, , , ,

Gemstones are a common feature on many miniatures and, if painted well, can really help to make a model stand out. Painting them to the standard that you see in places like White Dwarf can seem daunting but the technique is actually incredibly simple and easy to learn the key being layers of thinned paint. I have found that the average number of stages for a gem stone is 8, but don’t be put off by that, the end result is well worth the effort.

So let’s look at a real gemstone, in this case I’m going to use Jade as an example


You can see on the photo that there is a definite shift from a darker shade of green in the top right to a much lighter shade in the bottom left. There are also very sharp spots of reflected light. The exact position of these spots would change depending on the source and direction of the light and the same is true of the blend direction of the colour. For exmple if the light source in the photo were to be placed on the opposite side of the gem, the dark area would switch sides.

In this article I will show you how to paint a Jade gemstone because Green is the easiest colour to work with when painting gemstone, it just seems to lend itself well to them, possibly because of the sheer range of shades available. However, the techniques are the same for any colours and I will produce a further article in the future that shows you other colour schemes for gemstones.

Before we start, I would also like to apologise for the quality of some of the photographs. I was having difficulty in getting close-ups of such a small part of the model. Hopefully you can still see each stage.

Colour Palette

You will need the following colours from the Citadel Range

  1. Caliban Green (Base)
  2. Biel Tan Green (Shade)
  3. Warpstone Green (Layer)
  4. Moot Green (Layer)
  5. Dorn Yellow (Edge)
  6. Whitescar (Layer)
  7. Waywatcher Green (Glaze)
  8. Ardcoat (technical)

Note if you can’t get hold of Dorn Yellow (it was part of the ‘Eavy Metal Paint Set in 2012 and they only appear to have made 4 of the Edge paints available for purchase), you can mix 1:1 Whitescar/Flash Gitz Yellow. You could also use Hexos Palesun, but as this is a dry compound, you may get some odd results.

Anyone using other paint ranges should use the Colour Conversion Chart link in the menu on the left of the screen.

Step 1

Basecoat the gemstone with Caliban Green

Step 2

Apply a wash of Biel Tan Green to the gemstone

Step 3

Using thinned down Warpstone Green, highlight the lower portion of gemstone, leaving a large area of the darker green showing at the top. You should use downward brush strokes, start near the top and move to the bottom of the stone.

Step 4

Using thinned down Moot Green, apply another highlight to the stone, again leaving part of the previous colour still showing. Remember to use downward brush strokes.

Step 5

Using thinned down Dorn Yellow, add a very small highlight to the very bottom edge of the stone.

Step 6

Add a very small dot of white to the top left of the gem.

Step 7

Apply a Waywatcher Green Glaze

Step 8

Paint the entire stone with Ardcoat to give it a glossy, reflective finish.

Here’s an example of a Jade Green gemstone on a fully painted model.


For more ideas and examples of how to paint gemstones, see part 2 of this tutorial.