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Brandon wrote a very simple but great email to me recently:
"If i get $25 in gems should i turn it all into gold?"
The short answer is no, not entirely. Since there is some risk involved with the following method, I highly recommend converting some of the gems into gold. Make 1/3 to 1/2 of them.
With the remaining gems, grab a bunch of black lion keys. Next, open black lion chests hoping for mini pets which you can then sell for more gold than you would have gotten from converting all the gems outright.
It's a risk, but usually worth it.