MoP Beta Files: Leveling Zen Jewelcrafting

This weekend I decided to tackle Zen Jewelcrafting, both the recipe list and the leveling guide. More than any other profession, Jewelcrafting has been a case of extremes. It's a combination of insanely easy topped off with probably the hardest and most labor-intensive sprint to the finish. Now that I've scared you to death, let's jump in :)

The first thing you should know is that the JC trainer in Pandaria has more recipes than the trainers in the older cities. This is rather unusual since most of the other profession trainers have basically the same stuff. The Panda trainer has the JC-only gems as well as the high end jewelry recipes. If these items are important to you, make a point to visit Mai the Jewel Shaper in Jade Forest. She's at the Greenstone Village which is directly north of Dawn's Blossom.

The current epic gems are still yellow at 525, as are the PVP jewelry patterns. If you want to use those items for early skill points you certainly can, they will turn green at 530. If you'll need to purchase ghost iron to level up, this may be a good way to save on materials. On the other hand if you plan to collect your own ore then I don't think I'd bother trying to save yourself from a handful of Panda gems.

Once again Desade has been running the leveling process with me and we were both able to get through the portion that uses uncommon gems with a dozen stacks of ore. For my test I prospected 72 uncommon gems and used 69 of them. I also got 14 rare gems from the same ore.

I could give you guys a leveling progression list, but honestly there's no real need for that. All of the recipes you learn at 525, 530, and so on, will take you all the way up to 575. Every one of these recipes stays orange until 575. You can make whatever you want and get skill points for the first 50 points of progression. Making jewelry gets you 3 skill points for 3 uncommon gems. Each gem cut gives 1 skill point. What you choose to make is up to personal preference. If you feel you can sell jewelry more easily than uncommon gems, make that. You get the same skill point to gem ratio either way. It was ridiculously easy to level through this phase.

When you reach 575 most of your new recipes with turn yellow. The only recipes that are still orange are the Research recipes and the second set of jewelry recipes learned at 575. The most efficient use of materials at this point is to continue cutting uncommon gems. I went through 7 gems on the next 5 skill points and another 15 after that (for Desade 9 cuts to get 4 points). The uncommon gem recipes will be gray at 585.

525-575: Uncommon gem cuts | Ornate Band | Shadowfire Necklace
575-585: Uncommon gem cuts (may use 1-2 dozen gems here)
585-588: Research recipe
588-600: Cut rare gem learned from research

Once the bulk of your recipes are gray, that is the time to use the research recipe. It gives you 3 skill points and teaches you a rare gem cut. At this point you have a few options for capping based on your personal goals. The easiest way to reach 600 is to use your daily research CD every day for 5 days, that will get you the 15 remaining skill points. But obviously this will take 5 days. The next option would be to wait until the research CD expires at midnight and learn a second cut, giving you two different recipes to use. You can also farm 3 Spirits of Harmony so you can learn a second recipe off the cooldown. Or you can just use the one recipe you have and make those until you reach the level cap. Leveling up your Alchemist to help with transmuting gems is also an option.

From easiest to hardest: 
1) Use research for 5 days to level up the last 15 skill points
2) Wait for the CD reset at midnight, cut rare gems with 2 recipes.
3) Farm ghost iron ore until you have 9-10 rare gems of the same color
4) Farm motes of harmony until you have 30 to learn a gem cut off CD

Depending on how quickly you want to get this done, you can use as little as 15 stacks of ore, or as much as 50 stacks of ore. It all comes down to whether you go with option #1 (slowest, least ore used) or option #3 (likely fastest and most ore needed).  If you're interested in going for a Realm First (or power leveling for other reasons) I have more details on the effort involved in speed capping below.

Realm First Tips 
Based on some problems I ran into during my own leveling process, I'm going to suggest that you do not choose your research recipe based on personal preference. If you want a Realm First, you're going to have to pick your first research recipe based on how the gems fall. I made the mistake of picking a random research recipe which turned out to be the color I got the lowest number of in my prospecting. Instead you'll want to collect ore and prospect gems until you get at least 9 of the same color (I went for 10 to allow a bit of room for error). I tested this process to see how much ore it would take to hit that number. I also tried to mock up a "worst case" scenario.

First I prospected until I got 10 rares in one color. For me the rubies were dropping with the highest frequency, but it still took 28 stacks of ore to get 10 of them. Towards the end I hit a lucky streak where I actually got 3 rubies in a row. Meanwhile my numbers of the other rare gems were still notably lower. It felt kind of like a weird fluke, so I decided to keep going until I hit 10 gems of a second color. I had to prospect another 19 stacks of ore before I reached 10 same-color gems for a second gem type.

The main purpose of this test was to figure out how long it might have taken without the lucky streak. I think from this we can see that you should be prepared to prospect as much as 50 stacks of ore to get enough rare gems for the push to the end. The variance between colors can be pretty high. From the 48 stacks of ore that I prospected, I had 14 rubies and only 7 amethyst. That's a deal-breaking difference if you picked the wrong color in advance.

