Diamonds are Forever: Paladin Gemming

Good afternoon folks…

Big 'ol Gem

Big 'ol Gem

Got a new topic on my mind, this time dealing with Gems. Not just any gems, but gems good for Holy and Retribution paladins. I would go into Protection paladins, but I think that has been covered fairly thoroughly.

A good while back, I had created a sheet with all the different gem types, and their uses. Some of that has changed due to the +healing +spell damage combination, but not that much. So, here’s my little guide to gems and what I’ve chosen for my own gemming needs on both my Holy and Retribution sets.

The Basics

Below I have put together a set of tables including the different colors of gems, as well as the attributes in which they modify. Each gem will match the same color slot, in the cases of gem bonuses; HOWEVER, you can put whatever color gem, in whatever color slot you want, there is no limitations, only the loss of the extra gemming bonus.

So, we first come out with the Blue gems. In the cases of Holy and Retribution Paladins, it is not likely that we will be using straight blue gems, but instead the hybrid green or purple gems instead. However, in case you absolutely must use a blue gem, the ones below have been marked as most beneficial for which spec.

Lustrous MP5
Solid Stamina
  Sparkling Spirit
  Stormy Spell Penetration

Until Cataclysm is released, MP5 is still somewhat useful for the Holy Paladin. I do realize that it is very devalued now-a-days with the advent of Divine Plea and massive Intellect gemming; however, I do feel a bit more secure when I have a set amount of MP5 coming in, while casting, and with no +healing reduction. Now, when Cataclysm is released, it is very likely that Lustrous gems will be replaced by Sparkling gems for Holy Paladins, as Spirit will be the new mana regen stat.

Next is the Solid type of gem. These gems provide straight +Stamina. It is more of a situational use, I really doubt that a Holy or Retribution Paladin would consciously pick up Solid gems for gear, but there are those types of people out there… Plus there are those beginners who have just not yet picked up the knowledge needed.


Ah, the Red gems. There are several uses for straight red gems, as they provide several of the bonuses that Holy and Ret paladins gear for specifically. These attributes being Spellpower and Strength.

Bold Strength
Delicate Agility
Runed Spellpower
  Subtle Dodge
Precise Expertise Rating
  Bright Attack Power
  Fractured Armor Penetration
  Flashing Parry Rating

First up is the Bold type gems. These provide straight +Strength to your gear choices. Ret paladins get 2.2 Attack power per 1 point of Strength, so it is very beneficial to fill Red sockets with Bold gems, especially if you are already +hit capped.

Next is Delicate type gems. I included this for the Ret paladin, because of their up close nature of being a Melee spec. For Retribution Paladins, Agility provides +dodge, +crit, and +armor, so if a filler is needed, you could use this; however I would rather recommend Bold gems instead of Delicate.

Ah, the Runed gems. This was mentioned back in my Paladin Raid Healer post, that to gear for heavy hitting Flash of Lights and Holy Shocks, you are going to need a good bit of Spellpower. I myself have gemmed with a good bit of straight Runed gems, adding that little bit of UMPH to my healing spells. However, it is often more beneficial to use maybe a Luminous gem to provide both SP and Intellect.

Lastly, I marked Precise type gems for Retribution Paladins. These gems provide straight Expertise Rating, which prevents parried attacks when the soft cap of 26 expertise is reached, as well as dodges. Now, when doing dungeon content, and raid content, you should preferably be staring at the mob’s ass, therefore reducing the chance of parries to 0, but there are likely cases, where you can’t help but be in front of the target. With the increased expertise, then you would not mistakenly cause a tank insta-gib by having a parry-hasted attack smack the tank. Also reaching the soft cap will allow far fewer dodges from the target, which means more hits, and more DPS. Again though, if given the option, I would still recommend Bold gems in Red slots.


Yellow gems provide a lot of the utility stats for any kind of paladin. The most important including Intellect, Crit, and Haste for Holy specs, and +Hit, Crit and Haste for Ret specs.

Brilliant Intellect
Rigid Hit Rating
Smooth Critical Strike
  Thick Defense
Quick Haste Rating
  Mystic Resilience

Yellow gems have become all the rage for today’s Holy Paladin. The reason for this, is because of the straight Intellect “Brilliant” gems. I do know of some paladins who have basically gemmed nothing but Brilliant type gems. Intellect does provide benefits in the form of increased mana pool (in turn providing more mana regen from Divine Plea), and a bit of increased crit chance.

