Painting basics: Gemstones

One of the techniques which can really add to a model is the painting of gemstones. Years ago I was content with painting them the chosen colour and putting a layer of gloss varnish over the top so that they had a shine, but then I found out the way to paint them, which can really bring them to life and add a really nice feature to a miniature.

The method below is the way I paint pretty much all gemstones in the same way (the rhombic ones on Space Wolves will be covered in the second part of the ‘Painting Space Wolves’ post, and linked here when completed), and no matter the colour, it’s the same approach. Below I’m using Vallejo White, Vallejo Red and Citadel Druchii Violet wash and a Citadel Gloss Varnish.

The method below is only five stages, and I’ve done it step by step so you can see how it works.

Step 1: Paint the gemstone red.


Step two: Add a little white to the red, and add a crescent of the lighter shade to the bottom left side of the gemstone.


Step three: Add a little more white, and add a smaller crescent of the new lighter shade inside the first crescent.Painting-gemstones-step-3

Step four: Add more white to the mix and do a final tiny crescent inside the Step three crescent.


Step five (and six): Add a spot of purple shade/wash to the top right of the gemstone to add depth to the gem. Once dry, add a spot or two of pure white to the top right of the gemstone, and a spot on the centre point of the lightest crescent. Once these are done, add a coat of gloss varnish.


I’ve added the below to show how I’d paint up the heart shaped gem which is the same type that was featured in the first

The below picture is every step with the exception of step four, which is on the reverse of the completed gemstone (I didn’t have enough swords…), but you can see the steady progression from the initial plain red layer, and the finished, glossed product.


I hope you’ve found this useful, and if you have any thoughts on it or do your gemstones in a different way, please comment below.

Thanks for reading.