My general advice would be to go with researching one gem recipe + prospecting as your game plan. My tests this week indicate that farming SoH could take 2-3 hours for each one. That would translate to about 9 hours of killing mobs to get a second research recipe. On the other hand, if the ore is reasonably available, you should be able to collect 50 stacks of ore in 3-4 hours. So unless the ore spawns are just horrible, I would stick with this plan.


  1. Curse them for shaping the rare gems like the uncommon ones in Cata and WotLK, and shaping the uncommon ones to look more like the Cata and WotLK rare ones. I thought Alchemists needed 6 uncommon gems to make a meta gem, but you need 6 rares!

    For people trying to find Mai the Jade Shaper , wowhead finally has map coordinates, ; but not her recipe list.

    If you're going for 9 rare gems, you may be able to shave 1 off if you have 12 serpents eyes (from about 30 stacks of ore, I think) and get a recipe from Mai that uses 6 serpents eyes and 6 uncommon gems. This might shave minutes off of a close race, if the results of prospecting are going against you.

    1. True, you can certainly use the 575 jewelry recipes if you have the mats for them. It's too bad they only give 1 skill point though or I'd consider them a more viable option. Best case scenario is you might have enough serpent's eyes for 1 or 2 pieces. After my 48 stacks of ore I only had enough serpent's eyes for 3 jewelry recipes. By the time you prospected that much ore you'd most likely have your 9 gems. But in a pinch for 1 or maybe 2 points, it's worth considering.

  2. You mention PvP jewelry. I haven't been able to find this anywhere on wowhead. Only the jewelry with PvE stats with 450 item levels. Do you have a link to these items?

    1. It's the "Vicious" ilvl 377 items (Ruby, Amberjewel, Sapphire). All of those are still orange difficulty on the Beta realm and would be viable options for early skill points if you don't mind wasting the mats.

      Here's one: Vicious Sapphire Ring

    2. Ah, sorry I misread it, I thought you were talking about MoP PvP jewelry gear. Thanks for the reply :)

  3. Hi, I'm going for realm first for my 3rd time. I got 450 and 525 Realm First before, thanks to u :)
    I got three questions:
    1. You say that about 40-50 stacks of ores are needed to get to 600. How long time do you estimate this would take to farm on a low pop server? Will you provide us with an excellent mining-guide this expansion too? :)
    2. How many Serpents Eye do we get approximately by prospecting 40-50 stacks of ores?
    3. Is it possible to get to Mai the Jewel shaper directly when the expansion hits? No level-req? No rep-req? No quest-req? Any chance you can explain how to get to her(or him?!) since I have no access to beta at all? Where to place my toon before expansion hits? Nearest flight path? How to run?

    1. 1 It's really impossible to say all depends on how many people farming where your at.
      2 You get a type of shard you combine 10 to make the Serp eye all in all figure around 15 to 18 Eyes with 50 stacks.
      3 You must be level 85 to get the quest to get to Panda land once your on the air ship your welcome to just jump off and run/ride thru the zone to the trainer.
      3a Basically trainer is in center of the zone just a tiny bit north use the road to get to Dawns Blossom then head out the road north to the village.
      3b Parked in SW/Orig next to the JC trainer.
      3c No flight paths to village.
      3d How to run.... Fast fast fast so as not to get eaten !!!!

    2. Desade has covered most of your questions but I can add a bit on the time issue. I would say 3-4 hours of Mining to collect 40-50 stacks of ore if you don't have much competition. The Mining Guide is already up :)

      I got 21 Serpent's Eye from 48 stacks of ore, but I'm sure there's variance with that. Mai's location is described in the second paragraph of this article, plus Neil has shared a Wowhead link in the first Comment if you want the visual =)

      If you are on a low pop realm you should have no problem. Good Luck!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. 3b) If your first stop is Mai, there's no need to visit the JC trainer in SW/Ogr. Be right outside the main entrance to the building with the throneroom.

      Step inside and it'll show you a cutscene and give you the first quest. There's a turnin or two, before you have to fly to the airship. Completing that quest is another cutscene.

      Jump off and get the ore.

      If you're alliance, you might as well get the flightpath at the first village, and you'll need the flightpath at dawn's blossom or you wont be able to fly back to the Jade forest after getting the ore.

      Run to 48x35. Train with Mai, then prospect.

    5. If you're Alliance and want to get your alts to Halfhill quickly, I may be wrong, but after getting the first flightpath (FP) in the first village (right next to the portal to SW), I reccomend using waterwalking (potion or using an ability), and running south-west to Krasarang Wilds.

      Then you can pick up the flightpath at Zhu's Watch, which connects to Halfhill and the first FP. Then run NW to Halfhill.

      Otherwise you have to get to Dawn's Blossom for a connecting FP, or complete nearly the entire questchain in Jade Forest to get the Serpent's Heart FP.