Next is the Rigid type gems. These gems provide pure +Hit Rating, allowing you to fine tune your gear to reach the 263 Hit Rating cap that is required of Ret Paladins. A good choice to use if you are still low in Hit Rating, and need to reach the cap quickly. No matter the Attack Power Loss you may get from using a hybrid gem, it is always more important to reach the Hit cap before gemming for straight strength/crit, etc.

Smooth type gems provide pure Critical Strike Rating. Critical Strikes are important for both Holy and Retribution. With Holy, Crits on Holy Shocks activate Infusion of Light, providing an increase in Crit chance for Holy Lights, or instant Flash of Lights. Also Crits are the bread and butter of Holy Light spamming Paladins providing huge healing numbers. Lastly, Crits also provide Illumination procs, giving mana back. For Retribution, it’s obvious, the higher the crit chance, the more chances to make big yellow numbers appear. In addition, Art of War applies to melee critical hits, making your next Flash of Light or Exorcism instant.

Lastly, Haste has become very popular for Holy Light builds, allowing Paladin healers to get those massive heals out faster. Quick type gems can provide this stat. In addition, it will also increase melee haste slightly, allowing for quicker swings for Retribution Paladins, though as always, slower swings mean harder hits, so it may not be best to gem for Haste directly as Ret.


Green will be the first of the hybrid gems that we’ll talk about. Green gems provide both Yellow and Blue socket bonuses, and also work for both colors in respect to color requirements for Meta gems.

Dazzling Intellect/MP5
  Enduring Stamina/Defense
Jagged Stamina/Critical Strike
  Radiant Spell Penetration/Critical Strike
Forceful Haste Rating/Stamina
  Enduring Defense Rating/Stamina
Timeless Intellect/Stamina
Vivid Hit Rating/Stamina
  Steady Resilience/Stamina
  Tense Hit Rating/Spell Penetration
  Shattered Haste Rating/Spell Penetration
  Opaque Resilience/MP5
Sundered Critical Strike Rating/MP5
  Lambent Hit Rating/MP5
Energized Haste Rating/MP5
  Intricate Haste Rating/Spirit
  Seer’s Intellect/Spirit
  Shining Hit Rating/Spirit
  Misty Critical Strike Rating/Spirit
  Turbid Resilience/Spirit

 We’ll start with Green gems best fitted for Holy specs.  First up being Dazzling type gems. These gems provide both Intellect and MP5. A good combination for those worried about mana regen, though not the best choice out of the bunch. Next we have Forceful type gems, providing Haste Rating and Stamina. I personally feel that this would be a good PvP Holy paladin gem, allowing for faster heals, and a bit more survivability; it could, however, still be used in a PvE environment where damage is high. Again, dealing with survival, and in this case mana regen/mana pool, we have Timeless type gems. They provide Intellect and Stamina, allowing for more mana to work with, and a bit of survivability in high damage situations. For those who like big heals, but are still worried about direct mana regen, we have the Sundered type of gem, providing both Crit rating and MP5. I’m assuming this will be changed to Misty type gems in Cataclysm, again, with Spirit becoming a mana regen stat for all healers. Lastly, there is the Energized type gems providing Haste rating and MP5. This type of gem provides those quicker heals, with some direct mana regen on the side.

As for Retribution Paladins, the best candidates are Jagged type gems, providing Crit Rating and Stamina, Forceful, and Vivid gems, providing Hit Rating and Stamina. Jagged gems are great for PvP situations where you want to kill your target as fast as possible, and still be able to withstand their retaliation. I’m a bit wishy-washy on Forceful gems as the value of Haste is still kind of low for Ret paladins, and the addition of Stamin isn’t that great of a help. Lastly are the Vivid types of gems, a great alternative to the Rigid gems if  you are close to the Hit cap. Vivid gems, however, are useless in PvP settings, as it is much easier to reach a soft hit cap for player characters.


Orange gems are great combo gems for base stats and utility stats. Orange gems provide both Yellow and Red socket bonuses, and also work for both colors in respect to color requirements for Meta gems.

