How to Remove Gemstones From Jewelry

Gemstones add beauty and value to jewelry, but there may come a time when you need to remove them. Whether you want to repurpose the gemstones, replace them with new ones, or repair the piece of jewelry they are in, knowing how to properly remove gemstones is essential. With the right techniques, you can safely take out gemstones without causing any damage or compromising their integrity.

In this article, we will explore various methods and tips for removing gemstones from different types of jewelry settings. From prong-set stones to glued and bezel-set gems, we will cover step-by-step processes to help you successfully remove them without any mishaps. We will also address common challenges that may arise during the removal process and provide troubleshooting solutions.

Before diving into the practical aspects of gemstone removal, it’s important to understand why proper techniques are crucial. Mishandling or using incorrect methods can result in irreversible damage to both the gemstone and the jewelry setting. By following expert advice and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure that your gemstone removal endeavors are successful every time.

So whether you’re a professional jeweler looking for new insights or a beginner eager to learn the ropes, this comprehensive guide will empower you with the knowledge and skills needed to confidently remove gemstones from jewelry. Let’s begin by exploring how to identify different types of gemstones in order to proceed with caution and precision.

Identifying the Type of Gemstone

Gemstone recognition is a crucial skill to possess when it comes to removing gemstones from jewelry. Not all gemstones are created equal, and different types require different techniques for safe removal. This beginner’s guide aims to provide an overview of the most common gemstones and their identifying characteristics, helping jewelry enthusiasts confidently identify the gemstones they encounter.

  • Diamonds: Diamonds are known for their brilliance and durability. They are typically clear or can come in various colors such as yellow, brown, blue, pink, and more. Some key characteristics of diamonds include their hardness (rated 10 on the Mohs scale), high refractive index, and exceptional luster.
  • Rubies: Rubies are known for their intense red color. They are a variety of corundum and rate 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Some rubies may also exhibit asterism-displaying a star-like pattern-known as “star rubies.”
  • Sapphires: Sapphires belong to the corundum family as well but come in a wide range of colors including blue, pink, yellow, purple, green, and even white. Blue sapphires are particularly famous.

Identifying colored gemstones can be more challenging due to their wide variety. However, certain skills can help differentiate between them:

  1. Color: Observe the predominant color of the stone. For example, emeralds are typically green while amethysts can range from light purple to deep violet.
  2. Clarity: Look for any inclusions or impurities within the gemstone. Clearer stones tend to be more valuable.
  3. Cut: Pay attention to how the stone is cut as different gemstones have unique cutting styles. For instance, opals are often cut into cabochons to showcase their play of color.
  4. Hardness: The Mohs scale can be a helpful guide in determining the hardness of a gemstone. It measures a stone’s ability to resist scratches.

By familiarizing themselves with the characteristics of different gemstones, jewelry enthusiasts can confidently move forward with the gemstone removal process, ensuring that each stone is treated with care and precision.

Preparing Your Workspace

Gemstone removal requires a properly set up workspace to ensure efficiency and safety throughout the process. By preparing your workspace with the essential tools and taking necessary safety measures, you can significantly minimize the risk of damage to both yourself and your jewelry. Here are some important steps to consider when setting up your gemstone removal workspace:

Gather the Essential Tools

To efficiently remove gemstones from jewelry, you will need a few specialized tools. Make sure to have these tools ready before you begin:

  • Jewelry Loupe: A magnifying tool that allows you to see details up close will help in identifying gemstones accurately.
  • Tweezers: Fine-pointed tweezers will enable you to pick up and handle small gemstones with precision.
  • Jeweler’s Pliers: Flat-nose or chain-nose pliers are useful for bending and maneuvering prongs or bezels during the removal process.
  • Gem Holder: A gem holder or setting block helps keep the jewelry secure while working on it.
  • Safety Glasses: It is crucial to protect your eyes from flying debris or sharp edges during the removal process.

Ensure Safety Measures

Safety should be a priority when working with gemstone removal. Here are some important safety measures to consider:

  • Work in a Well-lit Area: Proper lighting is essential for accurate identification and safe handling of jewelry.
  • Use a Secure Work Surface: Ensure that your work surface is stable and non-slip to prevent accidents or damages from knocking over tools or jewelry pieces.
  • Keep Your Workspace Organized: Arrange your tools systematically so that everything is easily accessible, reducing the risk of accidental drops or injuries while searching for misplaced items.
  • Wear Protective Gloves: Protective gloves not only safeguard against cuts but also prevent fingerprints or oils from transferring onto gemstones.

By following these steps, you can create an organized and safe environment for efficient gemstone removal. Remember, it is crucial to handle tools and jewelry pieces with care throughout the process to avoid any damage or injuries.

Step-by-Step Process

Removing prong-set gemstones from jewelry requires precision and care to avoid damage to both the gemstone and the piece of jewelry. This process is commonly used for removing diamonds and other precious stones that are held in place by metal prongs. Follow these step-by-step instructions to safely remove prong-set gemstones from your jewelry:

Step 1: Inspect the Prongs

Before attempting to remove a prong-set gemstone, carefully examine the prongs holding it in place. Look for any signs of damage or weakness that could lead to breakage during the removal process. If you notice any issues, it is recommended to seek professional help.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Tools

To remove a prong-set gemstone, you will need a few tools, including a pair of tweezers or pliers with fine tips, a jeweler’s loupe or magnifying glass for better visibility, and a soft cloth or tissue for holding the gemstone securely. It is important to use tools specifically designed for jewelry-making to prevent scratching or damaging the gemstone or setting.

Step 3: Secure the Jewelry Piece

Place the jewelry piece on a stable surface and ensure it is secure before starting the removal process. This will prevent accidental movement or damage during the extraction.

Step 4: Bend Back the Prongs

Using the tweezers or pliers, gently bend back each prong one by one. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as it can cause the prong to snap and potentially scratch or damage the gemstone.

Step 5: Lift Out the Gemstone

Once all prongs have been bent back, carefully lift the gemstone from its setting using the tweezers or pliers. If the gemstone is still stuck, try gently wiggling it back and forth to loosen it. Avoid forcing the gemstone out as it may result in damage.

Remember, if you are unsure about removing prong-set gemstones or if the jewelry piece has sentimental or monetary value, it is always recommended to seek assistance from a professional jeweler.

Safely Removing Glued Gemstones

Removing glued gemstones from jewelry can be a delicate process that requires careful attention to avoid any damage. Glued gemstones are commonly found in various types of jewelry, including earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Whether you are looking to update the design of your jewelry or simply need to replace a damaged gemstone, it is important to follow proper techniques to ensure the safe removal of glued gemstones.

Before attempting to remove a glued gemstone, it is crucial to gather the necessary tools and materials for the task. Some essential items that you will need include tweezers or pliers with a flat tip, a solvent suitable for removing glue (such as acetone or rubbing alcohol), cotton swabs or soft cloths, and a clean workspace with good lighting. Additionally, it may be helpful to have a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe for better visibility.

To start the process, carefully examine the piece of jewelry to determine if any visible adhesive is holding the gemstone in place. If there is no visible adhesive, gently try wiggling the gemstone using your fingers or pliers. If it does not budge easily, there may be glue securing it that is not immediately apparent. In this case, it is recommended to proceed with caution and use a solvent suited for the type of glue used.

Abalone Shell Gemstone Ethnic Jewelry Handmade Necklace

Once you have confirmed that glue is present, dip a cotton swab or soft cloth into the chosen solvent and apply it directly onto the adhesive. Be sure to avoid getting any solvent on other parts of the jewelry as it may cause damage.

Allow the solvent to penetrate through the glue for several minutes, which will help loosen its grip on both the gemstone and jewelry setting. Using gentle pressure from your fingers or pliers, slowly twist and pull on the gemstone until it comes free from its setting.

It is important to note that not all solvents are suitable for all types of gemstones or jewelry settings. Before applying any solvent, it is advisable to consult a professional or reference reliable sources to ensure that you are using the correct product for your specific situation. Additionally, if you are hesitant or feel uncomfortable attempting the removal yourself, it is recommended to seek assistance from a jeweler with experience in gemstone removal.

In summary, removing glued gemstones from jewelry requires patience, attention to detail, and the right tools and materials. By following these tips and tricks, you can safely remove glued gemstones without causing any damage to your precious jewelry.

Tackling Bezel-Set Gemstones

The process of removing bezel-set gemstones from jewelry requires some unique techniques to ensure that the gems are safely extracted without causing damage. Unlike prong-set gemstones, which can be easily extracted by bending or cutting the prongs, bezel-set stones are held in place by a metal collar that surrounds the entire circumference of the stone. This makes their removal slightly trickier but not impossible.

