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"I'm a simple man. Give me a good meal, a warm bed, and a handful of jewels."

- Covetous Shen(src)

Covetous Shen is a jeweler and character in Diablo III. Very talkative, he can annoy The Nephalem with his ramblings on certain occasions.


"Oh, yes, yes, yes. Well, memories are useless, aren’t they? You can’t eat them or sell them for food. I’m glad that I’m starting to lose them!"

- Covetous Shen(src)

Shen has gone by many names throughout his life, the alias "Covetous Shen" being the latest.[2] He has, at times, been compared to Zei, the Trickster God in Xiansian mythology; it is implied several times that the connection might go deeper than mere comparison.[3] He does not deny that he is far from normal, and has lived longer than a normal man.[4]

Early Life and Adventures[]

Shen hails from Xiansai,[2] a land he would come to express negative sentiment about.[5] He left due to his wanderlust.[2] During his youth, he had "interesting experiences" with Zakarum priestesses.[5] Another interesting experience Shen had at a (relatively) young age was during the Festival of Masks, where a woman stole his money pouch, with only a kiss in return. Mask still attached, Shen chased her halfway across the city's rooftops. He lost her, but still remembered her laugh.[4]

Shen claims to have met Zoltun Kulle at some point in the past, considering him to be "perfectly reasonable" for a Mage.[6]

During his travels, Shen came to search for a cursed jewel,[3] said jewel containing a terrible creature named Dirgest.[4] It had killed thousands, and could not be held without harm by anyone but himself. The jewel had, in Shen's own words, taken everything and everyone from him that mattered. The danger it presented was, in his view, similar to that of the Black Soulstone.[7] He spent his life searching for it.[4] One location his search took him to was Skovos, said adventure including sea monsters and poisoned arrows. It evaded his grasp, but the adventure wasn't entirely without gain, as, when the theater's ceiling collapsed, he literally fell into the arms of the woman who would be his seventh wife.[1]

Shen once travelled with a Vecin wagon tribe for six months. He later commented that it was one of the happiest times of his life. It came to an end when he drunk too much flaming cider, and ended up in a married woman's bed with his trousers on his head. It was at this point that her husband came in. He had to leave in a hurry, but followed the wagon train for three more months, sneaking into her wagon whenever her husband fell asleep.[8]

During his travels, Shen came to Khanduras, where he saw King Leoric when he was building his manor, though never knew the monarch personally.[5]

Shen was married to Myriam Jahzia at one point.[9] Their relationship was sexual in nature.[10]

The Orphan and the Jeweler[]

The Orphan and the Jeweler

Shen in Zhou

The End of Days[]

Jewels in the East[]

"Poor young man. If I had known the crucible was cursed, I never would have brought him along. If you come see me in Caldeum, I can show you how the crucible can combine jewel fragments, hehe. Well, you know, I have been searching for a certain jewel for a long, long time. I’m in no rush, but maybe if I go with you, I’ll find it just like I found this crucible. May I come with you on your journey and make glorious jewelry for you?"

- Shen joins The Nephalem(src)

CovetousShen Portrait

Covetous Shen

In 1285, Shen was in Caldeum's aqueducts, searching for a crucible that could combine jewel fragments. Upon finding it, his guide, Gavin, stole his crucible, and stuffed Shen in a barrel, where he was recued by The Nephalem. They found Gavin, but the crucible was cursed, and had turned him into a monster. Defeating him, Shen retrieved the crucible and offered his services to The Nephalem. They agreed.[11] The truth was, Shen suspected that they might have an eventual hand in finding the jewel he sought. Until then, he would provide them with his services.[2] He remained evasive as to his true identity, frustrating The Nephalem to no end.[11]

Shen realized that the jewel he sought wasn't in Kehjistan. When The Nephalem retrieved the Black Soulstone, he asked if he could study it. The Nephalem was wary, but Shen pointed out that he was well versed in the knowledge of jewels and ancient stones, and that the object he sought was potentially just as dangerous.[7]

Prime Evil[]

After the defeat of Belial, Shen followed The Nephalem to Bastion's Keep. When The Nephalem prepared to head out of the fortress to confront Azmodan, he told them to bundle up, in order to protect themselves from the cold.[12] He suggested that after Azmodan was defeated, the heroes could travel with him.[13] This wasn't to pass however, as the heroes had to enter Heaven itself to thwart Diablo's invasion.[14]

