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.
- 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.
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.
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.|
|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:
|Draugr Scourge Lord|
|Draugr Death Overlord|
|Spriggan Earth MotherDG|
|Draugr Death Overlord|
Black Soul Gems
In addition to the creatures above, black soul gems can be used for gathering souls from:
- Any character, hostile or otherwise, from any of the ten playable races.
- Forsworn Briarheart
- Soul Fissures
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:
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.