In The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, unique weapons and armor are abundant through quests and various locations. That said, it's also very much encouraged for players to level up their Smithing skill and make their very own armor and weaponry from the ores and materials they come across during their journey.
The problem with Smithing is that ore veins can be difficult and somewhat random to come across in the wild. Finding reliable sources that yield a lot (and that aren't purchased from merchants for a high price) isn't easy if players don't know where to look for them. Luckily, this list will provide a few key locations for each ore type, making resource gathering easier than ever in Skyrim.
10 Iron Ore
Iron is the easiest and cheapest material to find and will make decent early game armor for aspiring Smithing experts. In general, it won't be an issue to find iron ore in the wild, but those desperate for it should check the following locations.
- Halted Stream Camp, near Whiterun: Up to 16 iron ore veins.
- Fort Fellhammer, near Dawnstar: Up to 10 veins.
- Embershard Mine, near Riverwood: Up to 8 veins.
- Faldar's Tooth, near Heartwood Mill: Up to 7 pieces of iron ore.
- Gloombound Mine (near Windhelm), Iron-Breaker Mine (near Dawnstar), and Blind Cliff Cave (near Markarth): Up to 6 veins in each location.
9 Silver Ore
Silver isn't used in making any armor but rather is usually used to craft jewelry of various kinds, such as circlets, rings, and amulets. It's decently abundant in the world of Skyrim, and best mined at these locations.
- Sanuarach Mine, at Karthwasten: Up to 7 veins.
- Cidhna Mine: Up to 5 veins.
- Sunderstone Gorge, near Lake Ilinalta: Up to 4 veins.
8 Gold Ore
Gold ore is just like silver ore when it comes to its utility. It's best used in the making of various jewelry, such as rings, amulets and circlets. There are quite a few good locations to find gold ore, making it decently common.
- Kolskeggr Mine, near Markarth and Lover's Stone: Up to 17 veins, and a few ingots and ore pieces.
- Darkshade, near Whiterun: Up to 4 veins.
- Lost Prospect Mine, near Riften: Up to 3 veins.
- Bthardamz, near the Shrine to Peryite: Up to 4 veins.
7 Corundum Ore
When it comes to making steel ingots and improving gear, Corundum ore is the way to go. It's extremely abundant, similar to iron and some of the other precious ores listed above. Here are which locations to find it at.
- Knifepoint Mine, near Falkreath: Up to 18 veins, make sure to complete the quest Boethiah's Calling first.
- Blackreach: Up to 14 veins.
- Goldenrock Mine, near Darkwater Crossing: Up to 4 veins.
- Dead Drop Mine, inside Fort Dawnguard: Up to 4 veins and several ore pieces.
6 Orichalcum Ore
Players interested in crafting Orcish armor should look no further than Orichalcum ore. This special type of ore is a bit more difficult to find than some of the more generic ore types already listed here, but dedication will be rewarded with fairly decent armor around early to mid-game.
- Bilegulch Mine, near Fort Sungard: Up to 9 veins.
- Dushnikh Mine, near Markarth: Up to 7 veins.
- Mor Khazgur Mine, near Karthwasten: Up to 7 veins.
- Giant's Grove, inside Fallowstone Cave near Riften: Up to 4 veins.
5 Quicksilver Ore
Quicksilver is a bit more of a niche ore just like Orichalcum, and is used in the making of Elven armor. Elven armor is an early mid-game armor that's decent for light armor wearers, making it worth crafting for any light armor specialists. It's quite difficult to find in Skyrim and is best purchased due to how rare it is.
- Quicksilver Mine, in Dawnstar: Up to 5 veins and a few ore pieces.
- Near the Wreck of the Brinehammer, near Dawnstar: Up to 3 veins.
- Blind Cliff Bastion, near Markarth: Up to 3 veins.
- Blackreach: An estimation of up to 3 veins.
4 Geode Vein
During the Dragonborn's adventures, they might come across something called geode veins. These shimmering rocks are only found in Blackreach, which has an approximate number of 22 veins and potentially even more. It's also possible to find geode veins on Solstheim.
Geode veins have the chance of dropping a variety of resources. It can either be a precious gem, corundum ore, or even the precious and rare ebony ore. Some veins also produce soul gems of all different varieties, so these veins are always worth mining when coming across due to their rarity and good yield.
3 Moonstone Ore
Light armor specialists who would like to improve their Elven armor or even create Glass armor will need quite a bit of Moonstone ore to do so. This ore is extremely precious and expensive, which is why finding it in loot is key to save some gold.
- Mzulft, near Riften: Up to 7 veins.
- Soljund's Sinkhole, near Karthspire Camp: Up to 5 veins.
- Southfringe Sanctum, near Helgen: Up to 3 veins.
- Blackreach: Up to 2 veins.
- Stony Creek Cave, near Windhelm: Up to 2 veins.
2 Malachite Ore
When it comes to Glass armor and weapons, Malachite ore is absolutely necessary for its crafting and improvement, along with Moonstone ore. Malachite ore is even more uncommon in the wild than Moonstone ore, and it's just as expensive as Moonstone ore. One piece of it can cost up to 30 gold, so players should definitely mine it themselves.
- Dimhollow Cavern, near the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon: Up to 8 veins. Requires Dawnguard DLC to access.
- Steamscorch Mine, near Kynesgrove: Up to 7 veins.
- Labyrinthian: Up to 7 pieces of raw ore.
- Ruunvald Excavation, near Shor's Stone: Up to 4 veins.
1 Ebony Ore
No doubt the most wanted ore in the game, Ebony ore is used in the making of Ebony armor and gear, which is one of the best armors for heavy armor specialists. One piece of Ebony ore can sell for 60 gold, which goes to show how rare and highly coveted this ore is. That said, it's actually not the rarest ore, given how abundant its veins are in certain locations in Skyrim.
- Gloombound Mine, near Windhelm: Up to 16 veins and an abundance of ore pieces.
- Raven Rock Mine, on Solstheim in the Dragonborn DLC: Up to 9 veins.
- Blackreach: Up to 6 veins.
- Redbelly Mine, right at Shor's Stone: Up to 3 veins.
With over 30 apparel enchantments available, Skyrim players are spoiled for choice. Here are the best armor enchantments, ranked.