Ornamentation: Jewelry, Crossing the Streams

Hope Diamond, By David Bjorgen
Hope Diamond, By David Bjorgen

I just realized something about my last two posts.

If I take the ‘jewelry system’ from the previous post and I modify the exponential values table I see something interesting happen.

What if gems scale by one rate and jewelry by another? Specifically,¬†gem value is multiplied by five every six steps and jewelry by ten every six steps? I’ve adapted the exponential values table so a “times ten per +6” column (labeled ‘Metal’ below).

Adjustment Gems Metal Metal Note
-3 44.72 31.62
-2 58.48 46.42
-1 76.47 68.13
0 100.00 100.00 Silver
1 130.77 146.78
2 171.00 215.44
3 223.61 316.23
4 292.40 464.16
5 382.36 681.29
6 500.00 1,000.00 Gold
7 653.83 1,467.80
8 854.99 2,154.43
9 1118.03 3,162.28
10 1462.01 4,641.59
11 1911.81 6,812.92
12 2500.00 10,000.00 Platinum

That is, if you start with a gem worth 100 gp and get +6 (size and quality) to its value, it’s worth 500 gp — as much as the next grade of stone. However, if you craft a piece of jewelry and get +6 (purity and quality) to its value, it’s worth ten times as much — that silver ring is worth as much as a regular ring made of gold.

The math vs. arithmetic problem again, I think, though it does make for a smoother transition between the metal values and it does mean you need less metal for it to be relevant when gems are present. Even the most exquisite gold ring (+6 = *10 value) is worth only about 20gp, hardly noticeable against the 1,000 gp sapphire (though the two together are 1,600 gp).

Keeping this for posterity, in case I have the thought again.

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One comment

  1. An interesting thing to note is that while precious metals are strongly commodities (one gold ingot of a given purity is worth exactly the same as another, and they’re effectively interchangeable), gemstones tend to be strongly NOT. The more common semi-precious stones are weakly commodities, but when you get up to the very rare ones their value becomes a lot more idiosyncratic. This is the reason so many game systems have a random component to the value of gemstones.

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