Blacksmith or Prospector – How To Make The Best Choice


Should you choose the Blacksmith or Prospector profession? If you’re a diligent miner in Stardew Valley, you’re sure to be faced with this tough decision once you reach level ten in mining. Luckily, this guide can help you make the right choice!

A screenshot from Stardew Valley of the level-up screen. The player can pick between the Blacksmith and Prospector professions.
Move over Clint; a new Blacksmith is in Stardew Valley.

What Are Professions?

Each of the five skills in Stardew Valley can be leveled up to level ten. You get to choose between two different professions at levels five and ten. In total, each skill has six unique professions tied to them.

Professions allow you to specialize. Let’s say you choose the Fisher profession at level five of fishing. This means that the fish you sell are now worth 25% more. Choosing this profession over the other option – Trapper – is declaring your preference for how you want to interact and earn money from this skill.

The skills tab in Stardew Valley.

Choosing Fisher at level five unlocks the option to become an Angler or Pirate at level ten. However, had you chosen Trapper instead, you’d get the option to become a Mariner or Luremaster instead. Your decision at level five impacts your entire game thereafter!

When it comes to mining, you can choose between Miner and Geologist at level five. If you’ve picked Miner, you’re now faced with the choice between Blacksmith and Prospector.

SkillLevel Five Profession #1Level Ten Profession OptionsLevel Five Profession #2Level Ten Profession Options
FarmingRancherCoopmaster / ShepherdTillerArtisan / Agriculturist
MiningMinerBlacksmith / ProspectorGeologistExcavator / Gemologist
ForagingForesterLumberjack / TapperGathererBotanist / Tracker
FishingFisherAngler / PirateTrapperMariner / Luremaster
CombatFighterBrute / DefenderScoutAcrobat / Desperado

How to Level Up in Mining

Increasing your mining skill requires consistent hard work in the mines. Almost anything you do in the mines will grant you some experience, but mining certain rocks grant more than others.

Regular, dirt-colored rocks that match the color of the ground and are destroyed in one hit don’t grant any experience. Similarly, the large boulders that take over five hits, puzzlingly, don’t grant any experience either. Mining these two types of rocks on your farmstead, outside of the mines, does grant one point of experience.

The rocks that blend into the environment (highlighted in yellow) do not grant experience.

Aside from these two, any node or rock in the mine will grant experience, and we’re here to break down just how much:

Type of Rock/NodeNoteLocationExperience Granted
Light Grey Rocks/Anywhere in the mines.3
Mussel Nodes/Ginger Island West5
Clay Node/Ginger Island Dig Site6
Bone Node/Ginger Island Dig Site6
Ore NodeDifferent Ore grants different amounts of experience.Anywhere in the mines.5-50
Geode NodeDifferent Geodes grant different amounts of experience.Anywhere in the mines.8-64
Cinder Shard Node/Volcano Dungeon12
Gem NodeDifferent Gems grants different amounts of experience.Anywhere in the mines.16-150
Mystic Stone/Floors 100+ of the Mines, Quarry, Volcano Dungeon50

For more information on the different kinds of Ore, Geodes, and Gems and how much experience each grant, check out the following tables as well:

Ore TypeLocationExperience Granted
Copper NodeAny level in the mines.5
IronNodeLevels 40+ in the mines.12
Gold NodeLevels 80+ in the mines.18
Radioactive NodeAny level when the mines are in a “Dangerous” state.18
Iridium NodeSkull Cavern, Quarry, Volcano Dungeon50

Geodes are normally found by cracking into random stones, but nodes do exist and give specific amounts of experience. Geode nodes can only be found on the quarries on the Four Corners and Hill-top farm layouts.

Geode TypeLocationExperience Granted
Geode Node/8
Frozen Geode Node/16
Magma Geode Node/32
Omni Geode NodeVolcano Dungeon64
Gem TypeLocationExperience Granted
Amethyst NodeAny level in the mines.16
Topaz NodeAny level in the mines.16
Aquamarine NodeLevels 40+ in the mines. Any level after reaching level 120.40
Jade NodeLevels 40+ in the mines. Any level after reaching level 120.40
Emerald NodeLevels 80+ in the mines. Any level after reaching level 120.80
Ruby NodeLevels 80+ in the mines. Any level after reaching level 120.80
Diamond NodeLevels 50+ in the mines.150

Level Five in Mining

In order to gain the opportunity to choose between Blacksmith and Prospector, you must first select the Miner profession at level five of mining As a miner, you’ll gain one extra piece of Ore when mining any ore node. To illustrate, normally you can only get between 1 and 3 Copper Ore per Copper Node. With this profession, the number changes to between 2 and 4. This may seem like a small change, and it is, but the difference adds up. Miner is the right choice for you if you want to focus on making as much metal as possible.

