Since the release of the expansion I've racked up approximately 40K gold in a span of under 2 weeks (I spent the first week levelling to 80, and the gold from questing was trivial).
I am a JC; however instead of selling Dragon's Eyes or crafting epic/rare quailty jewellery I opted to collect as many patterns as possible. Due to the nature of how patterns are acquired these days (at the opportunity cost of epic JC only gems, epic rings/necklace patterns, or simply dragon's eye turn-ins for a neat daily profit), very few JCs had the foresight to learn these patterns. Initially (during week 1 and early week 2) rare gems were simply too expensive, and not many people had obtained gear that's worth gemming so extravagantly, so green gems were selling very hot. If you don't have a lot of gold to start off with the Green market is still pretty attractive (on my server they're selling for 5-15g each). Sooner or later, you'll find that profits from green gems are no longer worth your effort (i.e. when you have a nice selection of rare cuts, and start trading in quantities of thousands of gold on a daily basis). When you reach this point you should stop trading green gems for two reasons: 1) You can use your limited time on more profitable operations. 2) Green gems have a small, albeit direct, impact on the Blue gem market.
For now, I will discuss only the Blue (the goldmine, literally!) gem market. Why is JC such a profitable market?
To answer this question, simply put yourself in the shoes of an average player. You just won a shiny piece of epic gear that is better than anything you've seen in WoW. Or you just received your first piece of T7. They have some empty sockets that's blatantly annoying you, and you want them filled ASAP. You check the AH, and thank God, there's two +19 Spell Damage gems there. 250g each! Expensive? Yes. But putting two of those will enhance my spell damage by 38, which is a MASSIVE boost, and I cannot wait until tomorrow, I want my gear to be up to date, TODAY! And 500g isn't much anyway, I can just do dailies for a few days and ta-da! So, buy out 2 x Runed Scarlet Ruby for an insane price of 500g...
The JC that sold those just made an exponential rate of return. This is how JCs get rich. We feed off people's impatience and eagerness to min-max their gear (and for this, thank 'hardcore' community that put so much pressure on the idea of min-maxing gear with enchants and gems =D). Where does the profit come from?
Profit comes from twofolds. One: prospecting (market value of the gems you get from prospecting minus the amount spent on ores) - this involves luck, very appropriately compared to Gambling. And two: Cutting (market value of cut gem minus market value of uncut gem) - the secret is not to spam trade channel with your cuts hoping for a generous tip, but rather, put the cut gem on AH at a premium price.
If you have a lotta time on your hands, you might even add a third dimension: gather the ores yourself (on an alt or otherwise). But this is labour, and a real entrepreneur never gets his hand dirty on that kind of job =). But, during offpeak hours, the AH is inactive and the ores are abundant, it is probably what you can do to totally maximise your gold-making experience. What kind of patterns should I get first?
This is really a prisoner's dilemma. You can cooperate with fellow JC sharks (in which case both of you will make decent profit), but of course there is an incentive to cheat and make even more profit. If you're in a reasonably sized server you can never achieve the optimal (that is, dib into a particular cut that no one bothers go get for more than a few days). Your best bet is to do some research into the general mechanics of each class, and get an idea of which gems are popular amongst the most number of classes and will lead to a respectable level of demand. I won't make a list of which gems are "best" because that kind of discussion is still in a controversial stage, and subject mainly to popular opinion only and not accepted yet by the wider community. A good way to find out is try and gauge the level of demand for their green version counterparts, as they are a fairly accurate indicator of the demand for blue gems (Sometimes this is not always the case, as it is a general consensus that players who gem their gear in uncommon gems are non-raiders and hence do not represent the customer base for the rare gems, who mostly are the raiding community). What prices do I set, and when should I be trading?
I will assume for now that your supplies of gems are unlimited (i.e. you have enough gold to buy enough ores every day to meet the demands for all the cuts you have. This is a realistic assumption for a majority of power traders).
Like consumables/enchants, the gem market are the most active before and after the peak raiding hours. On most servers, this is 6pm - 2am server time. You want to make sure that you have gems on the market during this time. Put a large quantity of gems on the AH at this time - if you know the demand curve well (trust me, after a couple of weeks of trading, you'll get an idea of how many gems you will generally sell at one particular price), you can put a different price tag on your gem to really maximise your profit. Otherwise, just set your price to the lowest on the market at the time.
During non-peak hours, customers are extremely limited. You want to win over those customers. How do you do that? UNDERCUTTING
. I cannot stress how important this is - during day time and the early wee hours of the morning, check the AH OFTEN (especially your most prominent cuts) and if you see your gems being undercut, do NOT hesistate to cancel your auction and undercut again. Every gem sold during this time is a victory to you. Again, I remind you that my assumption is you have an unlimited supply of gems (as you can always buy more ores to prospect with the gold you make), so every gem sold at above the cost of supplies = profit for you. Are meta cuts worth it?
Yes. This is where you make small number of cuts at big margins. Very easy profit. Make sure you have at least one cut for each of the meta. Personally, I have the Eternal/Austere for Earthsiege, and Ember for Skyflare. But the Eternal/Austere market got stale as people used it to level their JC and flooded the market. Ember sells very well. Uncut Skyflares sell for around 70g on my server during peak hours), and I can generally sell 5-10 Ember Skyflare Diamonds for 130-180g on a given day (granted, I check and undercut AH every couple of hrs of so, in between heroic runs). This is about 500g a day, for doing virtually no work (don't even need to prospect!)Some general tips (taking them for face value at your own risk: these may not be applicable at time of reading!)
- Sarontie ores are generally cheaper in the mornings of your server time. Ore farmers do their job at night during off-peak hours and are very keen to unload their supplies ASAP the next morning).
- Buy out cheap raw gems. This will decrease the likelihood of a customer buying raw gems and finding a cutter, and hence will pay a lot more for your cut gem =).
- Undercut is good, until you start to make a loss. Set a realistic baseline for all your gems, and undercut slowly until you reach that baseline.
- Never advertise your profession in trade. The less others know about your cuts, the more profit you will make. Remember, you will NEVER get rich by sitting in org cutting gems for people for 10, 20, or even 50g a pop. It is simply not worth being a mobile JC service.
Finally, I'd just like to remind people that arena is coming out on the 16th. Start whoring those gems guys