Soul Gems are naturally-occurring, magic stones that house the souls of slain foes. Used for enchanting weapons and armor at an arcane enchanter or for recharging previously enchanted weapons, Soul Gems come in various sizes and strengths, ranging from Petty to Black with the power ranking being Petty, Lesser, Common, Greater, Grand, and Black respectively. With numerous ways to insert souls into Soul Gems, the act is typically done with the Soul Trap spell of the Conjuration school of Magicka. With the exception of Azura's Star and The Black Star, using a filled soul gem destroys it. Obtaining Soul Gems can be done by slaying mages, magically-affiliated enemies, by purchasing them from magic shops and Court Wizards, or found as randomized loot in containers.
- In Dwemer ruins, most Dwarven automatons contain soul gems, ranging from petty to grand. They may or may not be filled.
- Vampire Lairs
- Nordic ruins
- There are also a number of soul gems that can be found at The College of Winterhold, most of which cannot be taken without stealing. Becoming Arch-Mage revokes this crime, unless the soul gems are owned by another member of the college.
- During a quest for Drevis Neloren, one to three free, empty soul gems of any size can be obtained.
- Several unmarked locations on the world map.
- The enemies in the Soul Cairn always drop soul gems, ranging from petty to black, and may be filled or empty.
Trapping souls in soul gems requires the conjuration spell soul trap or a soul trap enchanted weapon. Killing an enemy with the spell cast upon them or using the enchantment draws their soul into one gem of the appropriate size. If no gem of the appropriate size or greater exists in the inventory, the soul is lost. An example of a weapon enchanted with the ability to capture souls is the Mace of Molag Bal. In Dawnguard, souls can be captured by activating a soul fissure in the Soul Cairn, so long as an empty soul gem is in the inventory.
Soul size is determined by enemy type. Generally, smaller or lower-leveled creatures possess lesser, petty, or common souls, such as foxes, Falmer, or chaurus. Larger or higher-leveled creatures possess greater or grand souls, such as mammoths (grand) or giants (greater).
Humanoid races possess grand souls, but can only be trapped in a black soul gem or the Daedric artifact the Black Star, which is obtained through the quest of the same name. Falmer, draugr and Rieklings are an exception, as their souls may be captured in standard gems.
Soul gems are separated into types based on the capacity they can carry. The soul gem types are petty, lesser, common, greater, grand and black.
|Azura's Star||0||1000||3000||Can hold any soul, excluding those of Humanoids. (e.g. Argonians, Khajiit, Men, Mer, etc.)|
|The Black Star||0||1000||3000||Is said to only hold souls of humanoids, but in fact can hold any soul.|
|Petty Soul Gem||0.1||10||250||Can hold creature souls below level 4.|
|Lesser Soul Gem||0.2||25||500||Can hold creature souls below level 16.|
|Common Soul Gem||0.3||50||1000||Can hold creature souls below level 28.|
|Greater Soul Gem||0.4||100||2000||Can hold creature souls below level 38.|
|Grand Soul Gem||0.5||200||3000||Can hold any soul, excluding those of Humanoids|
|Black Soul Gem||1||500||3000||Can hold any soul, including those of Humanoids.|
|Soul Gem Fragment||0.1||5||0||Cannot hold souls.|
The following are creatures that give souls:
|Giant Frostbite Spider|
|Wounded Frostbite Spider|
|Draugr Death Overlord|
Black Soul Gems
In addition to the creatures above, black soul gems can be used for gathering humanoid souls such as:
- Any character, hostile or otherwise, from any of the ten playable races.
- Fire Mage
- Ice Mage
- Storm Mage
This section contains bugs related to Soul Gem (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Azura's Star retains any trapped soul if dropped, however it will not be destroyed when used, so using a smaller soul for a random enchantment clears it, and gives some enchanting experience.
If the soul of a small-size has been trapped in a large soul gem, the gem can be dropped, picked back up, and it becomes empty again.
- Patch 1.09 resolved this.
- Despite the patch, by storing stacks of six or more at a time and using the "take all" command when retrieving, larger soul gems housing smaller souls are still emptied.