Large Cluster Jewels, Medium Cluster Jewels, and Small Cluster Jewels were introduced in PoE’s 3.10 Delirium League and have since become build-enabling for a lot of builds. Whenever they are not mandatory, they almost always are extremely nice upgrades to have and can function very well even when you aren’t insanely rich and can’t afford the best combinations. After reading through this guide you will understand how the best players use their currency to find something that works for them, should they be short on currency to buy perfect Cluster Jewels.
This guide will talk explicitly about all kinds of Cluster Jewels. It will focus on teaching you what exactly defines how they work for you, how to acquire them fairly “easily”, how to craft them most optimally, and why they are as good as they actually are. I will try to be as explicit and educative as possible by using as many example pictures as possible.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you were following one of our guides, or were making your own build, but couldn’t afford your Cluster Jewel upgrades, this most certainly is something you want to read through as I will guarantee you it will make you spend and awful lot less on them in the future!
What Are Cluster Jewels
Cluster Jewels are a specific type of jewel that goes into special outer sockets on the tree. When you socket them in one of those sockets, a new part of the Skill Tree will appear, depending on what type of jewel you have slotted in. Depending on the affixes, amounts of passives and type of Cluster Jewel, you’ll be getting different options to pick from.
Cluster Jewels come in three variants: Small, Medium, and Large, and in case of Large or Medium ones, they come with additional sockets. You can socket Cluster Jewels inside of those sockets, as long as the jewel is of a smaller archetype. This means you can socket a Small Cluster Jewel anywhere, be it in the tree, in a Medium, or a Large Cluster Jewel, but you can’t socket a Large Cluster Jewel into a Medium Cluster Jewel. This avoids infinite pathing away from the standard Skill Tree. Mostly, people start by socketing a Large Cluster Jewel, followed by two Medium Cluster Jewels, and then two Small Cluster Jewels.
Strength of Cluster Jewels
Even though power creep has been the name of the game for a long time in PoE, I still remember the days where we were extremely excited to be able to socket in a Viridian Jewel, Cobalt Jewel, or Crimson Jewel at the expense of 3 Skill Points. You were getting 7% Increased Maximum Life and two offensive stats for 3 Skill Points. Now, this might sound ridiculous to you, but back in ancient PoE history those items were incredibly strong.
Now, Cluster Jewels can only be socketed in the outer edges of the Skill Tree, which means the most amount of Large Cluster Jewels one can have is 6. Obviously, one would need a lot more Skill Points than nowadays available, but if they did, I guarantee you some builds would just path around the world to pick up Clusters and build that way.
However, even if you don’t go out of your way for Cluster Jewels, almost every build paths past a potential Cluster Jewel socket anyway. If you pick up a Cluster Jewel, you’re getting 7 Notables and 2 Jewel Sockets for 15 Skill Points. To give you some perspective here, I took a random Path of Building of one of my guides and counted the pathing to a couple of the Notables that build took. On average, it picked up about 5 travel nodes for a single Notable, and 2 nodes per Jewel Socket. This means that if the Notables you could be getting on your Clusters were to be located on the tree, to get the same effect you would be spending approximately 40 Skill Points. Additionally, travel nodes in the basic Path of Exile Skill Tree are only offering you attributes, while the small passives on Cluster Jewels always offer a certain base effect which usually isn’t a bad thing to get as a start, but they can be augmented with good copies of Clusters to offer even more than that! Even only replacing your Attribute pathing to Cluster pathing would in it self be a huge upgrade.
This should give you a basic idea why Cluster Jewels are incredibly strong. You just get so much more bang for your buck than you would be getting from getting regular Passives throughout the base tree. To keep them somewhat balanced, they only offers Keystones on unique Small Cluster Jewels, and do not offer certain specific stats that you could be getting on normal notables (Reduced Mana Reserved is a great example of this). Additionally, you would need a bunch of insane Clusters to not need some of the Attributes the normal tree offers, so most builds still want to pick up a decent chunk of regular pathing and combine it with Cluster Jewels.
Breakdown of Potential Rolls on Cluster Jewels
Any Cluster Jewel, whether it is a Small, Medium, or Large is basically constructed in the same way, with very little difference depending on the base:
I will break down every single of its implicits and affixes individually.
Amount of Passives Added
This is where the amount of total Passive Skills that gets added to your Cluster Jewel is decided. It is generally accepted that you almost always want as few travel nodes as possible to get to your Notables and Sockets, with as few Skill Points as possible. In case of the Large Clusters, I’ll illustrate the difference between my initial example with 12 Passives and the exact same copy with just 8 Passives.
