Finding the Stones of Barenziah is perhaps one of the most notorious quests in all of Skyrim, as players are required to scour the whole of the game’s expansive map looking for the pieces of Barenziah’s Crown. Many players may not even bother putting forth the effort, as it’s notably difficult to locate the easily missable, unmarked items required. As a result, few ever receive the reward the quest offers. However, is the Stones of Barenziah reward even worth it in the first place?
The quest “No Stone Unturned” begins when players discover their first Stone of Barenziah, a collection of 24 unusual gems scattered across the entire map. Upon bringing it to an appraiser – something that requires that the Dragonborn become a member of Skyrim‘s Thieves Guild and talk to Vex – it kicks off the objective of finding every last one of the unmarked gems. Once all of them have been recovered, players then have to retrieve the Crown of Barenziah, which can be recovered from Tolvald’s Cave.
The reward for collecting all the Stones of Barenizah is a unique ability, Prowler’s Profit, which significantly increases the chance of finding multiple gems in places like chests or looted enemies. The completed Crown of Barenziah is also displayed alongside other recovered items in the Thieves Guild headquarters. Other than that, though, there isn’t much incentive to locating all of the Stones of Barenziah, especially given how difficult it is compared to most other and better side quests in Skyrim.
Prowler’s Profit might seem like a worthwhile ability for players who are just starting out, but even then, its usefulness is questionable at best. Many Skyrim players aren’t necessarily worried about profits, especially those who have joined the Thieves Guild, a necessary requirement for appraising the Stones of Barenziah in the first place. Stolen items are objectively easier to find and turn over for a profit than legitimately obtained loot. On top of that, given how much Skyrim‘s map needs to be explored to find the Stones of Barenziah, most players will be well beyond the point of lacking in gold. The reward is only really worthwhile for those who are looking to fully complete Skyrim‘s Thieves Guild collection. So, the answer to “Is the Stones of Barenziah reward worth it?” would be “no.”
Perhaps that’s why it’s so common for Skyrim players to simply mod their way around the difficulty. The Stones of Barenziah Quest Markers mod on the game’s Nexus page has over 1.5 million downloads for Skyrim Special Edition alone, and multiple guides and checklists can be found in Skyrim‘s online community to help find the unmarked Stones of Barenziah for players who don’t want to mod their game. Overall, the Stones of Barenziah seems like a good idea in practice. A scavenger hunt across Skyrim is a great way to make players explore locations they otherwise might not consider venturing into, and it gives even high-leveled characters something to strive for. In practice, though, the effort it takes just isn’t worth the paltry reward.