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Gold Capped: Making money with jewelcrafting

Basil Berntsen

Want to get Gold Capped? This column will show you how, and is written by Basil "Euripides" Berntsen, also of, the Hunting Party podcast, and the Call to Auction podcast.

Hi folks, this week we'll be going over jewelcrafting. Making money with jewelcrafting can be a challenge, but it's a rewarding one. In fact, very few professions have as much earning potential as this one does. We'll start with the easy part: if you have a jewelcrafter, where's the low hanging fruit? I like to call this "reactive" profits. Anything where you can get a fixed income sort of profit for minimal effort, but you can't grind falls into this category for me. Alchemy has daily epic gem transmutes, mining used to have a daily Titansteel cooldown, tailoring has a bag cooldown, etc. What does jewelcrafting have?

Low hanging fruit

As Michael mentioned in a recent Insider Trader, each and every day, jewelcrafters can do the jewelcrafting daily quest. This will reward them with a Dalaran Jewelcrafter's Token, which can be turned in for a variety of recipes or a Dragon's Eye, which is importantly cut by jewelcrafters into their better than average epic gems. This means that, just like regular epic gems, Dragon's Eyes are a raid consumable of sorts, and will be purchased every time a jewelcrafter upgrades certain pieces of gear.

If you are looking for easy money, cooldown style, this is the closest it gets. Each jewelcrafting daily, in addition to the smallish amount of gold you get for doing the quest, rewards you with a highly sought after commodity that you can choose to turn into gold immediately. On many servers, Dragon's Eyes sell for hundreds of gold.

That fruit at the top of the tree

Of course, the alternative is to not use your tokens for gold, but for those recipes I mentioned before. There are pros and cons for each side. If you "take the money and run", you're guaranteeing yourself a decent return on the 10 minutes you spend flying to and hearthing back from the daily quest. If you buy a recipe, however, you could use it to make more than that over the long run! This is "proactive" profiteering. You have to make a conscious effort to squeeze profits from the ability to cut a gem, but there's no artificial limit on your volume, like there is for selling Dragon's Eyes.

If you want to know whether there's a recipe that's worth it, you'll need to do some research. Ideally you'd have a clear idea of what you can realistically buy the uncut gems for, an idea of what the cut gem goes for, and some sort of clue about how much demand there is for a cut. If you had all this info, you could make a very well informed decision about whether those tokens are worth more as gold in your hand now, or as the ability to cut a gem. Unfortunately, this information is probably harder to get than it's worth. I don't know of any easy way to export Auctioneer data to a file, and unless you happen to have Market Watcher installed and are storing the historic prices of all the gem cuts you're interested in (which, by the way, would probably be a ridiculous amount of memory and not nearly as helpful as it sounds), you're going to have to guestimate it.

Some very useful data about gems can be found at the WoW Gem Finder, a nifty little site that lets you filter gems by basically any statistic, as well as WoW-Popular list of gems. Assume that the most popular gems will be the lowest margin, but if you look at what they're selling for on a Tuesday night, you'll see whether it's worth the competition. Also, some of the lower volume gems (the annoying off color ones we need to socket to activate our meta gems, for example) can sell at very nice margin when your competition forgets to keep theirs for sale on the auction house.

Don't forget to look at the meta gems! These days, everyone is so caught up in the trendy high volume epic cuts market that they forget that every time someone gets a helm upgrade, they need to get a meta gem. If you have access to a friendly alchemist (ideally a transmute specialized one), you can transmute uncut meta gems out of base mats. From there, just look at that WoW-Popular link to see what people use.

Working the angles

Jewelcrafters all start somewhere. Specifically, at 1 skill. Getting from there to where they want to be is a long and, when done incorrectly, expensive prospect. How to do this profitably is another post, but today we'll talk about a big part of jewelcrafting's biggest money maker: Prospecting.

This ability is the cornerstone of jewelcrafting, and is the main way that uncut gems enter the marketplace. Since there are a ton of places when you're on the way to 450 skill that you need uncut gems to level, the demand is quite naturally high. The angle is that regardless of the highest level ore you can prospect, there's money to be made prospecting lower level ores. Try out:
These can all be prospected into gems that may or may not sell for more than the ore you bought to make them. Take a look at the prospect tab on the pages to get an idea of the yields, and then look up your uncut gem prices. If the yields times the gem prices are more than the ore, you're in the money. Some of these used to be so profitable that a single high demand, uncommon uncut gem would pay for the ore on its own, and the rest was all profit. There's a lot of management overhead in this business, however. You need spreadsheets, research, and constant buying and selling of a large quantity of different types of items.

As good as your tools

As always, your ability to play the AH profitably will depend on your tools. Addons and mods make the auctioneer! For this business, Auctioneer is (of course) very handy in that you can automate mass buying and selling of lots of types of product. Your snatch list should have all these ores on it with the threshold set to lower than what you make by selling the uncut gems. You can use appraiser to automatically mass post and price the gems. Don't forget, the demand for these are sporadic, but heavy. Every time a budding jewelcrafter makes their way through the ranks of old world mats, they will have to buy large quantities of gems. Even if your auctions are not the cheapest on the AH, they can still sell.

bringin' sexy back!Being an auctioneer is like being able to print money. Or gold, as it were. Wait, that doesn't make sense... you can print on gold, but you can't print gold. That would be closer to transmutation? I can transmute titanium, but that's only worth it if the price of saronite is low enough to justify the time spent making it. I need some sort of analogy here. Whatever, I'll figure it out later. Making gold? Every week, Gold Capped will teach you the tricks of the trade. From setting up your auction addons and user interface, to cross faction arbitrage, to learning how to use your tradeskills.

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