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How to Find and Use Soul Gems in Skyrim

How to Find and Use Soul Gems in Skyrim

In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can enchant your gear and weapons to obtain interesting effects and boosts for your character. To use your Enchanting skills at an Arcane Enchanter, you need the item you’d like to enchant, a learned enchantment, and a filled soul gem.

While going around exploring and looting, you will find a miscellaneous item called Soul Gems. What are these mysterious gems and how can you use them in Skyrim?

You’ll find Soul Gems as enemy drops, inside containers, and sold by merchants. You need a Soul Gem to capture a soul and use the gem’s power for enchantments. This can be done by killing the target after using the Soul Trap spell or using a weapon enchanted with Soul Trap.

All Soul Gems Available in Skyrim

Where Do I Get Soul Gems in Skyim?

You can find Soul Gems in Skyrim by looting enemies or containers, with a better chance of finding these items in magically-attuned NPCs like magicians. You can also buy soul gems from merchants, who will sell up to a Greater Soul Gem. 

Inside Blackreach there are 23 geode veins that will always yield empty soul gems, depending on your character’s levels. Each will give you 2 or 3 random soul gems.

Note that, with this method, you will only unlock the chance of obtaining a grand or black soul gem at level 16, maxing out your probabilities at levels 30 and 31 respectively.

How to Fill Soul Gems in Skyrim?

If you want to fill a soul gem in Skyrim, you must have empty soul gems in their inventory. You can either cast Soul Trap on the enemy and kill it before the effect runs out or use a weapon enchanted with Soul Trap. 

As a rule of thumb, smaller creatures have smaller souls, while humanoid NPCs can only fit within a greater or black soul gem.

A soul will always try to fill the smallest empty soul gem available in your inventory, otherwise, it will go towards a higher level soul stone to fill.

If you don’t have any adequate soul gem, you will get a message at the top of the screen telling you that you don’t have a large enough soul gem to capture the soul.

Types of Soul Gems in Skyrim

How to Fill Black Soul Gems

Any player can fill a black soul gem by killing humanoid NPCs with an enchanted weapon, or after casting Soul Trap to the target. You can also fill a black soul gem by interacting with a Soul Fissure found in the Soul Cairn. According to The Elder Scrolls lore, once you use a black soul gem this trapped soul will go to Soul Cain.

The list includes:

  • Any NPC from any of the ten playable characters
  • Ash Spawn Immolator
  • Corrupted Shade
  • Daedra
  • Dragon Priest
  • Draugr Death Overlord
  • Draugr Deathlord
  • Dremora
  • Falmer Warmonger
  • Forsworn Briarhearts
  • Guardian Saerek
  • Guardian Torsten
  • Mammoth
  • Riekling Charger
  • Vampires

How to Find Black Soul Gems

You can purchase a black soul gem from specific vendors, use the Lighting Attractor to craft it or find it as part of a hostile mob or container loot. 

Method 1: Vendors

You can speak to Enthir in the College of Winterhold’s living quarters who sells black soul gems. 

Another option is talking to Farion in Morthal, who always sells one black soul gem.

Note that regular merchants don’t sell black soul gems.

Method 2: Lighting Attractor

In the Dawnguard DLC, you can transform grand or greater soul gems into black soul gems when you use the Lightning Attractor. However, be warned that several creatures, like wrathmen and bonemen, will rise and get hostile.

There are four locations within the Soul Cairn where you can use a Lighting attractor:

  • Near the Reaper’s Lair in the southeast corner of the map
  • Near the portal where you first enter the Soul Cairn in the southwest corner
  • One near Jiub’s camp in the northwest corner
  • One near the Third Keeper in the northwest corner
Lighting Attractor in Soul Cairn

Method 3: Loot drop

There’s a guaranteed chance of finding black soul gems in

  • Ilinalta’s Deep
  • Broken Fang Cave
  • Ironbind Barrow
  • Castle Vlkihar
  • Apocrypha

After level 30, there’s a small chance of finding black soul gems when looting the corpse of high-levelled magicians.

What Is the Most Powerful Soul Gem in Skyrim?

The Black Star is the most powerful soul gem in Skyrim since it works like a Black Soul Gem but won’t ever break when used. You can unlock the Black Star by completing the quest with the same name.