The differences here are quite significant! In the initial example with 12 Passives, you’ll be forced to pick up 11 passive points to get to both of the Jewel Sockets and three of the Notables. While this is still a lot better than generic traveling on the tree, obviously you would much prefer the second example, where you’re forced into a lot fewer small nodes and will get more bang for your buck! Since the second example only requires 7 passive points to get everything you actually want, this means you’re saving 4 of your passive points. In the current state of the game, those 4 passive points could lead to an extra Medium Cluster Jewel, an extra socket, or just outright make it so you can fit in another Cluster setup.
Obviously, as everyone knows this, the ones with the most optimal amounts of Passives are always more expensive than the ones with a massive amount of overkill on small passives. There is, however, an important part of this mechanic you should realize. Since you see that even on a 12 Passive Large Cluster you’re only spending 11 passive points, that means that there is no direct relation between the amount of passives the Cluster adds and the amount of passives you need in order to pick up the notables and sockets. This means there are jumps in efficiency, which you need to understand before making decisions on which of them to buy or craft on. I’ll illustrate this with the well known Medium Cluster Jewel example:
These examples represent Medium Cluster Jewel with 4, 5 and 6 Passives respectively. As you can see, the way the passives get added does matter for their efficiency. Since you can just path from one way to your last socket, there is no difference whatsoever between a 4 or a 5 passives Medium Cluster Jewel. The 6 Passives version, however, requires one extra Skill Point invested!
As for Large Cluster Jewels, as mentioned before, an 8 Passives jewel requires 7 passive points to get everything you want. This does increase linearly by 1 for every extra passive you have on your jewel.
Do note though that those travel nodes aren’t necessarily terrible and it might not be worth paying 3x the price for a jewel with 8 Passives over a jewel with 9 Passives. If you find a Jewel, for instance with Attack Damage since that was the example, with 9 Passives which also grants 3% Attack Speed on Small Notables, and compare it to a version with 8 Passives without the Attack Speed on it, you would spend a single passive skill for 9% Increased Attack Speed and 10% Increased Attack Damage, as you’d be picking up 3 Small nodes to get to your Sockets and Notables. That honestly is not bad whatsoever and doesn’t really make your Jewel much weaker.
For Small Cluster Jewel the difference is very simple. They come in 2 variants – 2 or 3 added Passive Skills – and are fairly simple to understand. If they have a Notable, you will be getting one small passive if you have a version that adds 2 Passive Skills, and two small passives if you have one that adds 3 Passive Skills. Again, some combinations of them don’t really lose potency in a 3-passives variant if you have a good amount of secondary stuff on them!
Amount of Sockets
Back in Delirium League, when Cluster Jewels were released, this modifier was not an implicit roll. It had to be rolled as one of the suffixes on your Cluster Jewel and could come in a 1 or 2-socket variant for Large Cluster Jewels. Technically, when it got changed in 3.11 Harvest League, they buffed Cluster Jewels even further, allowing them to have an extra suffix. This change was made to counter the fact that so much fewer Cluster Jewels were dropping, as not every map offered Delirium mirrors anymore and people were complaining that getting usable (let alone good) Cluster Jewels was nearly impossible.
They now come on the base items 100% of the time and always roll 2 sockets on a Large and a single socket on Medium and Small Cluster Jewels.
This roll now only affects you if you’re playing in Standard (Soft or Hardcore), as copies might exist of Large Cluster Jewels without sockets or with a single socket or Medium Cluster Jewels and Small Cluster Jewels with no sockets whatsoever. You should never buy those, as whoever is trying to sell them is probably trying to get rid of them as they were rendered almost useless with that patch/fix.
Choosing a Base
This modifier on Cluster Jewels defines what base type you’re using. Even though a lot of notables overlap on Cluster Jewels with similar base modifiers (e.g. Attack Damage and Attack Damage while Dual Wielding), it is important to check which modifiers can appear on which item. This is because some of the modifiers you might want on a jewel could exist on a base that does nothing for you. An example of this would be Flow of Life. This notable gives you Life & Damage over Time Multiplier but can exist on generic Damage over Time Multiplier bases as well as on Cold or Fire Damage over Time Multiplier bases. Obviously, if you’re playing a Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier build, you wouldn’t want a base that gives you either Fire or Cold DoT Multiplier instead of one that offers generic DoT Multiplier, as they would not affect your Chaos DoT Multiplier whatsoever.
For a list of affixes, and which affixes can appear on which cluster jewel you can check out PoEDB.
Additional Effects of Small Nodes
Aside from notables, Cluster Jewels can enhance their small nodes as mentioned before. In this specific example, every small node will grant you an extra 0.1% of your Life as Life Regeneration. A lot of useful little additions can be found on rolls like these such as Attributes, flat Life or Energy Shield, Regeneration or increased Effect of the base of the nodes. Generally, these extra affixes are subordinate to the Notables, which is really what you want, but it can be nice to look around and check if there are copies that offer a little bit extra when looking for your ideal Cluster Jewel!
Last but definitely not least on our example Cluster Jewel are the Notables. These are what you really want on your Clusters, as they are tremendously powerful. Combinations of these have made specific builds rise to the occasion as it has allowed for so much more diversity and scaling specific things. A good example here is the lack of Area of Effect on the skill tree to make specific build-archetypes feel good. Medium Cluster Jewels give you ways to get up to 40% Area of Effect per jewel, whereas 70% was the maximum before their introduction for specific builds. They’re also now accessible at parts of the tree where they used to not be, given how far it was to travel to any form of Area of Effect nodes. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as hundreds of these notables were added, but the guide you are following will definitely go more in depth about this aspect of them.
The important part to know here is that both Medium & Large Cluster Jewels can have 2 Notable Prefixes, whereas Small Cluster Jewels can only have 1 Notable. Large Cluster Jewels can get up to 3 Notables, as they also have Suffix Notables.
The Construction of Cluster Jewels
The simple ones are Small and Medium Cluster Jewels. A Small Cluster Jewel will always have its Notable at the end of the pathing, and will always require you to pick up all the small nodes to acquire it. A Medium Cluster Jewel, as shown before, travels in a circle, putting one notable on each side. This is why order does not matter whatsoever on Small or Medium Cluster Jewels.
On Large Cluster Jewels, however, ordering and construction is really important. I’ll illustrate the differences between single, double, and triple Notable 8-Passive Large Cluster Jewels first.
This is where things become a little more complicated. As you can see, the first Notable you roll on a Large Cluster Jewel will always “spawn” the furthest away from the start, meaning you can’t force a Large Cluster to be incredibly efficient while it only has a single Notable. What this means or leads to is that even if you only want to pick up 2 Notables, it still is a lot more efficient to just grab a random third Notable just to make it so you can pick up two of them without having to go past the sockets.
If only it were that simple though! These Notables have a numeric code linked to them and will always appear on your jewel from low to higher code, and continue clockwise from there. As far as I know these numbers are not worth knowing as long as you are familiar with Path of Building. Path of Building always displays the order of notables correctly and will always show your Jewel as it will be in your effective tree. I highly recommend you check your Large Cluster Jewels out in Path of Building before buying or re-rolling them.
You can check them out by manually creating them in Path of Building, but that’s kind of tedious. If someone links you one in-game, or you have one, you can just press CTRL + C while hovering the item and press CTRL + V in the item section of Path of Building to paste it in. If you’re shopping for one, you should be using Path of Exile’s official trade website, which offers a “copy item” option that does exactly the same as when you would have copied it from inside the game. Check out the image below to find it.
How to Buy Cluster Jewels?
Another thing that is commonly misunderstood is how you should be looking for Cluster Jewels. Usually, again, especially on Large Clusters, you don’t need to exactly copy someone else’s Notable setup. Typically, you’re only looking for one or two Notables that you really want, and additionally it’s more of a “you should take whatever you can get”, especially after Cluster Jewels became more rare and less accessible.
Again, I’ll be using the official website to showcase an example of a search setup, as I think the official website is vastly superior to others. The idea behind this is that you’re going to tell the indexer that you require a specific set of 2 Notables, combined with any other useful Notable, and any other additional 4th stat. The way we do that is by using different stat groups in the search.
Your first stat group should be an “And” (which is the default) where you’re going to tell the Indexer exactly which 2 Notables you require every search result to have. In our example, I’ll be looking for an Ice Nova jewel. I want my jewel to grant “Corrosive Elements” for Cold Exposure on hit and Prismatic Heart, for some resistances, no matter what. Additionally, I want to be efficient, so I want it to be a Jewel with at most 8 added Passive Skills. Here’s how my “And-Group” would look:
Do note that the “Adds # Passive Skills” is listed as an Enchant, which honestly is kind of awkward as it feels more like an implicit to me. This is just one of these things that you have to “know”, but now you do!
Afterwards, again, since I want the most efficient jewel, I want a third Notable, which I do not plan on allocating. This means I have to make sure that Prismatic Heart & Corrosive Elements are the two Notables that spawn closest to the start. I will do that by checking every jewel I intend to buy in Path of Building after I’ve made my search.
