I’ve been making money hand over fist selling WotLK uncommon and rare gems since the middle of WotLK. It was a massive cash-cow and once I got a little bit of gold saved up from farming ore, prospecting, and selling cut gems I switched to buying ore and speeding up the process by a metric ton. Although I also eventually had herbalism, alchemy, tailoring, blacksmithing, inscription, and enchanting, nothing ever came close to the sustained profits from selling those WolTK gems for me – and still hasn’t.
Selling Wrath Gems in Cataclysm?
That’s right. Even now I roll in gold generated from selling cut WotLK gems. Bold/brilliant/delicate bloodstones sell for nearly as much as most uncommon cata cuts but they only cost 15s for 24 list as opposed to a couple of gold for a cata gem. Plus, most of the time I can still buy the uncut bloodstone for 2g or less. A similar feat is achieved with the other big hitters of the cut gems. Solid sky sapphires, inscribed monarch topaz, and many others have a 4-6g cost and sell for 25g + when cut. Pretty much anything that sold well when the gems should have been relevant is still selling great. If you were a JCer selling cut gems back in Wrath, you should definitely consider returning to the same gem market now. I honestly haven’t had much luck selling many Cata gems for enough to be worthwhile outside of certain orange and red cuts. Even the cataclysm stam rare gems often sell for less than I sell Wrath stam gems.
How to Succeed Selling Wrath Gems
First, make sure you have the cuts that people actually use. Pure str, int, agi, and stam are almost always great sellers. Those combinations with hit/exp, occasionally crit and int/spirit gems can be valuable gem cuts as well. Next, go check the AH and see if someone is already selling a bunch of these. There isn’t a lot of room for competition in this market. Focus on gems that you don’t see a massive saturation of already. Example, if there’s always 30 bold bloodstones on the market for a relatively low price then its not really a worthwhile time/gem investment to focus on that cut. Finally, find your source for gems. If you’re cash poor and time rich, farming ore can be a viable option to start. Head out to northrend and make some low-gold-investment income. On the other hand, if you have some gold to invest and less time, you’ll make better profits buying your materials off the AH. I personally don’t bother with anything that I can’t sell for double the cost of my mats, most I’ll make sure I make a larger margin than that. Bloodstones I buy for 2-3g and sell for 9-12g; the rare cuts (except red ones) I won’t pay over 10g for the uncut (usually 5g) and then sell for 20+. It is, however, completely safe to buy ALL uncut wrath gems for 4.5 or less. The cut gems vendor for 4.5g and therefore your entire cost can be made back by vendoring cut gems you don’t need. Some servers may have the saronite or cobalt ore cheap enough to make it worthwhile to prospect. Check the cost of the ore vs the amount of gems you get and see which is lower cost.
How to Dominate the Market
One of the biggest keys to turning high profit margins is to own as much of the market share as possible. On my server, I’d estimate that I sell 90% of each of the gem types I’m dealing with. I have at least one of each cut that I sell up at all times, often 2-5 if it is a gem that sells faster. I’ll undercut with a shorter list time to save cost and push competition out. Finally, owning the market share is easier to do if the competition has no raw materials. If you want to focus on red gems and stamina gems, make sure to buy ALL the red/blue gems on the AH that still allows you to keep the margins you’re comfortable with. You can also apply this to buying the raw ore if your competition seems to be using that as a source. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can really do about a player farming/cutting his own gems, but you have the time vs profit advantage there.
Didn’t the Title Mention QQ?
I had a couple of weeks of uninterrupted Wrath gem sales when I noticed the market was still there. Essentially no one else was selling the gems. Finally, others took notice of my efforts (and success, possibly) and start barging in on my market. I’ve done my best to limit their opportunities and keep sales down. As a result, no serious competition has gotten a stable footing there. My big source of frustration is the people who don’t understand undercutting. On a typical day I sell 2-3 dozen red uncommon gems @ 9-12g each (only under 12 if I’m undercutting). This yields between 200-400g profit per day from those gems alone. I sell a slightly larger amount of rare gems most days for a 15-20g profit (24-28g sell price). When someone comes in and undercuts me by a few silver or maybe even as much as 10-20, it’s irritating because I either lose sales or lower margins to keep them. I deal with this and keep on trucking. On the other hand, when someone posts 40 bold bloodstones for 5-6g on a 48 hour listing, it can be pretty aggravating. Why undercut over 50% of the common selling price? Every once in a while, someone will try to compete with me and completely fail, selling the cut gems for a similar cost of my uncuts and I buy them and resell. Even a midrange cut that lowers my margins but just for a few gems is easily fixable. Just as I was writing this someone undercut my brilliant bloodstones I was selling at 12g and posted one for 6g. I bought his and sold 4 more of mine shortly there after. Buying the other guys 40 bold bloodstones through the mobile AH on my phone though is an annoying, time-wasting, costly process I probably won’t participate in. Not only am I losing sales on these, but my opponent is making terrible profit and lowering the overall market value of the gem. This is bad for business across the board for everyone selling the gems. For the love of Gold – don’t undercut by 50-60%. Ugh!