  Glinting Agility/Hit Rating
Inscribed Strength/Critical Strike
Luminous Intellect/Spellpower
Potent Critical Strike/Spellpower
  Durable Spellpower/Resilience Rating
  Veiled Spellpower/Hit Rating
  Reckless Spellpower/Haste Rating
Etched Strength/Hit Rating
Fierce Strength/Haste Rating
  Resplendant Strength/Resilience Rating
  Champion’s Strength/Defense Rating
Accurate Expertise Rating/Hit Rating
  Stark Attack Power/Haste Rating
  Pristine Attack Power/Hit Rating
  Wicked Attack Power/Critical Strike
  Empowered Attack Power/Resilience Rating
  Deft Agility/Haste Rating
  Glinting Agility/Hit Rating
  Deadly Agility/Critical Strike Rating
  Lucent Agility/Resilience
  Stalwart Dodge/Defense Rating
  Glimmering Parry/Defense Rating
  Resolute Expertise/Defense Rating

A great example of the powerful combinations are the Inscribed gems. For Ret paladins, they provide both Strength and Crit rating. Both stats are excellent choices to begin gemming for when the Hit cap is met. Along the same lines, Holy paladins have a great choice in Potent gem types, providing both Spellpower and Crit rating. For Holy paladins attempting to get the really big heals out, and keep the mana pool high, the Luminous gems provide both Spellpower and Intellect, a great choice for both Flash of Light and Holy Light builds.

Next up is the Etched and Fierce gems. Both of these provide some good stat boosts from a single gem. I have used several Etched type gems lately, trying to reach the hit cap on my Ret set. With Etched providing that extra bonus of some Strength, it allows for me to more freely gem around the gear I currently have. Fierce gems provide Strength, for those harder hits, and Haste. Again, I’m still a bit wishy-washy on the use of Haste on a retribution build.

Lastly, we have the Accurate gem types. They provide both Expertise Rating AND Hit Rating. This is great for those trying to reach both of those caps, and don’t have to gear to meet those needs.


Lastly we’ll talk about the Purple gems. Purple gems provide both Blue and Red socket bonuses, and also work for both colors in respect to color requirements for Meta gems.

Glowing Stamina/Spellpower
Royal MP5/Spellpower
  Shifting Agility/Stamina
Sovereign Strength/Stamina
  Defender’s Parry/Stamina
  Balanced Attack Power/Stamina
  Puissant Armor Penetration/Stamina
Guardian’s Expertise/Stamina
  Regal Dodge Rating/Stamina
  Tenuous Agility/MP5
  Infused Attack Power/MP5
  Mysterious Spellpower/Spell Penetration
  Purified Spellpower/Spirit

When I first began doing raids, and the more difficult dungeons as holy, it was back in Burning Crusade (never was able to level quick enough during Vanilla WoW to raid then). During the Burning Crusade, there was no such thing as Divine Plea, and to regen mana, Paladins were required to have MP5 on their gear. Well, at least that is how I felt, because I was paranoid like that. Because of this, I very often used Royal type gems, as they provided both the SP that  I often lacked from better geared healers, and MP5, to keep up the healing. Another gem that I would use, mostly in PvP situations, but sometimes when preparing for Gruul or Magtheridon fights, was the Glowing type gem. It provided SP for the healing umph, as well as Stamina so that I could stay alive long enough to keep healing.

For my Retribution if I needed to fill a blue slot, and had already met the hit cap, I would use the Sovereign gem, to provide both Strength and Stamina. It never hurts to have a little extra stamina lying around. Lastly, ther eis the Guardian’s type gem. It provides another source of Expertise, in the case that  you need to still need to meet the soft cap, and have to fill a blue slot.

I purposely left out +Attack Power gems, as I do not feel that they provide the same benefit that a straight Strength gem would. I guess if you didn’t have much gold on hand, you could grab one, but it is really based on your own feelings.

Well, there you have it, gems of all colors, and set out for your Holy and Retribution needs. I’m sure that I have left out some choices, as well as made some likely less desirable choices, but dis be my blog foo!

My next part to this little gemming guide will be looking at the different meta gems, and how they can be affected by your other gem choices.

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