|Release date||15 January 2008 (Update)|
|High alch||15 coins|
|Low alch||10 coins|
|Store price|| 25 coins|
|Exchange price||24 coins (info)|
|Examine||Shards of an obelisk. Used in Summoning (1) for training and production.|
Spirit shards are used in the Summoning skill along with charms to create pouches to summon Familiars. Players can purchase spirit shards from Pikkupstix in Taverley (at the starting point of the Wolf Whistle quest) for 25 coins each, and at the other Summoning Shops (including the Pet shops). 65,000 spirit shards are in stock. Players who desire large numbers of shards may also buy Spirit shard packs from Pikkupstix, each of which contains 5000 spirit shards at a cost of 125,000 gp. 65,000 spirit shard packs are in stock, effectively giving the stores infinite stocks of spirit shards, as they restock about 3 shards per second.
Spirit shards may be sold to any store for 25 gold each.
During the weekend of 25 January 2013, Spirit shards replaced gold prizes on the Squeal of Fortune, with the exception of the 200M jackpot prize, the shards that could be won were worth double the value of the gold prizes they replaced.
Long before Summoning was released, in the time of RuneScape Classic, Jagex developed the Life rune, but never released it. It was meant for Summoning, as by then it was meant to be a part of the Magic skill. This changed afterwards, because magic was getting big enough with the other spellbooks, like ancients. As Summoning isn't part of magic, runes couldn't be used. That way, they had to think of something else: Spirit shards.
When Summoning was released, spirit shards were 50 coins each. This high price stirred a lot of criticism from players who felt they were too expensive. Players also complained that familiars were not very useful. Jagex initially countered that the price of shards and the number needed for each pouch type was carefully considered and meant to balance the true worth of the summoned familiar. However, in the face of continuing complaints - and possibly as economic changes resulting from the game modifications interrupting Real-World Trading and Unbalanced Trade became apparent - Jagex made several changes trying to address the concerns of players regarding the Summoning skill.
In the Summoning Changes update of the 17 January 2008 (just two days after Summoning was released), they decreased the shard price from 50 to 25 coins each. In the Summoning 2 update of the 31 March 2008, they made several changes to make the familiars themselves more cost-effective and useful.
Until September 2009, spirit shards were a "junk" item that were rarely bought for 25 coins each. Players often sold spirit shards for 20 coins or lower each, plus junk, on the forums. It was also possible to buy pouches and swap to Bogrog to obtain shards cheaper than 25 coins each without junk. For example, a granite lobster pouch worth about 2700 coins on the Grand Exchange gave 117 shards (2925 coins at 25 each), which is under 23.1 coins per shard.
Originally, spirit shards could not be traded on the Grand Exchange, but in September 2008, Jagex made it so players can buy spirit shards on the Grand Exchange, with a median price of 25 coins, and a buy limit of 10,000 per four hours.
In September 2009, Jagex removed the infinite stock of spirit shards from the shops, instead giving them a personalized stock of 65,000. Many players complained that this was too low of a stock, especially combined with the "Buy-500" instead of "Buy-X". In response, Jagex created Spirit shards packs, effectively returning infinite stock of Spirit shards. An option to sell spirit shards to pet store owners (such as the one in Yanille) was also added. Due to the Free Trade/Wilderness Update on the 1st of February, pet shops no longer have a 50,000 shard maximum sell limit per transaction; you can now just enter the amount of spirit shards you'd like to sell.
Spirit shards may be used to replace money due to their guaranteed buy and sell price of 25 coins each. This is useful for players who have over the cash limit of 2,147,483,647 coins. It is also used for players who are trading for items that are worth more than the maximum cash. For example, the street value of a Christmas cracker is around 3.5b coins. Since players cannot hold (and thus trade) 3.5b coins at once, they can instead trade 140m shards for a Christmas cracker, or coins + shards to equal the amount.
An ogre, called Bogrog, has the ability to exchange shards for completed pouches. Bogrog is at the obelisk and Summoning shop near the entrance to the ogre city of Gu'Tanoth. He will swap out summoning pouches for 70% of the shards it took to make it, rounded up to the nearest whole shard. He will only return about 30% of the shards for summoning scrolls.
However, players need minimum Summoning levels, which begin at 21 and increases for higher summoning pouches. For example, a spirit terrorbird pouch requires level 52 Summoning and 12 spirit shards to make. Trading it to Bogrog requires level 58 Summoning, and yields 9 spirit shards in return.
Players with access to Prifddinas may prefer to use Lord Amlodd who will exchange pouches on the same terms as Bogrog. Having completed the Hard Tirannwn tasks will make Lord Amlodd swap pouches for roughly 10% more shards.