The Black Star quest will have you find the Broken Star in Ilinalta’s Deep and purge Malyn Varen’s soul from it. You’ll have to give it to Nelacar to receive the Black Star.

Black Soul Gems can hold the souls of creatures and humanoid NPCs. In contrast, compared to a Grand Soul Gem that can only hold creature souls, the black soul gem is the better option available all around Skyrim.

Alternatives to the Grand or Black Soul Gem in Skyrim

Soul GemFound inDescription
Azura’s StarThe Black Star questOne of the options available as loot in The Black Star quest. It will allow you to trap souls equivalent to a Grand Soul Gem. You won’t be able to trap humanoid NPC’s souls with it. It will not break when used.
Flawed Varla StoneSkyrim’s Saints & Seducers CreationIt will allow you to capture the same creatures as a Common Soul Gem. It will not break when used.
Soul TomatoSkyrim’s Saints & Seducers CreationIt will capture the same creatures as a Grand Soul Gem. Equivalent to a Grand Soul Gem. Two respawning Soul Tomatoes can be found in Kinthal‘s Camp.
The Black StarThe Black Star questOne of the options available as loot in The Black Star quest. It will allow you to trap souls equivalent to a Black Soul Gem. It will not break when used.

How to Obtain the Soul Trap Spell Tome

The Soul Trap spell is an Apprentice level Conjuration spell. When sued, if the target dies within 60 seconds, you will fill a soul gem.

Method 1: Purchasing the Tome

You can purchase a Soul Trap spell tome from the following vendors:

Vendor nameLocation
All court wizardJarl’s headquarts in each hold
Dravynea the StoneweaverKynesgrove
Morven StroudSoul Cairn.
NelacarThe Frozen Hearth Inn in Winterhold.
Phinis GestorCollege of Winterhold
Talvas FathryonTel Mithryn and only available in the Dragonborn DLC

Method 2: Atronach Forge

You can also craft a Soul Trap spell tome with the Atronach Forge. 

The Atronach Forge is located underneath the College of Winterhold and by placing a Salt Pile, Ruined Book, Soul Gem and Torchbug Thorax inside the device you can create a Soul Trap spell tome.

Method 3: Container or NPC Loot

There’s a chance of finding the Soul Trap spell tome inside boss chests or as loot in magician’s bodies.

Types of Souls Available in Skyrim

Soul GemSouls Available 
Petty Soul GemAnimals: Chicken, Cow, Goat, Deer, Elk, Horker, Fox, Rabbit, Wolf, Dog, Slaughterfish, Mudcrab, Skeever
Lesser Soul GemAnimals: Alpha Wolf, Bear, Sabre Cat, Snowy Sabre Cat, Ice Wolf, Horse
Draugr: Restless, Overlord, Wight
Falmer: regular, Falmer Skulker
Ash Hopper
Frostbite Spiders: Giant, Wounded 
Flame Atronach
Ice Wraith
Spectral Warhound
Venomfang Skeever
Common Soul GemAsh Spawn
Bear: Cave Bear, Snow Bear
Chaurus Reaper
Draugr: Scourge, Scourge Lord, Hulking Draugr
Falmer: Gloomlurker, Nightprowler, Shadowmaster
Frost Atronach
Frost Troll
Spriggan Matron
Greater Soul GemSpriggan: Earth Mother, Burnt Spriggan
Chaurus Hunter
Draugr: Death Overlord, Deathlord
Storm Atronach
Grand Soul GemAsh Spawn Immolator
Corrupted Shade
Dragon Priest
Draugr: Death Overlord, Deathlord
Falmer Warmonger
Guardian: Saerek, Torsten
Riekling Charger

How Can I Use Soul Gems in Skyrim?

You can use a filled Soul Gem to enchant or recharge a weapon.

Use an Arcane Enchanter, and you can select the weapon you’d like to enchant, any learned enchantment to apply, and use a soul gem from your inventory.

If you want to use a Soul Gem to recharge an enchanted weapon, you can do so by going to your inventory, selecting the weapon and using the option to recharge. You will get more recharge power from larger Soul Gems.

Note that you may find another miscellaneous item called Soul Gem Fragments. They cannot be transformed into an actual soul gem or used for any other purpose!

Soul Getting Captured by Soul Trap

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