Soul Gems are miscellaneous items which can be used to trap the souls of dying creatures or NPCs. The resulting filled soul gems can be used as power sources for enchanted items, either when initially creating custom enchanted items or when recharging depleted enchanted weapons. Note only Black Soul Gems and the Black Star can be used to capture the soul of an NPC, and is always stored as a Grand Soul. There are also Soul Gem Fragments found in the game. These are classified as minor loot and are not actual Soul Gems.
Empty Soul Gems can also be harvested from Geode Veins resulting in 2-3 gems of any size, including Black Soul Gems. Blackreach is home to numerous Geode Veins, and is the only known place where they can be found and mined.
 Types of Soul Gem
 Standard Soul Gems
|Petty Soul Gem||none||0002e4e2||0.1||10||250 (Petty)||Smallest size of soul gems.|
|Lesser Soul Gem||none||0002e4e4||0.2||25||500 (Lesser)||Second smallest size of soul gems.|
|Common Soul Gem||none||0002e4e6||0.3||50||1000 (Common)||Middle size of soul gems.|
|Greater Soul Gem||none||0002e4f4||0.4||100||2000 (Greater)||Second largest size of soul gems.|
|Grand Soul Gem||none||0002e4fc||0.5||200||3000 (Grand)||Largest standard size of soul gems.
If you get a message saying that you do not have a large enough soul gem to capture a soul, even though you have 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.
 Special Soul Gems
|Azura's Star||none||00063b27||0||1000||3000 (Grand)||Works the same as a grand soul gem, but does not break on use.|
|Black Soul Gem||none||0002e500||1||300||3000 (Grand)||Special soul gems that can capture humanoid souls.|
|The Black Star||none||00063b29||0||1000||3000 (Grand)||Can be used to capture an NPC's soul, and will not break on use.|
|Wylandriah's Soul Gem||none||00043e26||0||0||3000 (Grand)||See the quest Hunt and Gather.|
- To use a Soul Gem to recharge a weapon, first select the weapon in your inventory and then:
- press "T"
- press "R2"
- press "RB"
- A small menu will open where the description ordinarily is, and you can choose a soul gem to use.
- Soul Gems are consumed upon being used to recharge a weapon. This is one reason why it is a good idea to fill your Soul Gems as efficiently as possible (ie. Grand Gems for Grand Souls, Common Gems for Common Souls, etc.) a soul gem not being used to its fullest capacity could be considered a waste. Losing a Grand Soul gem because you used the 'petty soul' contained within to recharge a weapon for example. However a bug where the soul gem empties when dropped is easily used to empty a Soul Gem and find another creature or NPC to fill it.
- With the exception of grand and black gems, soul gems filled yourself do not change in value from the "none" value to their filled value (ie. a Common Soul Gem valued at 50 when empty, will also be valued at 50 with a soul in it, even though a Common filled Soul Gem purchased from a shop is valued at 150).
- Standard merchants do not sell Black Soul Gems. To purchase one you must talk to either Enthir at the College of Winterhold while he is in his quarters, or Falion in Morthal.
- If you have the Dawnguard plug-in installed grand or greater soul gems can be transformed into black soul gems by using the lightning rods found in the Soul Cairn.
- Manually filled gems won't increase their value unless you fill them full. [verification needed — Do they? Further: Not very precisely explained.]
- As of version 1.9, soul gems from Greater down to Petty that you fill yourself still do not stack correctly.
- Dropping a soul gem you filled yourself onto the ground will cause it to lose its charge. However, this does allow you to clear out an unwanted soul from a soul gem (for example, if you put a petty soul into a grand soul gem) without losing the soul gem itself.
- Self filled soul gems from Greater down to Petty if transferred less than 6 at a time, can lose their souls when put into a container, such as a bedside table, and then are taken out of the container and returned to your inventory. Only the last gem in a stack smaller than 6 can be transferred safely.
- It is recommended that you save your game before you move any self filled soul gems to or from your inventory and a container or follower.
- If you have a long list of singleton self filled soul gems of the same type in your inventory, and you want to stack them without losing the souls; simply give the filled ones to your follower, and then take them back.
- You can use the
TAKE ALLcommand to take all of the soul gems from a container. This technique frequently prevents the soul loss but should be attempted only after saving the game. This method has the short coming of taking everything in the container and, of course, it does not apply to followers.
- Until this bug is addressed, it is best to store only soul gems that are not self filled. Once these are stored the remaining self filled gems can be used for recharging weapons and mass enchanting.