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There are six graphics for jewels, but these have no connection to their mods or properties in any way. They are just pretty in their variety. A keen eye will also notice that they are all, in fact, the same icon inverted and recolored six times. Socketed jewels (and Runes) don't do anything to change the colour of an item either, unlike gems.
Jewels are often the best thing to socket in an item. Their best benefits are resistances, Increased Attack Speed, and damage, both physical and elemental. The bonuses you get to mana and hit points and many other things are nice also, but are less than you can get from gems or common Runes.
The real benefit of jewels is that they can give their bonus from items that gems and runes don't. For example, it's easy to add 19% resist all with a perfect diamond, but that's only in a shield. You can get up to 15% resist all in a helm or armor or weapon from a jewel. An important strategic note for those using attack-upgrading jewels: if you use two weapons at once (Barbarian/Assassin) it is much better to use an attack-upgrading jewel in socketed armor or helms. This will bestow the bonus upon both attacks, rather than just the one weapon in which the jewel has been inserted.
See the Jewels Affixes Page for a listing of every possible affix on a jewel, with some commentary about which are the most useful.
Rare or Magical Jewels?
The Rare jewels are uncommon finds, and they can look very shiny, with up to four mods, but you'll very seldom see one with any mods you really want. You only have one socket in most of your best equipment (Rare, Set, Unique, Crafted) so you want to add something really top notch. A Rare jewel with 4 mediocre mods is not better than a magical jewel with 1 or 2 really good modifiers. You can re-roll Rare jewels with the 6 perfect skull recipe in the Horadric Cube, but this has an Ilvl 40 max affix limit, which makes getting good mods even more difficulty.
It's hard to configure a dream jewel, since many of the best mods are magical only. Here are a few lists of the best affixes for various purposes. Full Jewel Affix list here.
The real benefit of jewels is that you could put these damage ones into your helm or shield or armor, and get the same benefits, on top of having a really good damaging weapon. The +%damage jewels don't work right when socketed into non-weapons, and if you put all damage jewels into your equipment, you'll likely have problems getting enough resistances and hit recovery and such from just your jewelry, boots, gloves, and belt. But the choice is yours.
|Magical: Damage-Dealing Jewel|
|Prefixes (Pick One)||Suffixes (Pick One)|
| Ruby: 40% Enhanced Damage
Crimson*: +8 Minimum Damage
Vermillion: +15 Maximum Dmg
Argent*: +100 AR
Diamond*: +40% Dmg, 50 AR vs. Demons
Pearl*: +50% Dmg, 50 AR vs. Undead
Fervor: Increased Attack Speed
| * Theses Affixes are available on Rares as well.|
• The best magical jewel is probably a Ruby of Fervor or Carnage.
• Fervor (IAS) is the best weapon Jewel affix in most cases.
|Rare: Damage-Dealing Jewel|
|Prefixes (Pick Two)||Suffixes (Pick Two)|
Realgar: 30% Enhanced Damage
Wrath: +9 Maximum Dmg
| An ideal rare could do:
For Defensive Jewels, there is very little difference between Magic and Rare. The most important difference is that Scintillating (11-15% resist all) is magic-only. However you can get up to 10% resist all on a Rare. Also the top bonuses to life and mana can't be found on Rares, but those are weak bonuses that can easily be made up with a small charm each.
|Rare Defensive Jewel|
|Prefixes (Pick Two)||Suffixes (Pick Two)|
Shimmering: 10% Resist All
Truth: 7% Faster Hit Recovery
Prefixes beat Suffixes badly on for defensive bonuses. The dream defensive Rare Jewel:
40% Resist Lightning
40% Resist Fire
10% Resist Cold
10% Resist Poison
Overall it's possible to make items with Jewels that are even better than Runewords (this was the case in v1.09, but not after v1.10 when new, far more powerful runewords were added). Assuming 4 perfect Rare jewels, you could fashion four-socket armor with 90% Resist All and +36 each to Str/Dex/Vit. Or change a bit, get 27 each to Str/Vit/Dex and -45% requirements. It's possible to get up to 160% Resist to 3 elements, and 40% to the fourth.
Damage is off the charts too. Just in a six socket weapon you could have +6-600 lightning, +150-300 fire, up to +180% damage, and +108 max/min Damage, or a ton of poison damage, or cold, or throw in a magical or two and have 15% or 30% IAS.
And of course you can mix and match. Picture a Sorceress or Necromancer with a six-socket one-handed weapon with all defensive jewels? Over 100% resistance to all, +54 Energy and Strength. Or change a few suffixes and still have 30 or 40 to Strength, with other benefits. Covering so many of your needs with one item would leave so much freedom for the rest of your gear.
Obviously Jewels with such awesome modifiers aren't found often, and never in any quantity, but non-magical items with a lot of sockets could potentially be turned into the most Uber items in the game, and that's just with Jewels. Mix in some very rare Runes and the possibilities are almost endless.
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• Hand of Justice