Elements, in short, are relics and devices that produce a natural effect when activated. They originated from the Dragonians in the Reptite Dimension; there, the Dragonians identified six forces of nature that could be typified into colors and natural effects. They constructed the Dragon God, a machine that could control nature, and placed it within Dinopolis. After Dinopolis was shunted to the Keystone Dimension and lost to Chronopolis, its inhabitants proliferated throughout the new El Nido archipelago. They continued their craft there, utilizing Power Spots -- areas around the world in which natural power welled up -- to create Elements. The devices were used by being equipped on Element Grids, which allowed the storing of Elements for use in the field. When activated, they would also unleash a residual effect of their color type upon the immediate area, called the Field Effect. Humans adopted the use of Elements as well, selling them in shops and employing them for combat, medicine, construction, and other purposes. It is unknown if the creation of Elements ceased after the extinction of the Dragonians after 920 A.D., but their widespread use in 1020 A.D. suggests that perhaps the Demi-humans or other humans had learned how to forge them.
Though the Elements originated with the Dragon God, their real purpose was selected by Belthasar as part of Project Kid. The Guru of Time recognized that the colors and effects of Elements, when combined, could produce a healing effect with other powers pertinent to life. He divined their creation as part of FATE's control over El Nido, and also planned the construction of a pedestal at Divine Dragon Falls. The plans were all part of an objective to have the Chrono Cross, a "seventh Element" drawing on the powers of the others combined, created and used by Serge. This plan saw its realization after Serge won the six relics from the Dragons and recovered the two shards of the Dragon Tear; with Steena's advice, he set the shards on the pedestal and the Chrono Cross was formed. Said to employ the melody of life of each Element in one singular harmony, the Chrono Cross successfully effected the release of Schala from the Time Devourer and the Unification of Dimensions, a feat perhaps owing to the different dimensional origin of the Chrono Cross's components. After their ultimate function had been performed, Elements presumably still existed in El Nido.
Elements should not be confused with the four fundamental elements of the universe, which compose all matter. These four elements, described by Spekkio, are the basic building blocks of the universe, while the Elements of the Dragonians are more derivate forces that represent aspects of nature. To avoid confusion, the Elements of El Nido are always capitalized, and the elements of the universe are always left uncapitalized. Concerning Innate, this trait is seemingly determined by personality (as opposed to the "innates" of Chrono Trigger, who, when this term is applied to them, are natural born magic users).
Element Grids allow the transport and easy deployment of Elements in battle. Their exact nature and construction are unknown; from in-game evidence, they are apparently small, physical devices on which Elements are equipped. However, several problems arise from this definition. Firstly, some Techs are learned naturally and can then be allocated; does this mean the learning player character created an Element of his own? This can perhaps be written off as the inability of Cross's combat system to represent innate abilities akin to Trigger's method. Another problem exists with monsters; how are they intelligent enough to allocate and use Elements? One possible explanation is that FATE engineered them to have this ability, or that as simple tools, animals adapted to their use over thousands of years (similar to monkeys and apes using tools in the wild). Lastly, grids are never ostensibly observed on monsters or humans. These inconsistencies can be resolved if the Element Grid is simply considered a system necessary to the game's mechanics. Nonetheless, the scenario where Mel stole Kid's Elements brings the Element Grid into the plot, and this poses difficulties.