One of the key materials for magical crafting in thaumcraft, are the mysterious items known variously as "vis shards", "crystal shards", "aspect shards", or simply "shards". These come in six varieties, corresponding to the six primal aspects. Their characteristic colors are close but not identical to those of their aspect's essentia.
Shards are mined from corresponding ores known as Aspect Infused Stone. These ores are remarkably conspicuous, with glowing traceries of energy which make them visible at great distances even in complete darkness. (They do not, however, shed light on their surroundings.) They drop 1-3 shards apiece by default, but the Fortune or Treasure enchantments will increase the number.
Aspect Infused stone is found at all depths (including well above sea level) and in all biomes. However, the various aspects are each more common in "affiliated" biome types:
- Air (Yellow): Plains
- Fire (Red): Deserts
- Water (Blue): Ocean, River
- Earth (Green): Forest
- Order (White/Pink): Extreme Hills, Mushroom Island, Magical Forest
- Entropy (Dark Gray): Swamps, any "Wasteland" biomes from other mods.
Shards appear in a wide variety of recipes. Most often, a particular aspect is required, but there are also recipes which can use any type of shard ("anyshards"). Some of the key recipes include:
- Crystal Clusters are crafted from six shards, either all of the same type, or one of each for a "mixed cluster". Crystal clusters can act as stabilizers for the Infusion Altar, or provide "ghost points" for the research table. They also shed some light.
- The Thaumometer requires two anyshards.
- Balanced Shards are produced by alchemy. Any of the six types of aspect shard can be turned into a balanced shard by combining it with essentia of the other five primal aspects. Balanced shards in turn can be smelted into Salis Mundus, and in both forms they are necessary for many important craftings. Balanced shards can generally be used as "anyshards".
- A Primal Charm is crafted from one of each type of shard, including a balanced shard.
- Advanced wandcraft uses shards at every stage, from advanced cores and energized caps, to the creation of foci.
- Each shard type has 2 of its own primal aspect, plus 1 Praecantatio and 1 Vitreus.