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How to find Smithing Stones and upgrade weapons in Elden Ring

Elden Ring screen shot
(Image credit: FromSoftware Inc.)

Elden Ring is a difficult game, and to see it through to the end, you’ll need every advantage at your disposal. Upgrading your weapon is one of the simplest ways to make the game feel more manageable. In fact, weapon upgrades can have an even more dramatic effect than improving your attributes, since weapon damage tends to increase faster than damage based on your stats alone.

However, upgrading weapons in Elden Ring can be a bit of a challenge, as you can’t just spend some Runes and be done with it. Instead, weapon upgrades require Smithing Stones: rare, valuable minerals that blacksmiths can use to empower your gear. As you play the game, you’ll acquire Smithing Stones naturally through careful exploration, lucky enemy drops and direct purchase. But if you’re having trouble with a tough section of the game and need a quick boost, here’s how you can find Smithing Stones and channel them into weapon upgrades.

How to find Smithing Stones

elden ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Before we discuss how to find Smithing Stones, it’s worth noting exactly what they do. Smithing Stones are a resource for upgrading every “normal” weapon you’ll find in the game — a broadsword, a morning star, a longbow, a spear, etc. Generally speaking, any weapon you can get from a shop or enemy drop is a regular weapon, whereas any weapon you can find only once through playthrough, either in a treasure chest or by defeating a boss, is a “unique” weapon. For those, you’ll need Somber Smithing Stones — see the following section for more details.

Smithing Stones come in nine different grades. The first eight are easy enough to distinguish: Smithing Stone (1), Smithing Stone (2), Smithing Stone (3) and so forth. However, to max out a weapon, you’ll need a rare resource called an Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone. There are only about a dozen of these items in the game, so you’ll have to be judicious with them.

As mentioned above, you can find Smithing Stones almost anywhere in the Lands Between. Treasure chests contain them; enemies drop them; merchants sell them. As such, it’s impossible to discuss the location of every single one in the game. Yet, Smithing Stone rarity tends to scale with where you are in the game. Early-game areas contain Smithing Stones (1) and (2), for example, while late-game areas offer Smithing Stones (7) and (8). Here are a few general locations to search:

  • Smithing Stone (1): Limgrave, Stormhill, Mistwood
  • Smithing Stone (2): Stormhill, Stormveil Castle, Weeping Peninsula
  • Smithing Stone (3): Stormveil Castle, Ainsel River, Ruin-Strewn Precipice
  • Smithing Stone (4): Siofra River, Raya Lucaria Academy, Gael Tunnel
  • Smithing Stone (5): Nokron, Altus Tunnel, Sellia Crystal Tunnels
  • Smithing Stone (6): Leyndell Royal Capital, Volcano Manor, Deeproot Depths
  • Smithing Stone (7): Subterranean Shunning-Grounds, Moghwyn Palace, Miquella’s Haligtree
  • Smithing Stone (8): Consecrated Snowfield, Yelough Anix Tunnel, Miquella’s Haligtree
  • Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone: Consecrated Snowfield, Miquella’s Haligtree, Crumbling Farum Azula

How to buy Smithing Stones

elden ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

You can also buy Smithing Stones if you find the proper items. Once in a while, you’ll come across an optional dungeon with an item called a Bell Bearing. By returning these Bell Bearings to Roundtable Hold, you can then purchase all the Smithing Stones you’d ever want. (Except for Ancient Dragon Stones; those are strictly limited.) Simply offer the Bell Bearing to the Twin Maiden Husks just past Gideon Ofnir’s study.

  • Smithing-Stone Miner’s Bell Bearing (1): Explore Raya Lucaria Crystal Tunnel and defeat the Crystalian. This lets you purchase Smithing Stone (1) and (2)
  • Smithing-Stone Miner’s Bell Bearing (2): Explore the Sealed Tunnel and open a treasure chest. This lets you purchase Smithing Stone (3) and (4)
  • Smithing-Stone Miner’s Bell Bearing (3): Explore the Zamor Ruins and open a treasure chest. This lets you purchase Smithing Stone (5) and (6)
  • Smithing-Stone Miner’s Bell Bearing (4): Explore Crumbling Farum Azula and defeat the Godskin Duo. This lets you purchase Smithing Stone (7) and (8)

How to find Somber Smithing Stones

elden ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Whereas Smithing Stones upgrade regular weapons, Somber Smithing Stones upgrade special or unique weapons. Regular weapons will take you most of the way through Elden Ring. But if you want to tackle some of the game’s tougher bosses or get involved in the demanding player-versus-player (PvP) scene, you’ll need something a little fancier. That’s where Somber Smithing Stones come in.

