|Merging and redirecting this article into Fomalhaut may be desirable. (Discuss)|
|Merging and redirecting this article into List of Systems and Planets may be desirable. (Discuss)|
Gem is one of the Federation's primary mining planets. Substantial reserves of valuable minerals and precious stones make Gem's mines all the more valuable. The planet is a rocky and forboding world but nonetheless does not suffer for a lack of labor, as many young workers from neighboring Snowmelt eagerly toil in the mines in an effort to make credits to escape the doldrums of that highly populated and frigid planet. Politicians have taken note of this trend and have initiated the "Gem is truly outrageous" campaign, in an effort to stop young people from leaving the Fomalhaut system.
Trade Center Edit
The Gem trade center is primarily a source for the raw materials mined on the planet, but also trades in other goods:
|Low cost||Medium cost||High cost|
| Metal (160 cr)|
Opals (960 cr)
|Industrial (350 cr)|| Food (93 cr)|
Equipment (687 cr)
|10.0||New England (Wolf 359)||3||Metal||40|
As indicated on the Serenity page, a very lucrative trade route exists between Gem and Serenity. Buy opals here (or mine them from the opal asteroids in this system) and sell them at Serenity. Then buy equipment at Serenity and sell it here. This gives both directions in the trade route a profit.
Mining Opals vs. Trading in Them Edit
Mining opals in Fomalhaut is a lucrative practice, but is time-consuming, as there are few asteroids (maximum of three on-screen at a time) in the system. Asteroids of all four sizes (small, medium, large, and huge) are seen here, but opals are the only huge asteroids, and only huge asteroids come on-screen with opals. Smaller asteroids float in with rock, ice, and metal and can be any of the three smaller sizes, but are never huge in this system. If you see an asteroid float onto the screen and it is not huge, do not waste your time with it. Metal asteroids look a little like opals and will clutter your hold (but metal can be sold for a low price at Gem to clear it out of your cargo).
When you break up a huge opal asteroid, you will get a minimum of 8 tons of opals, and as many as 19. There is a chance that the asteroid will then spawn 0-3 large opal asteroids, each of which can yield 1 to 8 more tons of opals. When you break up these, there is then a chance that they each will spawn 0-2 medium opal asteroids, which will each yield 1-5 opals. There are no small opal asteroids.
In every case, breaking up an opal asteroid yields opals, and might also spawn no smaller asteroids, only rock asteroids, or both smaller opal asteroids *and* rock asteroids. It is also common for a huge asteroid to break directly to medium opal asteroids, skipping the large step entirely.
Do not sacrifice the good for the better. An opal in the hold is worth two flying off-screen. When an opal asteroid breaks into 3 smaller ones and they go flying in different directions, follow the two closest, and try to push one toward the other with your guns. If it doesn't work, don't sweat it; collect the opals you can, and start looking for another huge one.
If you are breaking or have already broken a huge opal asteroid and another comes on screen, use your best judgment. If you only have a medium left to break, and a huge is threatening to go off-screen (and thus be lost forever), leave the medium and give chase! But if you just broke up a huge and it spawned two larges, ignore another huge one wandering through; it may only have 8-10 total and yield no more. The ones you are looking at have a better chance of getting you more.
The Bottom Line (Profit vs. Time) Edit
With 6 Terrapin escorts (I'm in a mod Starbridge), it takes about 20 minutes of mining to find enough opals to fill 770 tons of cargo space, and those opals then sell at Serenity for a profit of 1,155,000! If you hired the 5,500-credit Terrapins, the Equipment trade back to Gem just about covers the round-trip costs of fuel and escorts (depending on if you have income; my 900-a-day income leaves me with about 2,800 profit from the equipment run, after figuring in round-trip fuel and escort costs).
As nice as this sounds, you can earn about 420,000 total, round-trip (counting fuel and escort costs) if you just buy the opals from Gem, which makes the whole round trip take all of about 2 minutes (buying and selling in each system, plotting paths, flying to hyperspace jump points, and jump times), meaning you could earn about 5 million credits in the time it takes to mine just over 1 million credits' worth. But this requires a substantial amount of money, so you might want to mine the opal first, to get to where you can afford to just buy them.