Because of Adria's betrayal, sacrificing Leah to allow Diablo to be reborn, Shen fell into despair, his shift in demeanor noticed by The Nephalem. He expected that his life was at an end, though since the whole world was about to end, and he'd lived a long life, maybe that wasn't so bad. Still, he urged them to find hope where they could, and resolved that, with the fate of Sanctuary hanging in the balance, he had to set aside all thoughts of Dirgest's jewel for now.[15] He suggested that Leah's soul could still endure, despite the Nephalem's doubts.[16] He suggested that after Diablo was defeated, they could travel together in search of Dirgest's jewel.[17]

Towards the end of the battle, Shen dropped his usually jovial demeanor, and confided to the Nephalem that he could hardly bear to think of Dirgest's jewel, that The Nephalem had to save them. In this, the Nephalem was successful, defeating Diablo. Overjoyed, Shen declared that it would be a story he would tell for many years...and that he wouldn't leave out the part he himself played.[18]

Chasing the Jewel[]

Soon after coming to Westmarch along with The Nephalem, Shen told a tale about Zei, the thief who once cheated a demon god, Dirgest, in an attempt to seize his most prized possession, Liria. Zei imprisoned the demon inside a priceless jewel, the one Shen had been looking for all this time, but not before Dirgest slew Liria and everyone Zei held dear.

Once the gates to Pandemonium opened, Shen revealed that the jewel was buried in the Unearthed Ruins close to the city. Together they managed to fight their way through the ruins, only to discover, much to Shen's horror, that the jewel had been shattered, and the demon god has been freed from his imprisonment. After the Nephalem defeated Vekriss, the demon guarding Liria's spirit, Shen suddenly changed his manner of speaking beyond recognition. Liria's liberated soul asked Shen if he was Zei (as did Vekriss before the battle), to which he replied he was just a simple jeweler, and that Zei was long gone, but sadly said he was happy to see Liria's face one final time. Later in Westmarch, despite all attempts of The Nephalem to get some answers, he only explained that now it was crucial for him to find Dirgest, no matter the cost.[19]

At some point prior to these events, foreseeing that he might meet Dirgest one day, Shen had made a precious jewel to face him, but eventually traded it for food.[20]

Hunting Dirgest[]

"Covetous Shen remains an enigmatic figure. Tantalizing hints (mostly offered by Shen himself) suggest that he might have even been the mortal incarnation of the thief god who imprisoned Dirgest. Little has been seen of Shen since he left on a mission to recapture the demon. Somehow, I doubt he is gone for good."

Shen disappeared not long after his brief reunion with Lira. He took little with him when he departed, leaving the tools of his trade behind. The tools became objects of interest to fellow jewelers, who believed that such tools could produce works like what Shen was able to accomplish.

Over the next fifty years, little was seen of him. To Lorath Nahr's best knowledge, he remained focused on his quest to recapture Dirgest.[21]


In the events of Diablo III, Shen provides the Nephalem with Jewel-crafting services (combining gems and adding or removing them from items), after rescuing him from a barrel in Waterlogged Passage in Caldeum. The hero proceeds to kill Shen's possessed companion, Gavin, after he touched a cursed crucible. Shen will then be found at the base camp of the Act, where he provides Jewel-crafting services or conversation. Exhausting his dialogue earns the Everybody Loves Shen achievement. In Reaper of Souls, Shen can also craft jewelry, including the Hellfire Rings and Hellfire Amulets.

As with all artisans, Shen only needs to be recruited once per account. He will be present in New Tristram, from the beginning, in all subsequent play-throughs on all difficulty levels. He will briefly disappear from his normal spot when the player reaches his recruitment quest, but will return following quest completion.

Stolen Ring was once owned by Shen. A Legendary Gem called Shen's Delight was supposed to appear in game, but it was cut prior to release of the content patch.

Personality and Traits[]

"You know, there is nothing in the world quite so perfect as jewels. They have color, size, shape... transparency."

