Path of Exile Skill Gem Guide

Skills are probably the most important part of MMORPGs and ARPGs. Each game has its own way that players can acquire skills. In some games, you get skills as you level up. Others, you can purchase them. These skills allow the customization and experimentation that usually lead to the various builds we see in MMORPGs. In Path of Exile, you acquire skills through gems. Skill gems can be obtained in multiple ways which include loot dropped from slain enemies, purchased from vendors, and quest rewards. This small Path of Exile skill gem guide will focus on bashow to equip and use them.

Acquiring Skill Gems

  • Loot – Players have a chance to obtain skill gems from slain creatures. The gems are differentiated from other loot by their color. Skill gems will show up in a blue-green color.
  • Vendors – At some vendors, you have the opportunity to purchase skills. Be sure to check all the NPCs at the various towns, as certain ones will have a better selection.
  • Quests – Quests can also give skills for rewards. There is usually a small selection where the player gets to choose the gem that they want.

Path of exile skill gems

Support Gems

Not all gems that drop are the same. There are 2 types, skill and support. There is a very important difference. Skill gems give you skills where support gems enhance the skills. Support gem icons are usually more circular in nature and they will have the word support in the title. These are important as they can can make skills much more powerful.


You will notice armor and weapons have sockets. These sockets will be either red, green, or blue. These will hold your skill or support gems. The color of the sockets correspond to the color of the gems. Placing a skill gem in its corresponding color socket will allow you to use the skill. You cannot use a skill unless it is in a socket and you are currently wearing or using the armor/weapon.

But what about support gems? They fit in the same sockets. You will notice there are links between various sockets. A skill gem will need to be linked to a support gem before the support gem effect will work.


  • Chest armor and two-handed weapons can have up to 6 sockets
  • One-handed weapons can have up to 3 sockets
  • Head, hand, and foot armor can have up to 4 sockets
  • Rings can have up to 1 socket
  • Neck pieces, belts, and quivers do not have sockets

path of exile skill gems

Leveling Up

path of exile skill gem guideSkill gems will level up as you gain experience. They will get a slight boost to their stats with each level. When a gem is approaching the next level, you will get an indicator on the right side of the screen. When it is ready to level up, the indicator will have a plus symbol appear. Pressing this will then move the gem to the next level. The skill gems will not level unless they are on a piece of armor or weapon that you currently have equipped, so keep that in mind.

Using Skill Gems

Once you have the gems equipped, you can use them. In the bottom right corner of the UI, you will find the skill presets. You will see these correspond to the QWERT keys and the left, middle, and right mouse buttons. As you equip skills, they will automatically be placed in this area. Pressing the corresponding keys or buttons will activate the skill.

What if you have more skills than buttons or want to use a different skill? Placing the mouse cursor over the skill or button you would like to change and pressing the left mouse button will bring up all your skills. You can then choose the one you want and map it to that button.

poe skill gem guide
Path of Exile Skill Bar


Here are some useful tips that might help you out:

  • Gems will level up even when you are not using them. If you think you might use one in the future, keep it in a socket and it will continue to gain levels.
  • Don’t like the number of sockets, use a jeweler’s orb to change them. Need a different link setup? Using an orb of fusing will change the links. Colors don’t suit you? A chromatic orb will change them. Be aware! This is totally random and you can use a healthy amount of orbs trying to get the setup you want.
  • Support Gems can stack on top of each other! As long as you have links between all the gems, you can use many support gems to keep enhancing a skill.
  • While you can use many support gems, each must be different. Using two of the same kind will not added 2x the effect.
  • Each skill in the toolbar will have every support link indicated by a letter. This is an easy way to identify if your links are set up like you want. The abbreviation meanings can be found here.

Good Luck

I hope this small path of exile skill gem guide helps someone. I am having a good time playing this game and quite impressed. It can be downloaded and played for free from this link or you can read my initial review here.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *