After reading this post on Arqade, I wondered what Steam gems were. I've never heard of Steam gems before.

  • What are the uses of Steam gems?
  • Are they some kind of currency?
  • What do Steam gems do?
  • How does one get Steam gems?

3 Answers 3


Steam Gems - Auction Holiday Event - from Dec 15th to the 18th.

Gems were first created on the 11th for the auction. The auction hosts 2000 games with 100 copies each = 200,000 copies of games to bid for.

Is steam gems a new currency?

Every 1000 gems you can make a bag to trade in the market. You can buy them from the market.

Note: The gems can be made during or after the event and will not disappear.

How does one get steam gems?

Steam gems are earned by converting the items in your steam inventory. (10-100 range per item)

  • Cards
  • Backgrounds
  • Emoticons

One purpose of steam gems is to convert items normally worthless (3 cents items) into something you can use to bid.

What can I use steam gems for?

They are used for only three things.

  • One: Bid for games in the auction
  • Two: Use gems to craft booster packs
  • Three: Trade in Market

Note: If you place a bid and do not win, the gems will be refunded back to you.

How does the auction work?

Once the auction starts on Dec 15th 10:00, every 45 minutes the next highest bid will be displayed and if the person is still highest they get the copy. So every 45 minutes is a copy given away to highest bider.

Note: It says first auction ends at 10:45.

Auction Rules for Bidding?

"Steam will automatically increase your bid up to this amount to keep yours the highest bid. Your bid will never exceed that max (unless you increase it later)."

"You can increase your bid at any time. You can cancel the bid to return the Gems to your inventory as long as you are not the top bidder."

Why was it up on the 11th and taken down after a few hours?

The reason its not up yet, even though it was last night on the 11th was because of a huge issue with people duplicating the gem bags and selling them for dirt low prices.

They will likely have to back-roll the servers or reverse transactions to redeem this issue.

Is this the steam winter sales?

No, that will take place right after the auction ends on the 18th.

Is there badges for the auction event?

Yes there is about 3 badges.

  • To create gems
  • To bid on a game
  • To win a bid.

(Added questions and answers I think would help clear up any additional questions)

  • 1
    "They are exclusive to this event, and are not tradeable" - if you read the FAQ, you'd see both of these assumptions are incorrect. Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 17:13
  • I apologize for the inaccuracy, I assumed that they would change their policy based on the duplication incident that occurred, however I changed my answer to be more accurate with the FAQ.
    – Falem
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 17:19
  • I wouldn't assume they'll simply roll back the servers, like they do in a MMO, as that will erase every market transaction, even ones not related to the auction. It would also erase every transaction where someone used a credit card or other form of payment without any sort of refund. It's possible they might undo everything by creating new transactions that reverse the effect of every auction related transaction, but this won't be easy. Alternatively they could just confiscate the gems and other ill-gotten items of anyone they identify as a cheater.
    – user86571
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 19:06
  • Looks like Valve has gone with the reversing the transactions. It looks like the 30,000 gems I bought have gone back the people I bought them from and my Steam balance is back to where it was before the start of the auction.
    – user86571
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 22:47
  • Just what: It's now fixed :) | You can buy gems from the market once again.
    – aytimothy
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 2:44

The author was referring to the steam holiday gems.

They are a new feature (released yesterday) in which a steam user can turn their extra junk cards/backgrounds/emotes into "gems." These gems can be used to buy more cards; or, during the upcoming holiday event only, to bid on games.

Gems themselves are not tradable, but they can be packed/unpacked into "gem sacks" which represent 1000 gems, and are both tradable and marketable.

According to the FAQ, you will keep your remaining gems after the holiday event, and can continue to use them to create more cards.


How does the auction work?

Once the auction starts every 45 minutes the next highest bid will be displayed and if the person is still highest they get the copy. So every 45 minutes is a copy given away to highest bider.

The first auction lasts until December 15th (about 2 days). And not 45 minutes. Steam even says so on the auction-front-page.

Then each auction after that lasts only 45 minutes each. And after each 45 minutes the highest bidder in line gets the game (eliminating the highest that won it in the previous 45 minutes).

Gem auctions = expensive:

With the increase in emoticon/card/etc. prices it's no longer worth it buying them to turn them into gems. Instead hunt for the game cheaper on the humble bundle (has winter sales right now) and other sites that sell Steam Keys which sell them for 50-90% cheaper than you can do with gems. For some reason most games got overpriced (at least for the first auction).

Perhaps the next auctions will make more sense after all the rich people get their copies, the people who had too many useless stuff in their inventory and the traders are gone. I saw some games (converted to gem value) going for over 300% of the regular price, which is just nuts.


Rogue Legacy costs 1,99 on Humble Bundle right now. But on Steam it costs 11000+ gems. One emoticon is roughly 8 cent and is worth 80 gems. (11000/80)x8/100=11,- bucks. So it's more than 500% more expensive when buying through gems (unless you want to get rid of your useless gems). I also noticed that Steam secretly increased the gem value over night. Those same emoticons were worth 6-20 gems last night. Now they are 80. I suppose they attempted to deflate the economy a bit because a lot of traders inflated the prices from 2 cent to 8 overnight and attempted to buy the games really cheap. Alternatively they just randomize the prices for emoticons every day (not sure) to prevent certain trading schemes.

Creating Gems:

Anyway, once it does start (already started now). Just go to your inventory. Click on a card/emoticon/etc. And on the bottom right it will tell you how many gems this is worth along with a button to convert them.

  • Just to clear things up the first line I put auction event 15-18th, in that sentence I say "ONCE" the auction starts. So there was a misunderstanding here, other than that nice post.
    – Falem
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 6:45

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