- Covetous Shen(src)


Covetous Shen

Shen is filled with wanderlust and has a carefree nature, giving every appearance of being a man without ambition, and trusting in fate to guide him to where he needs to be. Shen’s lax attitude only changes when jewels are involved. His greed for glittering precious stones is legendary; he may even love them more than he loves his own life. "Covetous" is a name that he lives up to,[2] though he claims to not be greedy. In fact, while he's had well over seven wives over the course of his life, he's never had more than two at the same time.[1] His tenth wife was a Barbarian, two heads taller than Shen himself. Shen also enjoyed mocking the Nephalem by evading any direct answers regarding who he really is, giving hints that Shen is much, much more than a simple jeweler.[4]

For all his mysteries, Shen is widely known for his skill working with precious metals and stones. It is said that his genius can turn the lowliest bauble into a powerful relic, so long as the customer can pay the price. Stories also say that he would sometimes refuse to sell his work, at a cost to his business, simply because he loved his jewels and saw them as his children. Shen's tools appeared shabby, and many of them were ancient, while others were of poor or rustic quality. Many jewelers refuse to believe that such tools could produce work like Shen's. Lorath Nahr knew little on the subject of crafting, but made two notes. First, enchanted objects didn't always look like enchanted objects. Second, with enough skill, perhaps the tool mattered less than the artisan.[21]

Shen constantly wears the same set of clothing. He doesn't even bundle up for the cold, instead stuffing fire opals in his pockets and under his shirts, keeping him warm.[12]


This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article.
  • James Hong provided the voice of Covetous Shen.
  • Due to game mechanics, in Act II Shen is not present at his usual spot immediately before and during the quest that involves saving him from the Ancient Aqueducts. His shop can be accessed as normal during that time, though.
  • In The Sanctuary Tarot Deck and Guidebook, Shen represents the Nine of Pentacles card.

Cultural References[]

  • Manners of Covetous Shen may be a reference to Big Trouble in Little China, specifically to David Lo Pan (played by the aforementioned James Hong). Moreover, Covetous Shen is found trapped inside a barrel, which upon hearing all his dialogue grants an achievement called "Big Trouble in Talking Barrel".
  • "Covetous" is a synonym for "greedy". "Shen" is the Hanyu Pinyin for both the surname "沈", and "神" which mean god/deity, each pronounced with a different tone. Shen's name is given as "沈老貪" in the Chinese version of the The Orphan and the Jeweler, which is literally "Shen the Covetous".
  • A "Shen's Delights" attraction features in the Blizzard World map in Overwatch.


Act I
Adenah the Curio Vendor
Arghus the Collector
Beleaguered Farmer
Brother Malachi the Healer
Bron the Barkeep
Captain Rumford
Caravan Leader
Crazed Hermit
Deckard Cain
Ghost of the Cow King
Kyr the Weaponsmith
Lady Dunhyld
Lloigor the Crazed
Mayor Holus
Mira Eamon
Nek the Brawler
Queen Asylla
Radek the Fence
Rodger the Alchemist
Tashun the Miner
The Ferryman
Vendel the Armorsmith
Wandering Tinker
Willa Rathe
Wounded Man
Act II
Brother Ghaine the Healer
Captain Davyd
Captain Ravan
Caravan Leader
Hakan II
Iron Wolf Jarulf
Javad the Merchant
Lieutenant Vachem
Lugo the Miner
Mehtan the Necromancer
Nek the Brawler
Sadeir the Innkeeper
Silmak the Fence
Squirt the Peddler
Tilnan the Collector
Zaven the Alchemist
Zoltun Kulle
Andreus the Healer
Botulph the Miner
Captain Haile
Former Mayor Holus
Garell the Quartermaster
Halmin the Alchemist
Ironsmith Maldonado
Lieutenant Clyfton
Lieutenant Lavail
Lieutenant Merityn
Litton the Fence
Messenger Martyns
Nek the Brawler
Private Mattius
Sergeant Burroughs
Sergeant Dalen
Sergeant Pale
Vidar the Collector
Act IV
Andreus the Healer
Botulph the Miner
Captain Haile
Garell the Quartermaster
Litton the Fence
Nek the Brawler
Act V
Brother Anselm
Brother Francis
Captain Vonn
Diadra the Scholar
General Torion
Lady Serena
Lorath Nahr
Lord Harold Snowe
Master Crusader
Master Necromancer Ordan
Mehtan the Necromancer
Nek the Brawler
Patriarch Anisim
Powell the Miner
Sergeant Samuels
Zayl (Humbart Wessel)
Adventure Mode
Abd al-Hazir
Dane Bright
Djank Mi'em the PTR Vendor (PTR only)
Daivin the Adventurer
High Cleric
King Kanai
Lorath Nahr
Quentin Sharpe
The Crazed Man
Covetous Shen
Haedrig Eamon
Myriam Jahzia
Zoltun Kulle (Kanai's Cube)