Upgrading unique weapons is actually a little more straightforward than upgrading regular ones. Regular weapons have 25 ranks, each of which requires a different amount of Smithing Stones. By contrast, unique weapons have only 10 ranks, and you need only one Somber Smithing Stone per level. Somber Smithing Stones range from (1) to (9), with a limited number of Somber Ancient Dragon Stones available toward the endgame.

Like Smithing Stones, Somber Smithing Stones are all over the place, and you can find them by exploring thoroughly and defeating every enemy you come across. If you need a particular rank, though, here are a few places to search:

  • Sober Smithing Stone (1): Limgrave, Stormveil, Morne Tunnel
  • Somber Smithing Stone (2): Weeping Peninsula, Liurnia of the Lakes, Raya Lucaria Tunnel
  • Somber Smithing Stone (3): Liurnia of the Lakes, Raya Lucaria Tunnel, Raya Lucaria Academy
  • Somber Smithing Stone (4): Nokron, Sellia Crystal Tunnels, Ruin-Strewn Precipice
  • Somber Smithing Stone (5): Altus Plateau, Sealed Tunnel, Nokron
  • Somber Smithing Stone (6): Mt. Gelmir, Old Altus Tunnel, Deeproot Depths
  • Somber Smithing Stone (7): Nokstella, Lake of Rot, Consecrated Snowfield
  • Somber Smithing Stone (8): Consecrated Snowfield, Lake of Rot, Yelough Anix Tunnel
  • Somber Smithing Stone (9): Crumbling Farum Azula, Elphael, Consecrated Snowfield
  • Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone: Elphael, Crumbling Farum Azula, Moghwyn Palace

How to buy Somber Smithing Stones

elden ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Like regular Smithing Stones, Somber Smithing Stones are also available from the Twin Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold. You just need to find the corresponding Bell Bearings:

  • Somberstone Miner’s Bell Bearing (1): Explore Sellia Crystal Tunnel and defeat the Fallingstar Beast. This lets you purchase Somber Smithing Stone (1) and (2)
  • Somberstone Miner’s Bell Bearing (2): Explore Altus Tunnel and defeat the Crystalian Duo. This lets you purchase Somber Smithing Stone (3) and (4)
  • Somberstone Miner’s Bell Bearing (3): Explore the First Church of Marika and search on the ground. This lets you purchase Somber Smithing Stone (5) and (6)
  • Somberstone Miner’s Bell Bearing (4): Explore Crumbling Farum Azula and search near the Tempest-Facing Balcony. This lets you purchase Somber Smithing Stone (7) and (8)
  • Somberstone Miner’s Bell Bearing (5): Explore Crumbling Farum Azula and search near the Beside the Great Bridge Site of Lost Grace. This lets you purchase Somber Smithing Stone (9)

How to upgrade weapons

elden ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Once you have your Smithing Stones in hand, you’ll need to figure out how to upgrade your weapons in Elden Ring. Thankfully, this is the easy part of the process. While you can upgrade your own gear up to +3 at the Church of Elleh, this won’t take you very far in the game. Instead, work your way to Roundtable Hold and find Master Hewg, the blacksmith. He can upgrade both your regular and unique weapons. Just be sure to bring along some Runes, as he doesn’t work for free.

There’s actually one other blacksmith in Elden Ring, although functionally, he can perform the same upgrades as Master Hewg. (Iji also sells a few useful items, though.) You can find Iji just past the Kingsrealm Ruins in northern Liurnia. Since Iji is a giant, he’s hard to miss. If you advance Ranni the Witch’s quest far enough, however, Iji will eventually become unavailable.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.