So I was wikipedia’ing random things, like ya do, when I discovered that cubic zirconia are made in something called a “SKULL CRUCIBLE.” Developed by the Soviets – of course it was – it uses lightning bolts (well, a radio frequency magnetic field, but let’s say lightning bolts) to heat the inside of a big block of zirconium oxide. The inside melts and turns into crystals, while the outside remains a solid white shell, like a skull.
At the end of the process, a Soviet scientist cracks the skull with a hammer (note that there’s an actual hammer in the picture below), and cubic zirconia spill out like candy out of a pinata! But instead of candy, it’s gems, and instead of a pinata, it’s a skull! Science is awesome!
Inspired by this process, here’s a creepy any-edition D&D spell to teach your Big Bad Evil Guy:
This is a horrifying variation on the Lightning Bolt spell – same level, damage, and effects, except as noted below. It is available to any evil wizard who knows Lightning Bolt and has a Carbuncle as a familiar.
Chances are, the PCs will first learn of this spell when a mysterious wizard starts paying for kidnappings with handfuls of uncut gems. The smarter the kidnapping victim, the more valuable to the wizard!