using lightsabers. These statues lined the tunnels of the temple and were guarded by the Guardians of the Whills.
During ancient wars between the Jedi and the Sith, in which both sides fought for control over the galaxy, superweapons were created by the Sith that were powered by giant kyber crystals. Around 3966 BBY the Sith Lord Darth Tanis developed kyber weaponry for the Sith on Malachor. The Sith temple on the planet Malachor was one such weapon. Although these stories were considered legends, a giant kyber crystal was discovered on Utapau during the Clone Wars. The Confederacy of Independent Systems attempted to acquire the crystal, but they were discovered by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi were able to prevent the crystal from falling further into Confederate hands, though Yoda was concerned that Darth Sidious would discover another giant kyber crystal in order to construct another superweapon. Doctor Zaly, at least according to Adjutant General Wilhuff Tarkin, had great success in analyzing kyber crystals' internal structures.
Age of the Empire and beyond
After the fall of the Galactic Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire, Sidious—publicly known as Emperor Palpatine—and his Empire continued the Republic's former construction of the Death Star, a battle station capable of destroying entire planets. Kyber crystals were used as part of the Death Star's superlaser, and Galen Erso was brought on as the main researcher under Project Celestial Power. Kyber crystals were looted from Jedi lightsabers, temples, Ilum, and other worlds where they could be found. To some, studying the crystals was not disrespecting the Jedi's teachings, but allowing galactic society to expose some of the Jedi's long-held secrets.
In the case of Ilum, it was targeted by the Empire for its crystal deposits, creating a different state of affairs than how the Jedi had treated the planet; while the Order had seen Ilum as sacred, and a Jedi would hear the songs of the crystals, the Empire's greed for them ravaged the world, breaking crystals as they mined them out in order to twist them to their own plans. The effect of their mining could be seen from space, with former Padawan Ahsoka Tano becoming angry upon seeing all the Empire had done in their search for kyber. Tano also believed the Empire would be unable to even see the crystals. In spite of her anger, she did not attack the Imperial blockade; to get crystals for her new lightsabers, she was instead called to those inside the Sixth's Brother's blade, resulting in her defeating him and purifying the crystals. Five years before the Battle of Yavin, another crystal was located by the rebels from Lothal, who discovered its location and destroyed it. The destruction produced a large shock wave, destroying all Imperial ships in its path.
In 1 BBY, a combined Partisans and Rebel Alliance strike team led by Saw Gerrera with the help of the Jedi Ezra Bridger intercepted the Imperial cargo freighter Freighter 2716, which was transporting a giant kyber crystal to the Tonnis sector. Before the freighter could rendezvous with Captain Slavin's Star Destroyer, Saw destabilized the crystal. The resulting explosion destroyed both the freighter and Slavin's Star Destroyer. However, Saw failed to uncover the Empire's secret Death Star project.
A year after the Battle of Endor, five pilgrims from the Church of the Force—the MA-B0 cargo lifter droid Mabo, Addar the human, Jumon the Iakaru, Madrammagath the Elomin, and Uggorda the Duros—undertook a mission to return kyber crystals which the Empire had plundered from Christophsis. They had been dispatched by the pastor and philanthropist Brin Izisca. During their pilgrimage, they were attacked by several Force-sensitive creatures known as the Kyaddak, which killed Maddrammagath, Uggorda, and Jumon. After thirteen arduous days, Mabo and Addar finally reached a broken crystal wall, where they returned the crystals to their excavated site.
Kylo Ren's lightsaber had a cracked kyber crystal, which generated an unstable blade. The excess power was vented out the sides, thus creating a crossguard-like design. The most important and prestigious vessels of the First Order had weapons upgraded with kyber crystals from some secret source in the Unknown Regions.
Around 34 ABY, several kyber crystals could be found at Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. The shop Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities sold blue, green, purple, yellow, white, and red crystals for lightsabers, and also offered larger green and red crystals as curiosities. At the same time, the Gatherers of Savi's Workshop had obtained several Imperial Era kyber crystal containers and distributed their crystals to customers who came to learn the art of lightsaber crafting.
Known kyber crystals
There were a number of different types of kyber crystals that could be used in the construction of a lightsaber or in other objects. Some of them created different effects in the lightsabers which they were used in.
- Adegan crystal
- Barab ingot
- Christophsis crystal
- Corrupted crystal
- Cracked Jedha crystal
- Dantari crystal
- Dragite gem
- Ghostfire crystal
- Ilum crystal
- Kimber stone
- Krayt dragon pearl
- Lorrdian gemstone
- Nishalorite stone
- Seeker crystal
- Solari crystal
- Sorian crystal
- Synthetic kyber crystal
- Tainted Nightsister Crystal
- Thontiin crystal
- Varpeline crystal
- Zophis crystal
Known crystal colors
- "The heart of the lightsaber, the crystal is."
- Amethyst/Purple (such as Mace Windu's lightsaber and Huulik's lightsaber)
- Black (such as the Darksaber)
- Obsidian (emitted a red hue)
- Blue (such as the Skywalker lightsaber and Obi-Wan Kenobi's third lightsaber)
- Crimson/Red (post-bleeding, such as Darth Vader's dual-phase lightsaber and Darth Sidious' lightsabers)
- Green (such as Yoda's shoto lightsaber and Luke Skywalker's second lightsaber)
- White (such as Ahsoka Tano's white lightsabers)
- Yellow (such as the Jedi Temple Guards' lightsaber pikes, Ventress's lightsaber and Rey's lightsaber)