Gems, Treasure, and Jewelry.


In recent sessions, the characters have made off with some fashionable jewelry as well as some jewelled necklaces stolen from the Merchant Prince's tower. In addition, they've been paid a 50% share in a literal king's ransom of a chest of "Blood Rubies", almost the entire treasury of the Kingdom of Kusan. (remember Scorpion King?).

It sounded good in the game, but when it came time to trade the necklaces, I had no idea what their worth should be. Nor did I have any idea what the chest of "Blood Rubies" would be able to purchase.

How much do you figure a hand-ful of jewelled necklaces, some gold arm-bands, and a half-a-chest of blood rubies should be worth?

I know I can just make up a number. And the DM's Guide has some useful guidelines for determining GP value of jewelry. But I'm having trouble figuring out what's too much, what's too little, and what meets the players' expectations.

What do you think? Assign SP values for the following:

Jewelled necklace?
gold arm-band?
single blood-ruby?
how many blood-rubies in a medium chest?
For simplicity's sake I use standard D&D values for gems and jewelry, but translate them as silver rather than gold. Thus, a standard amethyst is worth 100 sp, a black pearl worth 500 sp, and a blue diamond worth 5,000 sp.

Naturally, the standard D&D list does not, for whatever reason, list a standard ruby, only a star ruby (which has no meaning in 3.5, unlike earlier editions). As the star ruby and star sapphire, along with other rich corundums were placed at the base 1,000 gp level, I put base rubies and sapphires at the 500 gp base, which would place them at the base 500 sp level for Conan.

Blood rubies are actually a specific type of ruby...


"The most preferred color is a deep blood red with a slightly bluish hue. Such ruby is known as "Burmese Ruby" or "Pigeon's Blood Ruby". Ruby from Burma is famous for its exceptional coloring. However, Burmese ruby rarely exceeds several carats; large flawless Burmese rubies can be worth millions of dollars. Most rubies on the market are from Thailand, and these rubies have a brownish hue. They can be heat-treatmed to improve color. "

So you are looking at a medium-sized chest filled with a *lot* of small, extremely valuable rubies. I'd call them all between standard and star ruby value, say around base 750 sp per carat.

These are the sizes I use for chests, from the following site:

Large 2 gp 400 lb. 25 cu. ft. 250 lb.
Medium 2 gp 100 lb. 8 cu. ft. 80 lb.
Small § 2 gp 25 lb. 2 cu. ft. 20 lb.

The medium chest is supposed to be 1 ft x 2 ft x 4 ft, but I'd figure a gem chest would be 2 x 2 x 2, still holding eight cubic feet and 80 pounds.

Unfortunately, gemstone weight does not equal a standard gemstone size. Fortunately, 1 carat rubies in a round cut are generally 5 mm round and 3 mm deep; let's call it 5mm round entirely to keep it simple, with about eight carats per cubic centimeter. 1 cubit inch equals about 15.5 cubic centimeters, giving us room for 124 carats per cubic inch. There are 13,824 cubic inches in eight cubic feet, for a total maximum of 1,714,176 total carats in a full medium chest. At 750 sp per carat, the chest should hold about 1,285,632,000 sp value in rubies. However, as that would weigh 150,000 pounds (200mg per carat), that isn't going to work.

So let's look at this from the perspective of the weight a chest can carry. 80 pounds equals 36,287,392 mg. At 200 mg/carat, that's a maximum of 181,437 carats weight, or a total value of about 136,077,750 sp of blood rubies. Average each blood ruby at about three carats ("several"), or about 2,250 sp each, for about 60,000 rubies in the chest. That would place three blood rubies at the value of a suit of plate armor, the whole chest able to equip an army 10,000 strong, or build 10 king's castles (@120,000 sp each). That actually sounds more reasonable. But the king of Kusan is pretty damn stupid to keep his entire treasury in blood rubies in a single chest...

Note that a small container 2.5" x 2.5" x3" tightly holds 150 gaming stones; each is about the size of a 3-carat ruby. That's 18.75 sq inches. 60,000 take up 400 times that, or 7,500 square inches, meraning the 2' x 2' x 2' chest is filled yo about 13 inches deep, or thereabouts.

So the player's get half of that, about 30,000 rubies with a total value of about 68 million silvers. They can now raise a free company about 10,000 strong and arm them very well, or buy several large duchies in any of the Hyborian kingdoms...

Of course, most of their reward might disappate upon being hit by sunlight, or melt into wine, or just end up being glassy beads...

As for the jeweled necklace, I'd go with the D&D value in silvers, about 3,500 sp, and about 1,200 sp for the gold armbands, assuming they are the serpentine style with little or no gem ornamentation.
The 30-million-sp box of blood rubies has already been pledged to a rebel princess, to help fund her efforts to overthrow the bad guy who usurped power from and executed her father. In exchange for helping put her family back in power, the PC's are counting on a powerful and popular ally in Messantia.

I estimated the necklaces at about 2000-sp each, so I wasn't far off. The arm-bands sound like a good amount. I just didn't know what value would be realistic.
The 30-million-sp box of blood rubies has already been pledged to a rebel princess, to help fund her efforts to overthrow the bad guy who usurped power from and executed her father. In exchange for helping put her family back in power, the PC's are counting on a powerful and popular ally in Messantia.

We don't have to let her survive, after all she is "almost a sister to Prospero".

Beowulf Bloodbeard
I'm reposting this as it was posted awhile ago on this forum by someone. I saved it myself to a text file so I can make use of it.

Straight from the old TSR Conan RPG from 1985, here are gem prices, which should make every GM's treasure-adjudicating job easier.

5 cp Agate
1 sp Garnet
1 sp Mother-of-Pearl
2 sp Quartz
3 sp Amber
4 sp Chalcedony
5 sp Coral
5 sp Jet
7 sp Lapis Lazuli
7 sp Malachite
8 sp Onyx
1 gl Turquoise
2 gl Aquamarine
10 gl Pearl
15 gl Opal
30 gl Sapphire
30 gl Topaz
50 gl Amethyst
75 gl Jade
100 gl Ruby
200 gl Emerald
300 gl Diamond

cp = copper pieces; 10 coppers = 1 sp
sp = silver pieces; 10 silvers = 1 gl
gl = golden lunas; each luna is worth 10 sp

Note: The values of different gems and precious
stones may vary depending on the side of the stone,
the quality of the cut, and the clarity of the stone.