Miner or Geologist: How To Choose the Best profession

Leveling up in Mining quickly, and wondering which profession is the right one for you? We’re here to help you choose: Miner, or Geologist.

A screenshot from Stardew Valley of the level-up menu. The player can choose between the profession of Miner or Geologist.

What Are Professions?

At levels five and ten in each of the five main skills in Stardew Valley, you get to choose one of two professions, as indicated by the rectangles below:

The skills tab in Stardew Valley.

When it comes to mining, at level five you get to choose between Miner and Geologist. This decision impacts the amount of ore you gain from breaking nodes, how many gems you can find, and, ultimately, how and how much you profit from mining.

How to Level up Mining

Before you make this big decision, you need to make it to level five in Mining first! You gain experience in Mining whenever you spend some quality time in the mines.

Different types of rocks and nodes give different types amounts of experience. The regular, dirt-colored rocks, don’t grant any experience at all unless they happen to also drop coal. You don’t get any experience from breaking down large boulders in the mines either. It’s worth noting, however, that regular rocks broken on your farmstead do grant you one experience point, even if they’re worthless in the mines themselves.

Everything else in the mines grants some amount of experience to you.

The light-grey rocks grant experience, the normal rocks don’t!

These are the different types of nodes you can find in the mines:

  • Ore Nodes: Ore nodes look like regular rocks, except for a few specks of color which indicate the kind of ore contained within the stone. There are Copper Nodes, Iron Nodes, Gold Nodes, Iridium Nodes, and Radioactive Nodes. Mining these nodes grant gradually more experience, ranging between five (for Copper) and up to 18 (for Radioactive).
  • Gem Nodes: Rocks that contain gems are rare and look very unique. The appearance of each of these nodes is different, depending on which sort of gem is contained within the rock. Additionally, the rarer and more valuable the gem, the more experience you gain from mining its gem node. Diamond Nodes grant a whopping 150 experience, whereas Amethyst Nodes grant merely 16 experience points.
  • Geode Nodes: Geodes are normally found only in the small quarries you can find in the Hill-top and Four Corners farm maps. Standard Geode Nodes grant just eight points of experience, Frozen Geode Nodes 16, Magma Geodes 32, and Omni Geode Nodes, the most valuable, grant 64 experience points. You can find Omni Geode Nodes only in the Volcano Dungeon.
  • Mystic Stone: This special type of rock looks like a smooth purple stone. It grants 50 experience points once it’s been mined. It can appear between levels 100 and 120 in the Skull Cavern. There’s also a small chance that this stone spawns in the Pelican Town Quarry.

Aside from the above, fairly standard and common, types of nodes, there are a few special ones you can find only on Ginger Island, and they grant you mining experience as well:

  • Mussel Node: These unique nodes can be found on Ginger Island West. Cracking them open grants you just five experience points and a Mussel – a saltwater fish, that can normally be caught with Crab Pots, or foraged from the beach.
  • Bone Node: These nodes can be found on the Ginger Island Dig Site. They grant you six experience points, Bone Fragments, and have a chance to provide you with a museum artifact. Bone Nodes have a chance to contain any of the fossil artifacts, such as the Fossilized Leg, Prehistoric Tibia, Amphibian Fossil, and more.
  • Clay Node: Clay Nodes can also be found on the Ginger Island Dig Site. These will grant you six experience points, too, and some Clay.

Once you’ve collected enough experience, you’re finally ready to make your choice.

Miner Profession Breakdown

Choosing Miner will grant you one extra ore per node you mine. Normally, for example, you can only gain between 1 and 3 Copper Ore per Copper Node. With the Miner profession, that number changes to between 2 and 4. This might not seem like much, but it adds up. If you mine five Copper Nodes, you can get up to 20 Copper Ore – enough for four Copper Bars.

More Ore means more Bars!

Why Are Ore and Metal Bars Useful?

The most important quality of ore is that it can be smelted into metal bars using a Furnace and a piece of Coal. Metal Bars are used for a great many things in Stardew Valley, such as:

  • Upgrading your tools: You can upgrade your tools from Standard to Copper, Copper to Steel, Steel to Gold, and Gold to Iridium. To do so, you need to pay Clint the blacksmith and provide him with five metal bars of the corresponding metal. Upgrading your tools lets you use them more efficiently – you’ll work faster, and spend less energy doing tasks.
  • Crafting: Many crafting recipes call for some ore or metal. Very basic and extremely useful machines such as the Furnace itself require Ore or metal bars. You won’t be able to run a smooth, profitable farm without requiring a lot of metal bars for crafting.
  • Gifting: Most villagers don’t like ore or metal, but some villagers love them! Maru, Clint, Willy, and Krobus, for example, will be very happy if presented with an Iridium Bar. Maru and Clint also love the simpler, Gold Bars.
  • Tailoring: You can craft fancy-looking breastplates from each of the different metal bars. Look like a warrior! Combine cloth with your metal bar of choice to gain a new shirt.
  • Construction: Certain buildings such as Slime Hutches, Stables, and Obelisks require metal bars for their construction.

Geologist Profession Breakdown

Choosing Geologist will allow you to have a chance at collecting more than just one gem per Gem Node. For example, mining a Topaz Node, as seen below, grants me two Topazes, instead of one. Considering how rare and valuable gems are, this can be quite a boon.

Two gems for the price of one!

Why Are Gems Useful?

The most important quality of gems is that they can be sold for a higher price, or gifted to most villagers to receive friendship. Unlike ore, most villagers like or even love gems as gifts.

  • Selling: Different gems are worth different amounts of gold, but all gems are valuable. The most valuable gem in Stardew Valley is a Diamond. These sell for 750 gold, and this price can get higher if you grab Gemologist later at level ten. You can furthermore use a Crystalarium to increase profit from selling gems.
  • Gifting: As we mentioned, gems are generally very well-liked gifts. Diamonds, for example, are liked by every single villager and loved by eight different villagers – Willy, Penny, Evelyn, Gus, Maru, Marnie, Krobus, and Jodi. Other gems, like Amethysts and Emeralds, are not quite as beloved, but most villagers will react happily to receiving a gem.
  • Tailoring: Each gem can be combined with Cloth in a sewing machine to craft a unique article of clothing. The color of the shirt will generally match the gem you used to craft it, so, for example, Rubies can be combined with Cloth to create a very elegant red sweater with a white scarf, whereas Emeralds create a striped yellow top with a deep-green jacket.


Ore is always useful – it’s used in many crafting recipes, for constructing buildings, and for upgrading your tools. The drawback to picking Miner is that Ore is easy to find. Even without the Miner profession, you are guaranteed to amass a large amount of Ore if you spend time in the mines.

Gems, on the other hand, are rare. Getting Geologist might be your best shot at collecting a large number of gems. The drawback of the Geologist profession is that, perhaps, gems aren’t really that necessary. They’re rare, it’s true, but you don’t need a large number of gems. If you want to profit off gems, you will need to spend a great deal of time crafting and using Crystalariums.

This decision breaks down to whether you would prefer to have a large number of ore and metal bars, or a bigger collection of gems. Answer that question, and you’ll know which profession to choose!

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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