Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
Soul gems

From left to right: Petty, Lesser, Common, Greater, Grand.

For other uses, see Soul Gem.

Soul Gems are naturally-occurring magic stones that house the souls of the dead. Used for enchanting weapons and armor at an arcane enchanter or for recharging previously enchanted weapons, soul gems come in various sizes and strengths: petty, lesser, common, greater, grand and black. Capturing souls in soul gems is typically done with the Soul Trap spell of the Conjuration school of Magicka, or with a weapon that has received such an enchantment. With the exception of Azura's Star and The Black Star, using a filled soul gem always destroys it.


Soul gems can be obtained by slaying mages, magically-affiliated enemies, by purchasing them from magic shops and court wizards, mining geode veins or found as randomized loot in containers.


In Blackreach, the Dwemer underground realm, there are geode deposits. These yield soul gems with random values ranging from petty to black soul gems.


Filled and empty soul gems can be purchased from general goods merchants, court magicians and some members of the College of Winterhold. Filled gems are three to four times the price of empty ones.

Dungeon loot

  • 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, which may or may not be filled.
  • The chests found at the top of the guard towers near the Riften Stables always possess a random unfilled soul gem.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, the realm of Apocrypha has numerous empty and filled soul gems, ranging from petty to black. They can be found on tables and in pods.


Azura's Star

Azura's Star, a special soul gem.

Soul trapping

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 exists in the inventory, the soul is captured by a higher-capacity gem. If there is no empty gem large enough, 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. Activating a soul fissure will fill the highest level blank soul gem available.

Bound weapons

Bound weapons such as the bound sword or bow can automatically soul trap attacked enemies if the Conjuration perk Soul Stealer has been taken.

Soul size

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.

Name Weight Value Capacity Trappable souls
Azura's Star 0 1000 3000 Can hold any soul, excluding those of humanoids.
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.
Warped Soul Gem 0.5 0 0 For the quest Arniel's Convection. Cannot hold souls.
Wylandriah's Soul Gem 0 0 3000 For the quest Hunt and Gather. Can only be used for recharging.


The following are creatures that give souls:

Petty Souls

Frostbite Spider

Lesser Souls

Alpha Wolf
Ash Hopper
Draugr Overlord
Draugr Wight
Falmer Skulker
Flame Atronach
Gargoyle DG
Giant Frostbite Spider
Ice Wolf
Ice Wraith
Restless Draugr
Sabre Cat
Spectral Warhound
Snowy Sabre Cat
Venomfang Skeever
Wounded Frostbite Spider

Common Souls

Ash Spawn DR
Cave Bear
Chaurus Reaper
Draugr Scourge
Draugr Scourge Lord
Falmer Gloomlurker
Falmer Nightprowler
Falmer Shadowmaster
Frost Atronach
Frost Troll
Gargoyle Brute DG
Hulking Draugr DR
Lurker DR
Riekling DR
Snow Bear
Seeker DR
Spriggan Matron

Greater Souls

Chaurus Hunter DG
Draugr Death Overlord
Draugr Deathlord
Storm Atronach
Spriggan Earth Mother DG
Burnt Spriggan DR

Grand Souls

Ash Spawn Immolator DR
Corrupted Shade
Dragon Priest
Draugr Death Overlord
Draugr Deathlord
Falmer Warmonger DG
Gargoyle Sentinel DG
Guardian Saerek
Guardian Torsten
Riekling Charger DR

Black Soul Gems

In addition to the creatures above, black soul gems can be used for gathering souls from:

After a black soul gem is used, the soul used is sent to the Soul Cairn, a plane of Oblivion where only the dead and the undead can exist, under normal circumstances.


  • The soul gem designs appear similar to aura quartz, special quartz crystals that are put in a high temperature vacuum and have had either gold, titanium, iron or other metals fused on in powdered form. It gives the crystal different colors of metallic sheen, varying from transparent to opaque.
  • Outside of inventory, mousing over a soul gem does not reveal whether the gem is filled or not.
  • If you get a message saying that you do not have a large enough soul gem to capture a soul, despite having an empty grand soul gem in your inventory, it means that you are trying to catch a humanoid soul, which requires a black soul gem.


This section contains bugs related to Soul Gem (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Soul gems that have been self-filled (using the Soul Trap enchantment or spell) can lose their souls when dropped or stored in containers. They also will not stack (i.e. each one appears separately in inventory). This happens regardless of whether the soul is the "proper" size for the gem (e.g. a common soul in a common soul gem).
    • The only workaround for this is to keep all self-filled soul gems in inventory. Despite claims to the contrary, this has not been fixed in any patch.

See also