We all reach, if we're lucky, a stage in Minecraft where we have way too much of valuable items--the best problems to have! And for a long time, people have wanted to show off such wealth in any way they can, by making gold and diamond and emerald structures--but they tend to be ugly. My idea if a series of beautiful and extravagant blocks, especially those made out of rare materials, with such beautiful shows of wealth having the trade off that once these decorative blocks are made, you cannot cash them back in for the raw, rare gems they are made out of--each of these gold, diamond and emerald blocks and pieces are unreturnable to usable materials for crafting.
Let's start with gold, the easy thing to have an overabundance of.
Some of you may know of golden joinery, a Japanese art of fixing broken ceramics with gold to hold the pieces together.
To have blocks in game with a similar imagery would be very pretty, and an instant way to add a hint of wealth to stone structures.
Crafting recipes for such would appear like this: any block with visible grooves that would look intriguing with gold flowing through it could follow this recipe, of three of each block with three gold nuggets placed above it, to produce free Gold-infused Blocks. Here is the recipe visual with a bunch of potential blocks:
For an extra bit of texture to builds, and a a nice decorative touch, gold buttons, with the exact model of stone buttons, could also be crafted.
Gold Relief Blocks could also exist--they would exhibit a kind of texture similar to Soulsand, albeit less ominous, depicting a few varying but piecing together textures depending on the side of the block, similar to Glazed Terracotta, except in all gold with shadows to indicate depth. They could depict repeating scenes of mob heads and bones on one side, of animal shapes in a field on another, of players engaged in combat on another, and of village buildings on the final side. This little touch would be extraordinarily pretty in any regal build, and could also be available in Emerald, following a similar recipe with the addition of Emerald Shards, and even Diamond, of which Diamond Shards are a definite addition with other concepts in my ideas. Emerald and Diamond versions might even visualize different patterns and concepts within them. In the end, this is the recipe structure:
Another problem in Minecraft is that gold blocks (and diamond, and emerald blocks) simply do not grid nicely for floors nor walls, though the texture is nice on their own accord. Therefore, I propose also that similar to the way cooked stone works, we create 2x2 grids to make a more refined form of gold, as well as the other blocks, ones of which layer smoothly on the floor or walls, with a unique and pristine texture. Stairs and slabs of these deluxe blocks should also become craftable in the typical crafting order used for such. Lapis blocks may also work in the same way once crafted, to keep the current texture of each while also having an enjoyable, buildable block available.
If any other fine gems were added, such as ruby, or sapphire (which would make an interesting kind of "gotcha!" block in that it could look similar to diamonds) it would also work lovely in this way, as well as make some really regal swords that trade off damage for being very pretty, and possibly have unique enchantments or a higher chance of being eligible for a certain enchantment (i.e. 10% higher chance of Fire Aspect II being the tier 3 enchantment for a Ruby Sword).
My final concept is the White Diamond, which is made by sacrificing a regular Diamond and all its useful crafting nature by smelting it in a furnace. It can be turned in to white diamond shards to make Encrusted blocks, which are similar to Gold Infused blocks, but in white, make a semi transparent White Diamond button, like the Gold Button, as well as all of the other block concepts (relief blocks, building blocks) shown previously. A floor block could look a lot like quartz, but with a very gem-stone sheen. Finally, two items could be craftable: a crown, which exists only for decoration (unless one of you would have suggestions for a balanced and interesting use for it, perhaps it could enable you to make villagers follow you, a good addition if you want to work with villagers, or to perhaps lower the expense of their trades, now that we have such a mechanic already implemented?)
(Shulker Box in place of White Diamonds)
And finally, as stated before, some swords that exist for beauty and show off only would be interesting, so a White Diamond sword with a gilded handle would be another interesting addition.
Overall, what I would like to see is a lot more things to do with rare and hard to obtain resources, and a lot more blocks for fantastic decoration, and building extravagant things to show off without it being ugly. I also think that new rare ores/gems, and new types of swords that focus on potential unique enchantments more than base damage would, and have more showmanship and prettier design, would be very refreshing to the game. If you have any other ideas for pretty and fancy looking blocks, let me know and I will add it and the potential crafting recipe to this list, and I would absolutely edit this as seen fit by your suggestions.
Gold-Infused Blocks should be crafted with a single Gold Nugget and a single block, instead of 3. That way, it'd be easier to get a more precise amount of crafted gold-infused blocks.
There should also be Iron-based counterparts to the gold-based items, both because iron stockpiles very quickly as well, and because it would also have useful decorative purposes.
I could see that, it could also create more variety in other nugget block ideas, I might edit that tomorrow.
How silly of me to forget iron. You're absolutely right. Iron needs a lot more stuff. I wouldn't stop at just iron counterparts to the gold pieces, I would really like to see more iron-specific blocks similar to stone--perhaps one that looks like a sheet of pure metal, and maybe chests that incorporate iron. I'll draw up a few different chest craftings for different designs, iron chests would be really neat--we need more variety to how we store things. Iron doors that aren't redstone operated and have more antiquated designs would also be interesting. If you have other ideas for what we could do with iron blockwise, please me know! I'm kind of stumped on it.
Solution for the time being: Stop mining. If you live in a mansion made of diamond blocks, simplicity is the one thing you want. Embrace it. Live in a dirt house. Or just start again, in a different world. Or play on servers. Or download worlds or mods.