- "Sun beaming down in a nice, non-fatal way. It's very exciting, I can't wait to find out if I freckle."
The Gem of Amara was a mystical ring described as the equivalent to the Holy Grail for vampires. This artifact would grant the vampire wearer increased abilities and complete invulnerability to all their usual weaknesses.
The Gem of Amara granted the wearer enhanced regenerative powers, allowing them to survive staking—which would traditionally kill a normal vampire—as the wound would close and they would not dust. However, its most astounding effect was granting immunity to harmful effects of sunlight, thus allowing the vampire to hunt in broad daylight. They are also rendered vampires immune to crosses and fire, although the consequences if an opponent attempted to decapitate the vampire wearing the Gem were never specified. However, Doyle claimed that wearing the Gem would make the wearer unkillable if he or she was a vampire.
During the 10th century, there was a great deal of interest in the Gem of Amara, with one reference indicating that the artifact resided in the "Valley of the Sun". Questing vampires combed the earth seeking its location but no-one found it. It was concluded that the Gem had never existed.
In 1999, however, the well-known vampire Spike, or William the Bloody, returned to Sunnydale, the "Valley of the Sun", and assembled a group of vampires to find the Gem. After several excavations that caused severe damage on roads and property, Harmony Kendall, Spike's girlfriend at the time, found a ring within a tomb filled with jewels and treasures. In a moment of anger, Spike staked Harmony and watched, much to his surprise, how the wound healed itself.
Afterwards, Spike took the Gem of Amara and attempted to assassinate Buffy Summers, the Slayer, in broad daylight. After a brief face-off, Buffy managed to steal the ring, forcing Spike to retreat into a nearby sewer to escape being turned to dust.Marcus, himself a vampire, in order to obtain the location of the Gem. However, Angel resisted the torture, much to Spike's impatience. Tired of waiting, Spike approached Cordelia Chase and Allen Francis Doyle and offered to exchange Angel for the Gem of Amara.
Oz, Doyle and Cordelia went to the warehouse in which Angel was being tortured and gave up the Gem, though they threw on it an area touched by direct sunlight. In the ensuing fight, Marcus took the Gem for himself; Spike had mistaken Marcus' behavior for disinterest. However, the possibility of hunting unharmed in broad daylight was too tempting even for the usually cool-headed Marcus.
With the Gem of Amara in his power, Marcus took the chance to seek out his prey of choice—namely young children (as he had been a pedophile in life). He attempted to attack a group of boy scouts at a pier, though the Angel Investigations staff went after him. Already weakened by the torture, Angel charged Marcus despite bursting into flames. The two vampires fell on the sea, which extinguished the flames from Angel's body. Below the pier, covered in shadows, the two vampires fought until Angel managed to impale Marcus through the heart to one of the pier's columns, using a piece of wood. Then, Angel merely took the ring off Marcus' finger and watched as the pedophile vampire turned to dust
After the day ended, Angel, who had remained doubtful about keeping the ring or not, decided to destroy it, understanding that if he kept the ring he would be in danger of forgetting about his mission; while the Gem would allow Angel to help people in daylight, they already had help from the rest of the world, and it was his duty to protect those in the dark who could not ask for help themselves. Angel smashed the ring with a brick, destroying it and the Gem of Amara.