One of the things I’m working my way into is selling gems on the auction house. This is no surprise, as I’ve done this since BC and it’s always been a decent source of gold for me. It’s also been fun, more or less.
One of the things I did back in Cataclysm was to compile a list of theoretical gem priorities. This would be, I believed, a good resource for targeting which epic gem designs to buy for the 4.3 “Dragon Soul” patch in order to make lots of gold on the AH. Blizzard screwed that plan up in a number of ways:
- Gem designs were learned randomly (at least for the first two days of the patch; this was changed in a manner designed to maximize frustration after I had spent all my tokens).
- Epic gems were not available through prospecting or transmuting or any normal means. You had to raid to get them.
- Stats were balanced in such a way that most classes would be better off forsaking socket bonuses and gemming with only pure stat gems.
- Red sockets outnumbered yellow and blue sockets on the new gear by a factor of about 10 to 1 anyway.
The result was that I never made any gold selling epic gems. I did make quite a bit selling rare gems in the first few days of the patch, but this was primarily through the sale of red gems. The strategy there was how to acquire and sell red gems, with all other colors (especially blue, yellow and green) an afterthought.
Thankfully, Blizzard did not neglect this problem in Pandaria. The primary fix for this was to double the value of secondary stats on gems. Thus, where a Brilliant Primordial Ruby gives you +160 int, a Smooth Sun’s Radiance will give you +320 crit. The effect of this is to make the secondary stat gems in some cases more valuable than the primary stat gems, and almost certainly to make the socket colors worth matching for the socket bonuses. This makes green gems salable again, as other than stamina they don’t have any primary stat on them.
Blizzard also made socket bonuses more applicable again by using more blue and yellow sockets, but I have a feeling that the bias to red sockets in Dragon Soul was just a reflection of most people using only red gems anyway.
When cutting gems there is a different sort of bias. I generally have an equal amount of all gems and I want to distribute my sales among all of those gems equally. Transmutation is no longer a reasonable source of gems of a given color, as each rare gem that could be sold for about 50 to 60 gold costs a frost lotus that could be sold for three times that amount. (Dear Blizzard: please make rare gem transmutes more affordable.) The only option for when things get imbalanced is to create ilvl 450 necklaces and rings with the excess rare gems. While these items occasionally sell for more, I believe the most reliable use for such gems is to create ethereal shards from the rare items crafted.
Note: This should create some sort of floor below which gems should not be crafted. Ethereal shards are currently selling for 80g on my server. Two of any rare gem can be combined with six Serpent’s Eyes and a jewelcrafter’s setting to create one of those ilvl 450 rares, which will always result in at least one shard when disenchanted. Serpent’s Eyes are a byproduct of prospecting ore and have little other purpose, so while it’s not fair to say they have no value, more or less they should be freely available to convert excess rare gems to shards (I currently have 651 Serpent’s Eyes in my banks). If you can net 80g by combining two rare gems with readily available materials to make a ring or necklace that gets DE’d, it doesn’t make much sense to cut a gem for sale at much below 40g.
Point being: people who cut gems to sell them at 10g per are nuts.
What I’ve done here, as before, is to compile a list of gem types recommended for each of the now 37 specs in the game. For my source this time I used Icy Veins. Generally I prefer Elitist Jerks as a PvE resource for various reasons, but they have been very slow to create Pandaria guides, and some of the guides do not make definitive recommendations for gems. Icy Veins, for all its faults, makes recommendations in a format that is easy to find and follow. I figure if someone is going to look for what gems she should put in her gear, she could do far worse than to go to Icy Veins.
When I did this the first time, someone asked me why I didn’t use wowpopular, which is a site that tracks the gems actually used by people. The first reason is that the methodology is biased toward people who don’t buy gems; a person who has three upgrades is just counted once. The second reason is similar, as it is biased to people less likely to pay money for gems. Those two factors put together mean that it’s unreliable for predicting what gems will sell at the beginning of a patch when people eager to upgrade gear to raid will be buying lots of gems. The final reason is that the results from wowpopular seem so wrong to my mind that I can’t stomach following it. It seems that a lot of people are still following the Cataclysm primary stats over everything mindset, and I expect this to change.
Listed below are the gems organized by color, followed by a bit of a commentary on what these results are. The idea of this list is that it should reflect the PvE demand for a gem. If Icy Veins recommends one gem for a given socket color for a certain spec, I award that gem 2 points. If it recommends two gems for a given socket color (often depending on whether hit or haste caps have been met), I award each one point. This system is not perfect, as not all specs are played equally, but it should reflect a general distribution of demand.