Since I will take either a base that grants Elemental Damage or Cold Damage and any other Notable, I will check all Notables available on either of those bases and put them in the next group together with both the Elemental Damage and Cold Damage base. Since I want one of the Notables and one of either Elemental Damage or Cold Damage, I will not use the “And” function in this case, but the “Count” function and tell it that the Count has to be 2. That way, it will only display items that have a combination of any 2 of those mods, which in this case can only be 1 of the 2 bases and 1 of all the additional Notables. This is what my “Count-Group” will look like:
Lastly, if you want to find a jewel with a 4th affix, you could make another set of Counts (or add them into the previous one, and raise the count to 3, as that would be the same thing in this case). I’ll ask mine to offer some extra resistances of some kind, since my build is low on resistances. This means we need to add another set of counts, which adds in all of the possible resistance affixes, and set it to 1. Here’s how that would look like:
I generally advise to skip the last step, entirely, as it will narrow down the amount of options significantly but I wanted to show the possibility regardless. This is the search I just made, in total:
Now, this search only nets a single result, which was to be expected as I’m not on prime time right now and the expectations I had for my item were pretty significant. It should, however, give you an idea of how to efficiently search for your jewels, and adjust to your price range. If the searches are too expensive, maybe you should move one of your “And” components to the “Count” group and raise the count by 1. That way, you’re always letting the search find more and more items and you can perhaps find something that does fit your budget and still is a fairly sizeable upgrade! This is the jewel that got output by the search:
As you can see, it fulfills our first “And-Group”, since it has both Corrosive Elements and Prismatic Heart. Additionally, it fulfills the second count group as it has the Elemental Damage “enchant” or implicit and a Disorienting Display notable. Lastly, it also checks off the last group, as it offers you +2% to Cold Resistance on the Small Passive Skills!
How to Price Your Cluster Jewels?
Explaining someone how to price something in PoE is generally extremely difficult. Cluster Jewels are no exception. I have already elaborated on how the amount of passives only matters in specific cases so that’s a first indication to how you should be pricing your jewels. A 4-Passive Medium Jewel is not worth more than a 5-Passive one. Additionally, Medium and Small Clusters are fairly easy to check. You can just look for Jewels with the same Notables and if they have any extra perks like some kind of attribute or flat life, you can just scroll around a bit when looking at the similar jewels. Whenever you find something that looks as if it could be just as useful (generally, Strength would hold the same value as Dexterity for example), you can go with that price.
Large Cluster Jewels are a tad harder to price. Any third Notable on a Cluster that is positioned furthest away from the initial socket will add a ton of value to your jewel because it makes the pathing so much more efficient. Generally, you look for the two closest Notables, and see if there’s anything similar. Whenever we’re talking about 1 or 2-Notable Cluster Jewels, you should be fairly safe just finding one that is exactly the same as yours. If you are checking one with 3 Notables, you’ll have to decide whether you think the third Notable adds more value than just more efficient pathing. If it does, look for any Jewel that has 3 Notables that you think are useful and price accordingly.
Should you be looking to get an estimate about your base Cluster Jewel without any modifiers, you can just compare it to an identical copy. Usually, they are not worth much but there are exceptions, for example, a 6-Passives item level 83 Aura Effect Medium Cluster can be over 30 Divine Orb so you can always take a quick look and see if you hit a jackpot.
Crafting Cluster Jewels
As for most items in the game, I heavily advise against crafting these for yourself exclusively. The amount of sellable Clusters you will hit before hitting something you want is ridiculous. Therefore, if you’re in a trade league, you’re going to need dozens of bases which you will have to all sell to not make this obscenely expensive for no reason. I would generally say it’s a lot more convenient and easy to just buy what you need rather than rolling them yourself as they are incredibly hard to roll.
Anyway, worry not, I won’t leave our SSF players out there in the cold. If you have no other options than to self-craft them, you should never expect to hit more than two Notables. If you are extremely lucky, you could hit some useful third affix with them, but that is not expected. The way you go about this is you pick a single Notable that you “require” the jewel to have. You proceed to use Orb of Alterations on the item until it hits that particular roll. If it’s a single affix item at that point, use an Orb of Augmentation on it and no matter what the outcome is, use a Regal Orb too. That way, there are two chances for your to Augment or Regal a second useful affix on it!
Again though, expect to not hit something exquisite for a while, as they are pretty hard to get optimally rolled and expect to be settling for Large Cluster Jewels with 2 Notables instead of 3, and Mediums / Smalls without any added benefits to your small Notables. They will definitely still be extremely overpowered though as they have been the biggest spike in power that we have seen in the game in a long time!