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When you find an
somewhere in Skyrim, you'll receive a miscellaneous objective to have it appraised. Then when you first enter Riften, you'll be stopped by Maul. If you bribe, intimidate or persuade him, then he'll recommend that you show the gem to Vex after joining the Thieves Guild, and this information will trigger the quest.
Note: Depending on the order in which you do things, or perhaps on what you say, the miscellaneous objective might point at Maul, but he won't say anything useful to help you out. For that case you'll only trigger the quest when you eventually join the Thieves Guild and ask Vex about the gem.
When you talk to Vex (in the Ragged Flagon beneath Riften), she'll identify the gem as a
Stone of Barenziah
, and she'll inform you that there used to be 24 of them on Barenziah's crown before a thief stole it and pried them off. When you ask her if she'd like to buy the gem, she'll tell you to come back once you've collected all 24.
Note: At this point, all
will turn into
Stones of Barenziah
Here's where you can find the 24 gems:
- Ansilvund (Burial Chambers) - Found on table next to Arcane Enchanter
- Black-Briar Lodge - Found on end table
- College of Winterhold (Arch-Mage's Quarters) - Found on bookshelf
- Dainty Sload - Found on First Mate's table
- Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary - Found on dresser
- Dead Crone Rock (outside) - Found on Drascua's table at top of tower
- Fellglow Keep (Inside) - Found on shelf
- Hob's Fall Cave - Found on cupboard in sleeping quarters
- Markarth (The Treasury House) - Found on table in Thonar Silver-Blood's room
- Markarth (Understone Keep Dwemer Museum) - Found on table
- Pinewatch (Bandit's Sanctuary) - Found on bookshelf
- Rannveig's Fast - Found on table next to Sild the Warlock's cage
- Reeking Cave - Found next to corpse [only after Patch 1.4]
- Riften (Mistveil Keep Jarl's Chambers) - Found on end table in jarl's room
- Solitude (Blue Palace) - Found on wardrobe in jarl's bedroom
- Solitude (Proudspire Manor) - Found on wardrobe in master bedroom
- Stony Creek Cave - Found on bench near Alchemy Lab
- Sunderstone Gorge - Found on sacrificial altar in front of word wall
- Thalmor Embassy (Elenwen's Solar) - Found on wardrobe [only prior to Patch 1.4]
- Whiterun (Catacombs) - Found on ledge next to skeleton
- Whiterun (Dragonsreach Jarl's Quarters) - Found on end table
- Whiterun (Jorrvaskr Living Quarters) - Found on cupboard
- Windhelm (House of Clan Shatter-Shield) - Found in bookshelf in upstairs bedroom
- Windhelm (Palace of the Kings Upstairs) - Found on table behind skull in Wuunferth the Unliving's room
- Yngvild (Throne Room) - Found on table next to Arondil's Journal, Part 4
After collecting the gems, when you return to Vex, she'll tell you that if you could reunite the gems with the
Crown of Barenziah
, then you'd create a "paragon," which would help the Thieves Guild regain some of its lost power. Luckily, Vex will inform you that she knows where the crown can be found -- inside Tolvald's Cave, which is located to the north of Riften.
Inside Tolvald's Cave / Gap / Crossing, you'll have to battle your way through numerous falmer, frost trolls, frostbite spiders, and more, but eventually you'll come to the crown (#3). Some dunmer ghosts will attack you when you approach the crown, but they shouldn't be nearly as difficult as the falmer in the cave system, and so you shouldn't have any trouble grabbing the crown and making your way back to Vex.
When you return to Vex, she'll reward you with the Prowler's Profit active effect. This effect won't show up under Active Effects, but when you loot a container that can spawn gems (like a burial urn), it will make it more likely for you to find multiple gems instead of just one or none. Vex will also put the
Crown of Barenziah
on display in the Cistern behind the guildmaster's desk.
1 - Secret Door
You'll only be able to open this door by pulling the chain on the northern side -- that is, as you exit from Tolvald's Crossing (Exit C).
2 - Courier Corpse
This is one of the places where you can find the unique dagger
3 - Crown of Barenziah
When you approach the crown, you'll get attacked by some dunmer ghosts.
4 - Book
You'll find several books on the ground here, including
Battle of Red Mountain
, which will increase your Block skill by 1. Along with the treasure chest ($) on the ground by the book, you'll also find one on the ramp above it.
- Passage between Tolvald's Cave and Tolvald's Gap.
- Passage between Tolvald's Gap and Tolvald's Crossing.
- Passage between Tolvald's Crossing and Tolvald's Cave.
- World exit.