Blue Gems (River’s Heart):
- Rigid (+hit): 20 points
- Sparkling (+spirit): 14 points
- Solid (+stamina): 9 points
A lot of the specs specify that Rigid gems should be use if hit caps cannot be met through reforging, so it’s likely that this overstates the expected demand for rigid gems. This is likely to be more true going forward as better gear becomes distributed and reaching hit caps do not present such a problem. The Sparkling cut will present a similar issue, as better gear for healers makes regen less of a problem, making them prefer intellect over spirit.
My experience with these gems is that they sell for low prices and are not very profitable. The Stormy (PvP power) cut seems to be a more reliable seller.
Green Gems (Wild Jade):
- Energized (+haste/+spirit): 9 points
- Piercing (+hit/+crit): 6 points
- Puissant (+mastery/+stam): 5 points
- Lightning (+haste/+hit): 4 points
- Misty (+spirit/+crit): 3 points
- Sensei’s (+hit/+mastery): 3 points
- Zen (+spirit/+mastery): 1 point
A lot of gems here reflect the primacy of hit and spirit. Like the blue ones above, I expect these to become less popular as gear gets better and these stats become less useful. For now, though, these gems actually sell pretty well, which is a refreshing change from Cataclysm, where the best price you could get for a green gem was from the vendor.
Orange Gems (Vermilion Onyx):
- Artful (+int/+mastery): 13 points
- Adept (+agi/+mastery): 9 points
- Reckless (+int/+haste): 9 points
- Deft (+agi/+haste): 7 points
- Deadly (+agi/+crit): 6 points
- Fierce (+str/+haste): 4 points
- Potent (+int/+crit): 3 points
- Crafty (+expertise/+crit): 2 points
- Fine (+parry/+mastery): 2 points
- Inscribed (+str/+crit): 2 points
I haven’t been selling orange gems for a while, as I’ve had a shortage of them and I’m trying to restock the supply. This was because it took me almost three weeks to get the Potent cut I wanted from the research and I got every single other cut before that one.
My experience is that a lot of these sell well and they will sell even better as the “blue” stats become less of an issue. There is also a wide distribution here, which means that I will likely have to be selective about what to sell. This does not necessarily mean that I will focus on Artful and Adept (although those two gems do sell well), because other gem cutters might oversupply those popular gems. But I won’t be cutting one of each of these.
Purple Gems (Imperial Amethyst):
- Purified (+int/+spirit): 16 points
- Glinting (+agi/+hit): 14 points
- Veiled (+int/+hit): 6 points
- Etched (+str/+hit): 4 points
- Shifting (+agi/+stam): 3 points
- Defender’s (+parry/+stam): 2 points
- Guardian’s (+expertise/+stam): 2 points
Purple gems are likely to have a continuing value as gear improves. Right now, healers who need spirit and dps who need hit will put these gems in their red sockets. Later, when they shift from hit and spirit to int and agi, these gems will be put in blue sockets. Thus I think these will continue to sell well, and in my experience the Purified cut is a very strong seller.
One cut that isn’t on here and deserves to be is the Accurate (+expertise/+hit) cut. Because expertise functions as hit for casters, this gem can essentially replace either a Rigid gem in a blue socket or a Precise gem in a red socket. As these are both highly recommended gems, I think the Accurate cut deserves a place on here.
Red Gems (Primordial Ruby):
- Precise (+expertise): 15 points
- Delicate (+agi): 14 points
- Brilliant (+int): 11 points
- Bold (+str): 2 points
The Precise cut at the top of this list surprised me. It was typically recommended with a huge caveat of “If you cannot meet the hit/expertise cap through other means, use this gem.” Experience tells me that this gem will be far less popular than its 15 points would indicate.
The other gems are the Cataclysm mainstays and undoubtedly people who have not adjusted to Pandaria will continue to favor them. This works both ways, though, as jewelcrafters will show their bias by cutting massive amounts of these gems even though they are no longer the cash cows they once were. Particularly surprising to me is how disfavored the Bold gems now are. They do not sell well at all.
Yellow Gems (Sun’s Radiance):
- Smooth (+crit): 9 points
- Fractured (+mastery): 6 points
- Quick (+haste): 5 points
Unlike Cataclysm, there are a few options here, but only a few. I think the Smooth and Quick cuts tend to be underplayed because of people still sticking to Cataclysm gemming strategies. These are good gems.
As for Metas? Maybe I’ll get into that market, but for now I’m staying out. The problems I’ve had with selling meta gems are that the demand is relatively low and the presence of one mad jewelcrafter can wreck the market. The gems themselves are expensive to make and it’s something I don’t really want to bother with.
As long as you’re not on Moon Guard, I hope this guide helps you!