One effective technique for removing bezel-set gemstones is to carefully cut away the metal surrounding the stone. This is best done using a jeweler’s saw with a fine blade. The jeweler must first determine where the bezel ends and mark it accordingly.

Then, using the saw, they can make precise cuts along the marked line until they have freed the bezel from the rest of the piece. It is important to exercise caution while doing this to avoid accidentally scratching or damaging the gemstone.

Another technique involves creating an opening in the bezel that allows for easier access to remove the gemstone. This can be done by gently prying open one side of the bezel using a pair of needle-nose pliers or a small flathead screwdriver. Once an opening has been created, the jeweler can use tweezers or another suitable tool to carefully lift and remove the gemstone from its setting.

In order to minimize any potential damage during the removal process, it is crucial to proceed slowly and gently when working with bezel-set gemstones. Applying too much force or rushing through the process can lead to unintended consequences such as chipping or cracking of delicate gems. Patience and precision are key when tackling these types of settings.

Cutting away metalJeweler’s saw with a fine blade
Prying open bezelNeedle-nose pliers or small flathead screwdriver
Lifting gemstone from openingTweezers or suitable tool

Dealing with Stubborn Gemstones

Gemstones can sometimes become stuck or difficult to remove from jewelry settings. This can be frustrating for jewelry enthusiasts who want to update their pieces or repurpose the gemstones. However, with the right techniques and tools, it is possible to loosen stuck stones and safely remove them without causing any damage. In this section, we will explore effective methods to deal with stubborn gemstones and ensure successful removal.

Assessing the Situation

Before attempting to loosen a stubborn gemstone, it is important to assess the situation and determine the cause of the stone being stuck. Common reasons for stones getting stuck include glue residue, prongs that are bent or misaligned, or dirt and debris build-up around the stone. By understanding what is causing the stone to be stuck, you can choose the most appropriate method for loosening it.

Using Heat

One effective method for dealing with stubborn gemstones is using heat. The application of heat helps to soften any glue that may be holding the stone in place. It is important to note that this method is not suitable for all types of gemstones, as some may be sensitive to heat and could get damaged. Therefore, it is essential to research and understand the specific heating requirements and limitations of each gemstone before attempting this method.

To use heat, a jeweler’s torch or a heat gun can be used carefully and directly on the metal surrounding the stone setting. This gentle application of heat helps in loosening the adhesive used on glued gemstones or even expanding prongs slightly in order to free a prong-set stone.

Using Lubricants

Another way to deal with stubborn gemstones is by using lubricants such as penetrating oils or water-based solvents like rubbing alcohol. These lubricants help in reducing friction between the stone and its setting, making it easier for you to loosen it without damaging other elements of the jewelry.

To use lubricants, you can apply a small amount onto the area where the stone is stuck. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to penetrate and loosen any adhesive or residue. Then, gently try to wiggle or pry the stone loose using tweezers or a jewelry tool designed for stone removal.

By utilizing these effective methods and techniques, you can successfully deal with stubborn gemstones and safely remove them from jewelry settings. However, it is important to exercise caution and seek professional help if you are unsure or uncomfortable attempting the removal process yourself. Always prioritize the safety of yourself and your jewelry throughout the gemstone removal process.

Restoring Jewelry After Gemstone Removal

After successfully removing gemstones from jewelry, the next step is to restore the piece to its original condition or even enhance it further. This section will guide jewelry enthusiasts through the process of cleaning, repairing any damages that may have occurred during removal, and replacing gemstones if necessary.

Cleaning the Jewelry

One of the first steps in restoring jewelry after gemstone removal is to clean the piece thoroughly. Over time, dirt, oils, and other contaminants can accumulate on jewelry and dull its appearance. To clean precious metal settings, a soft toothbrush and mild soap can be used to gently scrub away any grime. Be sure to rinse well with warm water and pat dry with a soft cloth.

For intricate pieces or those with delicate gemstones such as pearls or opals, it may be best to take them to a professional jeweler for cleaning. They have specialized tools and expertise that can ensure no damage is done while restoring the jewelry’s brilliance.

Repairing Damages

During the gemstone removal process, it is not uncommon for some minor damages to occur. Prongs may become misaligned or bent, metal settings could get scratched or dented, or chains may break. It’s essential to carefully inspect the jewelry for any signs of damage before proceeding with restoration.

