The quality of an item in the world of Terraria is determined by the color of its name. There are currently eleven 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 that have labels such as "Shameful", "Weak", "Annoying", or "Broken" after being crafted or reforged will become gray. Generally only Tier 1 items can be reduced to this tier of quality. Higher tier items are incapable of this.
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, 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
Tier 2: Green
Tier 3: Orange
Weapons and armor made of Hellstone are tier 3. Certain uncraftable weapons are tier 3, such as the Staff of Regrowth. Feral Claws and the Flower of Fire are tier 3. These items are usually found later in pre-hardmode.
Tier 4: Red
Tier 5: Pink
Certain items at or slightly below the Hallowed tier are naturally Tier 5.
Tier 6: Purple
This quality is on late game items (Prior to 1.2) such as anything in the Hallowed Set, 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
Tier 8: Yellow
Tier 9: Turquoise
A quality only achievable through 2 ways:
- Reforge a Tier 8 item with a good prefix (eg. Legendary Keybrand), or obtain a Tier 8 item with a prefix when dropped.
- Get one of the items which are impossible to get through normal gameplay (eg. Red's Wings).
Note that this is the final quality tier. Even via reforging items like Red's Wings, this quality tier cannot be topped as of 1.2.
- If an item has a bad prefix (eg. Broken), then it will go down a quality.
- If the item has a -1 Tier, it will not get destroyed by lava.