      This plan might be a mistake if you're gathering for the realm-first, but if you want to get 7 alts to Halfhill to get 49 cooking tokens and plant crops, I think this is the fastest way that still allows you go between Halfhill and SW quickly.

    6. Is it difficult to get from the water to Zhu's Watch? Looking at the maps it seems like there are cliffs all around. If its a simple transition from water to where the town and the FP are I like your plan.

    7. No, the ground leading to the beach area is sloped. By the time you reach the coast you are basically at the same level.

    8. I'm only being this pedantic in the hopes of shaving off a few seconds for the poor people unable to enter the Beta, and who are relying on maps to make their plans. Please forgive the length of this otherwise overly detailed rant.

      If you look at a map of the northeast coast of Krasarang Wilds, you'll see the top half of the eastern landing is a cliff that Zhu's watch is on.

      If you look at the bottom half of the eastern side of the mainland you'll see little hill markers. Except for one point I found (which I wouldn't waste time looking for) this makes getting on the mainland impossible on the eastern side.

      But this impossible ridge only takes up the top fourth of the map. Except for that brief spot, the rest of the region has beach access. So if you go south around that mini-peninsula, to where the shore starts to go west, you can get onto the mainland easily. The primary monsters to look out for are widely spaced snakes that aren't particularly fast. With care you can ride between them, and only get hit a few times. If you aren't dismounted, you'll lose them around Zhu's Watch. I don't know, but an invis potion might drop agro if anything goes wrong. ***

      Once you're on the beach, Zhu's Watch is still at the top of a cliff. But if you look at the map, at the "Wa" in "Zhu's Watch" you'll see just south of it a gradual sloping path from the beach to the clifftop. So when you hit the beach, head NorthWest to reach the base of the slope upwards. Follow the slope to Zhu's watch, staying clear of the patches of infected ground that look black/white as they have hostile monsters wandering around in it.

      At Zhu's Watch, grab the necessary (vital) flightpath.

      Looking at the Krasarang map, you can see another cliff separating Zhu's Watch from the river that divides Krasarang Wilds from the Valley of the 4 Winds. This tiny clifflike obstacle ends where the map ends, and the road north from the Watch bypasses it and heads to a bridge over the river (which isn't necessary but may shave a few seconds off of trying to climb the far bank) so just head north from Zhu's watch to enter Vot4W. The cliffs, road that avoids it, and bridge are clearly visible on the Vot4W map and lets you out near Thunderfoot Fields.

      I hope the previous bit was unambiguous

      *** The monsters are not much harder than Cata monsters, but they have twice as many hp (155k on average); so you needn't worry much. Try killing a few in Twilight Highlands this month to get used to the new talents. If you can fight 2 in TW you can fight 1 in Krasarang. 4 in TW equals 2 in KW, etc. First time I entered the area, I had an irational fear of combat; so long as you're only fighting 1 or 2 monsters you'll be fine. There are non-elite monsters with 300K hp, but not on the eastern edge of the mainland.

  4. A big thanks to all of you for your good responses! Thank you! :D

  5. Following your mining guide I leveled capped mining and JC in about 2.5 hours. I got lucky because it was just before midnight server so I got to do a second research while I was on my second mining trip looking for the extra rare gems I needed.

    1. That's great! I assume you didn't run into any hiccups, so hopefully the guide is still working out :) Thanks for sharing your run time with us, I think that will help folks plan their strategy.

  6. Hi, I see at wowhead that those gem-researchs ( for an example) are green from 550. Are there any chance that we don't get skill up when we are doing a research so we might need 11 raregems (3 for research and 8 for cutting) instead of 9 to skill 585 to 600?

    1. There's always a chance that something will change, no one can predict what tweaks might be made between now and launch. When I tested JC last week, the research recipes and rare gems were still orange up to 600. I think the problem with Wowhead is that they mine the data early and sometimes they don't update everything with each new patch. The difficulty changes seem to be one of the things that doesn't get refreshed.

  7. I got realm first JC & LW with the help of your guides and some well paid gathers :D

    Priapus (Rexxar)

  8. Silly question time.....

    I've looked and seen conflicting answers on this.

    Concerning the JC mounts, are they account bound, including across factions? My Horde side has TONS of gold and a 525 JC. I'd like to make the mounts Horde side and get them for free Alliance side instead of taking a 15% hit moving gold across the neutral AH.

    Can anyone confirm or deny?


  9. I hope this doesn't double post.

    I'm confused a bit about the JC mounts and have seen conflicting info.

    If I make the JC mounts Horde side (where I currently have a 525 JC and TONS of gold), will I get them Alliance side for free? I'd hate to lose 15% of my gold moving it across the neutral AH to my 600 JC to make the mounts. Can anyone confirm or deny?

    As a *semi-related* thing, will the 5.1 rep thing work across factions also?