If there are minor issues such as a bent prong or scratch on the metal setting, these can often be easily repaired by a skilled jeweler. However, more significant damages may require more extensive repairs. Consulting with a professional who specializes in jewelry repair would be beneficial in such cases.

Replacing Gemstones

In some instances, gemstone removal may result in damaging or losing the original stone. If this occurs and you want to maintain the original design of the piece, replacing the gemstone is necessary. When selecting a replacement gemstone, consider factors such as the type of stone, its color and clarity, as well as its size and shape to ensure it matches the other stones in the piece.

A great resource for finding suitable replacement gemstones is through reputable jewelers or gemstone suppliers. They can help you find a quality stone that fits your budget and preferences. Once you have the replacement stone, it’s important to consult with a professional jeweler who can securely set the gemstone without causing damage to the jewelry.

Restoring jewelry after gemstone removal requires careful attention to detail and expertise in handling precious materials. By properly cleaning, repairing any damages, and replacing gemstones when necessary, enthusiasts can enjoy their restored pieces for years to come.

Storing and Preserving Removed Gemstones for Future Use

Once you have successfully removed gemstones from jewelry, it is important to store and preserve them properly for future use. Gemstones are valuable and delicate, so proper storage will help maintain their quality and prevent any damage. Here are some expert tips for storing and preserving removed gemstones:

  1. Clean the Gemstones: Before storing the removed gemstones, it is crucial to clean them thoroughly. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt or residue from the gemstones. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the gemstones.
  2. Individual Packaging: Each gemstone should be stored separately to avoid scratching or damaging each other. Place each gemstone in a small individual container such as a jewelry box or a padded envelope. You can also wrap them individually in tissue paper or fabric pouches.
  3. Labeling: It is essential to label each individual storage container with the type of gemstone it contains. This will make it easier for you to identify and locate specific gemstones when you need them in the future.
  4. Keep Away from Direct Sunlight: Gemstones should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Exposure to excessive heat or sunlight can cause color fading and damage to the gemstone’s structure over time.
  5. Moisture Control: Moisture can cause damage to certain types of gemstones such as Opals and Pearls. To prevent moisture damage, consider adding moisture-absorbing packets or silica gel packs to the storage containers.
Gemstone Jewelry And More

By following these expert tips, you can effectively store and preserve your removed gemstones, ensuring their quality and longevity for future use in your jewelry creations.

  • Clean the Gemstones
  • Individual Packaging
  • Labeling
  • Keep Away from Direct Sunlight
  • Moisture Control

Troubleshooting Common Challenges

Identifying and Addressing Loose Gemstones

During the gemstone removal process, it is not uncommon to encounter loose gemstones. These are gemstones that have become dislodged from their setting or are on the verge of falling out. If you come across a loose gemstone, it is important to handle it with care to avoid any damage.

The first step is to identify how loose the stone is. Gently give the jewelry a shake or tap it against your hand to see if the stone moves or makes a rattling sound. If the stone is fairly secure but just slightly loose, you can try tightening the prongs or bezel that hold it in place.

However, if the stone is completely unsecured, it’s best not to attempt removing it yourself as there is a risk of causing further damage. In this case, consider taking the piece to a professional jeweler who has experience in gemstone removal and can safely secure the stone back into its setting.

If you decide to proceed with removing the loose gemstone on your own, make sure you have a clean workspace and all necessary tools handy. Use tweezers or pliers with fine tips to carefully pick up and remove the stone from its setting. Be sure to work over a soft cloth or cushioned surface in case the stone slips from your grasp.

Addressing Damaged Gemstones during Removal

Another common challenge that may arise during the gemstone removal process is encountering damaged gemstones. This can range from minor scratches or chips to more severe cracks or breaks. While some damage may be inevitable due to wear and tear over time, there are steps you can take to minimize further harm during removal.

If you notice that a gemstone in your piece of jewelry is damaged before attempting removal, assess whether it can be salvaged or if replacement is necessary. Minor scratches and chips may be able to be polished or filled by a professional jeweler. However, if the damage is significant, it may be best to bypass removal altogether and opt for a professional repair.

When removing damaged gemstones yourself, proceed with caution to prevent further harm. Handle the stone gingerly using tweezers or pliers with non-serrated jaws to avoid causing additional scratches or chips. If the gemstone is already cracked or broken, consider using adhesive putty or wax to secure any loose fragments during the removal process.

