Skill and support gems in Path of Exile


In Path of Exile, skill gems act as a crucial part of how your character plays and feels. These can determine your playstyle vastly and provide many powerful abilities for your character. In this guide, we will explore how skill gems work and explain how to use them.

Gems must be equipped into equipment sockets to work. These sockets can have different colors corresponding with the respected color of the gems based on the required base attribute.

Additionally, gems level up while you play. Socketed gems gain 10% of the experience your character earns, calculated before any level penalties.
After a gems XP bar gets filled, you can click on it to level it up. As gems level up, their abilities get better, also their requirements and their mana cost raise. If a gem gains enough experience to level up, but the exile currently does not meet the requirements, the level-up icon will be greyed out, and the gem cannot be further leveled until the requirements are met. 

Most gems have a level cap of 20, but there are some ways to increase their level beyond that. Such as the Paragon's - +1 to socketed gems prefix, corruptions, or certain unique items like the Frostferno. Some support gems can augment gem levels as well. This way you can raise your gems' level quite a lot.

It is also worth to mention some special kinds of gems, one being awakened gems. Simply put, these gems are the overpowered versions of regular support gems. They can only be leveled up to +5, but even on level 1, they are more powerful than the basic version of the given gem at level 20. Since they are this powerful they are dropped by late-game bosses like Sirius,  Al-Hezmin, Veritania, Drox and Baran.

Lastly, there are also alternate quality gems. These are, as the name implies, gems with alternative qualities from normal ones. There are three different types of alternate qualities, which means there are several hundreds of variations. It has to be noted, that these gems can only be acquired from heist, so keep that in mind.

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