Gem Cutting

Copyright Stu Gritter © 2006

Edited by Mario Butter for The Guild Companion

"You need never fear the gem cutter ever again!"

Player: Crafting skill... like gem cutting? That sounds fun. How much is a gem worth after I cut it?
GM: I don't know. Depends on the gem I guess.

Player: Oh. I'll take blacksmithing, then.

[Later that day...]


GM: Alright, you cleave the Ogre-Mage-Goddess in half with your Uber-Blade. She drops the diamond she was holding. It's very finely carved.

Player: Awesome! That uncut one sold for fifteen gold! How much is this one worth?
GM: I don't know. Depends on the... uh, the... um... say, you want another coke?

My fellow GMs, you need never fear the gem cutter ever again! Most of the gems listed in the Loot: a Field Guide are right here with their initial values, the difficulty for cutting them, and a magical little number called the "Increase Increment." It is a simple process: the character makes his roll on the movement maneuver table, an all-or-nothing roll, as indicated by the Crafting skill. If the character succeeds, the value of the gem increases by the amount listed in the "Increase" column of the table for each rank that character has in the Craft: Gem Cutting skill.

For example, my fuzzy little dwarf Krikor gets his stubby fingers on a diamond and wants to carve it up to sell it for even more than the initial fifteen gold piece value. He has three ranks in Gem Cutting (stubby fingers), and by some miracle or another manages to succeed in his roll! The increase increment is one gold piece, so the final value of the diamond is eighteen gold pieces (15 + 3 = 18).

Of course, the prices and increases here have been designed for my own world's commercial setting, and tailored to suit the amount of treasure I may or may not dish out. The increased values scale up with the gem's initial price and difficulty to cut, but if you find your PCs becoming too rich (or not becoming rich enough), I'd suggest altering the numbers slightly. Another optional rule is putting a cap on the value of a cut gem (no more than double its initial value). Or perhaps you want to shift from an all-or-nothing roll to another form of roll in order to have more variance in the results. Try the system out as is and adjust it as you deem necessary.

Gem Chart: The Numbers

Name Price/Carat Difficulty Increase
Alexandrite (Chrysoberyl) 5 gp Light 2 sp
Amethyst (Quartz) 9 cp Medium 2 cp
Aquamarine (Beryl) 14 cp Medium 2 cp
Axinite 4 sp Hard 5 cp
Bloodstone (Quartz) 18 cp Medium 3 cp
Carnelian (Quartz) 15 cp Medium 3 cp
Cat's Eye (Chrysoberyl) 16 sp Light 6 cp
Chrysoprase (Quartz) 1 sp Medium 2 cp
Citrine (Quartz) 5 sp Medium 5 cp
Diamond 15 gp Absurd 1 gp
Emerald (Beryl) 7 gp Medium 4 sp
Garnet (Feldspar) 1 cp Hard 1 cp
Heliodor (Beryl) 7 gp Medium 4 sp
Hiddenite (Spodumene) 1 gp Absurd 5 sp
Iolite 6 sp Medium 6 cp
Jade 9 gp Hard 5 sp
Kunzite (Spodumene) 1 gp Absurd 5 sp
Lapis Lazuli 3 gp Very Hard 4 sp
Morganite (Beryl) 17 sp Medium 8 cp
Nephrite 9 gp Easy 25 cp
Onyx (Quartz) 4 cp Medium 1 cp
Pearl Black: 14 sp
White: 7 sp
Easy Black: 7 cp
White: 4 cp
Peridot 11 sp Hard 3 sp
Red Beryl (Beryl) 9 gp Medium 3 sp
Rhodochrosite 3 gp Easy 7 cp
Ruby (Corundum) 19 sp Sheer Folly 8 sp
Sapphire (Corundum) 18 sp Sheer Folly 8 sp
Sardonyx (Quartz) 4 cp Medium 1 cp
Sinhalite 6 gp Hard 6 sp
Spinel 7 sp Hard 7 cp
Taafeite 2 gp Easy 15 cp
Topaz 14 sp Normal 8 cp
Turquoise 11 sp Easy 5 cp