How to upgrade rare and unique items in Diablo 2: Resurrected

Make the best weapons and armor even better.

Screenshot by Gamepur

To upgrade a rare or unique item in Diablo 2: Resurrected, you have to make a particular Horadric Cube recipe. The recipe varies depending on the item you want to upgrade, but it always involves a Perfect gem, and those don’t drop on Normal difficulty except at the Hellforge, where you always get one. It’s possible for them to drop randomly from Act I on Nightmare onwards, but highly improbable that early on, so you probably won’t get your first random Perfect gem until you’re quite some way into the game on Nightmare difficulty.

Related: Where to find Skin of the Vipermagi in Diablo 2: Resurrected

Upgrading a rare or unique item leaves its modifiers untouched, but improves the base weapon from Normal to Exceptional, or from Exceptional to Elite. So, its basic stats, such as damage and defense, will improve. If those basic stats are subject to percentage based modifiers, then the upgrade can make a very big difference indeed.

The recipes for upgrading rare and unique items are as follows:

Rare Items (yellow)

Normal rare armor to Exceptional

  • Normal rare armor
  • Thul rune
  • Ral rune
  • Perfect Amethyst

Normal rare weapon to Exceptional

  • Normal rare weapon
  • Amn rune
  • Ort rune
  • Perfect Sapphire

Exceptional rare armor to Elite

  • Exceptional rare armor
  • Pul rune
  • Ko rune
  • Perfect Amethyst

Exceptional rare weapon to Elite

  • Exceptional rare weapon
  • Um rune
  • Fal rune
  • Perfect Sapphire

Unique Items (gold, which looks more like pale brown)

Normal unique armor to Exceptional

  • Normal unique armor
  • Shael rune
  • Tal rune
  • Perfect Diamond

Normal unique weapon to Exceptional

  • Normal unique weapon
  • Sol rune
  • Ral rune
  • Perfect Emerald

Exceptional unique armor to Elite

  • Exceptional unique armor
  • Lem rune
  • Ko rune
  • Perfect Diamond

Exceptional unique weapon to Elite

  • Exceptional unique weapon
  • Lum rune
  • Pul rune
  • Perfect Emerald