Resolving Issues with Stuck Gemstones

Occasionally, you may encounter gemstones that are particularly stubborn and resistant to removal. This can happen when prongs or bezels become bent or warped over time, making it difficult to release the stone from its setting. To address this issue, special techniques and tools may be required.

One method you can try is using a prong lifter tool or bezel pusher to gently pry open the prongs or bezel and release the stone. These tools are specifically designed to provide leverage without damaging the setting or gemstone. Apply gentle pressure until you feel the stone start to loosen. If needed, use a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe for better visibility as you work.

In some cases, applying heat can help loosen stuck gemstones. Use a jewelry-specific heat gun at a low temperature setting and direct it towards the area where the stone is set. The heat will expand the metal slightly, allowing for easier removal. Be cautious not to overheat as excessive heat can cause damage.

If all else fails and you’re unable to remove a stuck gemstone on your own without risking damage, it’s recommended to seek assistance from a professional jeweler who has specialized tools and expertise in handling such situations. They will be best equipped to safely release the stuck stone without causing any harm to your jewelry piece.


In conclusion, mastering the art of gemstone removal is not only a skill that empowers jewelry enthusiasts but also an important aspect of proper jewelry maintenance. By following the expert techniques outlined in this guide, individuals can confidently remove gemstones from any type of jewelry without causing any damage. The importance of identifying the type of gemstone cannot be overstated, as it determines the approach and tools needed for successful removal.

Additionally, preparing a well-equipped workspace and taking safety measures ensures a smooth and secure removal process. Whether dealing with prong-set, glued, bezel-set, or stubborn gemstones, understanding the specific techniques for each will guarantee efficient removal without compromising the integrity of the jewelry.

Once the gemstones have been successfully removed, it is crucial to restore the jewelry by cleaning, repairing, and replacing any necessary parts. This will help maintain its beauty and value over time. Moreover, storing and preserving the removed gemstones properly allows for future use in other projects or to replace damaged stones in existing jewelry.

Lastly, this guide also provides troubleshooting solutions to common challenges that may arise during the gemstone removal process. By being prepared for unexpected issues and having solutions at hand, jewelry enthusiasts can overcome any obstacles they may encounter.

Overall, mastering the art of gemstone removal is a valuable skill that empowers individuals to confidently handle their own jewelry maintenance. With expert techniques and knowledge about identification, preparation, specific removal methods, restoration, preservation, and troubleshooting challenges, anyone can become proficient in this craft. By implementing these skills properly and with care, individuals can enjoy their cherished jewelry while ensuring its longevity and beauty for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you remove stones from jewelry?

Yes, it is possible to remove stones from jewelry. The method of removal largely depends on the type of setting used for the stone. In jewelry with prong or claw settings, a jeweler can carefully lift and pry back the metal claws that secure the stone in place, allowing for its removal.

For bezel-set stones, where the metal completely surrounds the stone, a jeweler may need to cut away the metal carefully to release the stone. In both cases, caution and expertise are required to avoid damaging the stone or compromising the integrity of the piece.

How do you remove glued gems from jewelry?

Removing glued gems from jewelry requires a delicate approach to prevent any damage. Before attempting removal, it is important to identify what type of adhesive was used since different adhesives may require specific removal techniques.

One typical method involves gently heating up the glued area using a hairdryer or heat gun on low heat while slowly applying pressure to loosen the gem. Another option might be soaking the piece in warm or soapy water for some time to weaken the adhesive’s bond and then trying to pry off the gem with tweezers or a soft tool like a wooden toothpick.

How do you remove a stone from a glued setting?

When it comes to removing a stone from a glued setting, care must be taken not only to protect the stone but also preserve both pieces involved in case you want to reuse either later. To start, check if there are any visible prongs or claws holding down part of the glue setting as these should be lifted first without damaging them further – this might involve using small pliers or tweezers very gently. Next, try applying heat indirectly by placing warm steel over an object near enough while remaining wary about excessive heat exposure on certain types (for example opals).

Once warmed up if necessary given circumstances such as age-related brittleness which could make parts crack) use non-sharp tools such as plastic spatulas alongside slow constant movements until successful detachment occurs at points well away from gemstone’s edge – otherwise risks like sudden prying off could cause breakages. Patience is key when it comes to this process, as rushing or applying excessive force can lead to unintended damage to the stone or setting.

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