The Quality of an item in the world of Terraria is determined by the color of its name. There are currently Fifteen tiers of item quality.
Note that all items which can be reforged can vary in quality by several tiers, depending on which prefix they get. As such, except where otherwise noted, the guidelines below only apply to the base quality of the items in question.
Tier -1: Gray
Tier -1 items are those that have labels such as "Shameful", "Weak", "Annoying", or "Broken" after being crafted or reforged and have a gray name. Generally only Tier 1 items can be reduced to this tier of quality but since 1.2.4, items obtained by fishing such as Tin Can are normally gray quality items. Higher tier items are incapable of reaching Tier -1, even if they have weakening prefixes. All tier -1 items are destroyed by lava that is deep enough to cover approximately 25% of the item.
Tier 0: White
Many items which are craftable early in the game are Tier 0. This Copper Helmet is an example of such an item. With the exceptions of Obsidian, Clay Pots, Living Fire Blocks, Fireblossom, and Fireblossom Seeds, items of this tier are destroyed when in lava that is deep enough to cover approximately 25% of the item.
Tier 1: Blue
Most buff potions, Monster banners, Weapons and Armor made of Demonite or better are Tier 1. Certain accessories such as Lucky Horseshoes are also tier one. Certain uncraftable weapons are tier 1 such as the Ball O' Hurt.
Tier 2: Green
Tier 3: Orange
Weapons and armor made of Hellstone or weapons and armor made of materials in Underground Jungle are tier 3. Certain uncraftable weapons are tier 3, such as the Staff of Regrowth, Feral Claws and the Flower of Fire. These items are usually found later in pre-hard mode.
Tier 4: Light Red
Tier 5: Pink
Certain items at or slightly below the Hallowed tier are naturally Tier 5.
Tier 6: Light Purple
This quality is on late game items (Prior to 1.2) such as anything in the Hallowed Set, Death Sickle, and some items with top-tier effects, such as Legendary, Mythical and Unreal. This can be achieved by reforging items or looting chests. This does not apply to all top-tier forged items. It is also the rarity of the Console exclusive end game items like Tizona or the Dragon Armor.
Tier 7: Lime
This quality is on 1.2 late game items such as the Black Belt, the Life Fruit and weapons and armor made of Chlorophyte . Also used for purple items with great prefixes such as "Unreal" or "Legendary".
Tier 8: Yellow
This quality tier is held by 1.2 endgame items such as the Keybrand, the True Excalibur and the Terra Blade.
A very few pre-hard mode items like the Diamond Ring (vanity item) and the Bundle of Balloons are Tier 8.
All mounts are Tier 8 too.
Tier 9: Cyan
A quality that is achievable by reforging a 1.2 endgame item with a good prefix or by certain 1.3 post-cultists items such as the 4 types of fragments dropped by the Celestial Towers.
Tier 10: Red
This tier is held by the 1.3 endgame items and good tier 8 items (such as the Bundle of Balloons Reforged to Warding, Violent, Menacing, Quick, or Lucky) with a good prefix. Examples of this tier are items crafted from the celestial fragments such as the Vortex Beater and some items dropped from the Moon Lord such as Meowmere.
Tier 11: Purple
A tier that can be achieved by reforging 1.3 endgame items or some tier 9 items with good prefixes.
Expert Tier: Rainbow
Master Tier: Firey Red
Special items that only drop during Master Mode. These include a special pet/mount that can drop from each boss along with placeable relics from each boss.
Quest Tier: Amber
Prior to 1.3, this quality tier concerns all quest fish asked for the Angler and also to Strange Plants. It applies to no other items. Fish that may be obtained without a quest are not considered quest fish.
- If an item has a negative prefix, i.e. Broken, Annoying, etc., the item's rarity may be lowered by 1-2 tiers.
- The same goes for helpful prefixes, i.e. Unreal, Nasty, etc., the item's rarity may be improved by 1-2 tiers.
- Items with tier 1 and above quality are not destroyed when submerged in lava.
- If an item has a -1 Tier, it will not get destroyed by lava.
- Rarely, on the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3, items with negative prefixes may be interpreted by the game as good, raising the tier. The reverse may apply for positive prefixes.