A collection of Iron Ore veins. Iron Bars, here I come!

Blacksmith Breakdown

If you choose the Blacksmith profession, the metal bars you sell will be 50% more valuable. To illustrate, you can sell 10 gold bars for 2500 gold normally, and as a Blacksmith, you can earn 3750 gold instead. Iridium Bars are even more valuable, though they’re tough to find.

Metal bars are useful for many things; most notably, for upgrading your tools and crafting nifty things like Sprinklers, Rings, and machines like the Seed Maker, Oil Maker, and Crystalarium. You can even use Iron Bars to craft a special type of Bait for fishing. However, if you opt for the Blacksmith profession, metal bars can be a good source of income.

Is it hot in here or is it just the two dozen furnaces?

Is Blacksmith Worth It?

The Blacksmith profession is only really worth it if you put effort towards it. If you don’t plan on doing a lot of mining and collecting Ore and Coal, the increase in value of metal bars won’t mean anything to you.

One thing to remember, you can’t simply find metal bars – you need to craft them. To craft one Gold Bar, for example, you need five bits of Gold Ore, a piece of Coal, and a Furnace. The ore needs five hours to turn into the Gold Bar, which makes farming Metal Bars a little time-consuming.

So as not to waste any time, you’ll need to craft as many Furnaces as you can and use them all at once. You’ll also want to check back on your furnaces as soon as Ore is done and replace the newly smelted bars with new Ore. This can be tedious and distract you from other things you wish to do in Stardew Valley.

Prospector Breakdown

When you choose the Prospector profession, your chance to find coal is doubled. Unlike Ore and Gems, Coal cannot be found by convenient mining nodes. Instead, Coal is more like Geodes – each time you mine, there’s a small chance you’ll gain Coal.

Coal is an invaluable resource and one you’ll need from the beginning of the game to the very end. You need Coal for smelting Ore into Metal Bars, and for crafting items such as Bombs, Bee House and Preserves Jar, Scarecrow, and more.

Coal is very useful in the early game. Get that Pickaxe ready and go!

Is Prospector Worth It?

Getting Coal while mining is never a real guarantee. You’ll likely find some Coal, but you can’t simply go into the mines with the goal of collecting an X amount of Coal, the way you can with Ore or even Gems. Having a doubly high chance to find Coal can ensure that you can consistently and reliably find more Coal each time you mine.

One thing to note is that there are ways to get Coal that don’t involve mining. Wood in Stardew Valley is an infinite resource and, by using a Charcoal Kiln, you can convert 10 pieces of Wood into a piece of Coal. Since Wood is unlimited, you can grow a tree farm and use it to farm Coal instead of mining.

Furthermore, you can buy both Coal and Wood from vendors in Stardew Valley. Clint sells Coal for 150g-250g (price increases in year two) and Robin sells Wood for 10g-50g (price increases in year two). These prices are a bit outrageous though, if you ask us!

The Verdict

The Blacksmith profession increases the value of Metal Bars, allowing you to earn a pretty profit by selling whatever bars you don’t need to use for upgrades and crafting. If you’re willing to work hard collecting Ore and then smelting it, the Blacksmith profession could be a great choice for you.

The Prospector profession makes gathering Coal easier in Stardew Valley. Coal is always necessary because without Coal you can’t even craft metal bars, to begin with.

The profit boost from Blacksmith can be nifty, but metal bars are so useful in the early game that it’s hard to recommend that you focus on selling the bars instead of using them. You’ll need metal bars to upgrade all of your tools and to craft various important items. By the time you don’t need metal bars for crafting and upgrading, the amount of money you earn from selling them will seem trivial.

As such, we recommend you grab Prospector and focus on gathering as much Ore and metal as you can. With the increased chance of finding Coal, you’ll, ironically, be able to craft more metal bars and focus on upgrading your tools.

Ironically, Metal Bars might be too valuable to sell. You need them for other things.

Meet the author

I'm a content writer and an avid video game player whose favourites are either chill RPGs or super competitive shooters with no in-between! If anyone is still reading this please help, Joja has trapped me in a guide-writing factory and I'm so tired of drinking Joja Cola.

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