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Removing epoxy

Hi there everyone,

I need to remove stones from a gold bracelet that have been epoxy
in, what should I soak it in??


First check the stones to see what they are. Don’t soak any of the
carbonates or phosphates, or any treated stones.

If you are sure the stones will not be damaged, get some 'Attack’
and it will soften the epoxy quickly.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFO where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

methylene chloride from the pit or hardware store will remove
epoxy. it is also sold as “attack” at craftshops and such for more
money. Read the safety data.


there is a specific solvent commercially made for this, called
Attack. works like a charm.

Or, if the stones are not especially heat sensitive, some can be
safely removed just by gently heating the piece enough to soften the
epoxy. it swells a bit when this happens, often partly pushing the
stones out already, enough so you can pry them the rest of the way
off. The temps you need are somewhere in the range of 250F, I’d guess
(well, at any rate, above the boiling point of water), to do this, so
many stones can stand it. Pearls, amber, turquoise, or other highly
heat sensitive materials cannot always, though pearl posts of often
removed this way, relying on heat conduction to bring heat to the
epoxy up the pearl post before the pearl gets too hot… Takes
practice… But things like agate, black onyx, or the like, won’t be
damaged, and this is a lot faster than solvents.


Hello Lauie, Use Acetone. (nailpolish remover)

Martin Niemeijer
The Netherlands

Hi Laurie,

I would suggest soaking the bracelet in acetone to remove the epoxy.
It should loosen the stones enough that you can safely pull them off
and then remove any excess epoxy carefully with a soldering pick or
other sharp object. This is how we remove pearls from gold rings in
our repair shop.


Acetone, or fingernail polish remover, will remove epoxy. The polish
remover takes a while, since it’s not full strength.

Janet Kofoed

    I need to remove stones from a gold bracelet that have been
epoxy in, what should I soak it in?? 

Hi Laurie; Usually, the product used is called “Attack”. It’s not
the most safe product to work with, methyl ethelyne keytone
something or other. I get it from Stuller or Rio, but it has to go
UPS ground, hazardous shipping charges apply. Another alternative is
to go to the local paint store and get some brush cleaner. I don’t
know that all formulas work, but if you find one with the MEK in it,
it should do. Use rubber gloves and a respirator. Finally though,
there is a safer alternative that sometimes works for me, although it
works rather slowly. It’s sold in paint departments as “Citrus
Stripper”. It works, but takes a couple days. Also, I believe it
has citric acid in it, so don’t leave pearls or cameos or peridot in
it, as these will get etched or eaten away.

David L. Huffman

Hi, I have found the best method to removing epoxy is to soak it in
Attack. Most stones are not hurt by Attack.


Hi Gang,

Usually, the product used is called "Attack".  It's not the most
safe product to work with, methyl ethylene keytone something or


Most well stocked hardware or paint stores stock & sell methyl
ethylene keytone (MEK) & acetone. Many times buying a gallon at the
hardware store is cheaper than buying a pint from a jewelers supply
& having to pay the Hazardous Shipping charge.


The safest thing I have found to remove epoxy is Methyl Alcohol
[wood alcohol]. It is available at jewelry supplies. Just soak the
piece… It doesn’t harm most stones… It is a good clean up
solution to remove grease , adhesive, permanent marker, and excess
glue before it dries.

Marilynn Nicholson

Acetone will not dissolve epoxy. It may, depending on several things
soften its grip enough to allow the item to be removed but this will
depend on how the epoxy was applied what materials are bonded and
the type of epoxy. If the epoxy was applied to properly prepared
surfaces it is unlikely acetone will do the trick.

I don’t know where the MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) came into this but
Attack is not acetone or MEK. Attack is dichloromethethane
(methylene chloride) and dimethylformamide both of which are very
nasty solvents.

dichloromethethane is listed as “Harmful if swallowed or inhaled.
May be harmful by skin contact. Eye and skin irritant. Readily
absorbed through the skin. Asphyxiant. Causes CNS depression.
Possibly carcinogenic in humans. Possible mutagen. Experimental
reproductive effects.”

dimethylformamide is listed as " Harmful by inhalation, ingestion or
skin contact. May act as a carcinogen. Ingestion or absorption
through skin may be fatal. Exposure may result in fetal death.
Long-term exposure may result in kidney or liver damage.

Attack should only be used when you have excellent ventilation and
full safety gear; gloves, goggles, apron etc. I can tell you from
personnel experience it will go right through many types of rubber
gloves, viton or neoprene gloves are highly recommended.

If you are willing to experiment then most hardware stores have a
paint and epoxy remover that contains methylene chloride that you
could try soaking you item in but as with all these types of
projects using strong solvents you need to decide if you are willing
to risk damage to the items involved.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

A fairly simple solution I was taught a number of years ago, is
plain old rubbing alcohol. Yep, the stuff you can buy at the
pharmacy or grocery store. Usually for less than a buck a bottle.
To remove a set stone, I simply drop the item in a jar with enough
rubbing alcohol to cover it completely, seal the jar and let sit.
Depending on the setting, ie a lacy or filigree style or a plain,
tight bezel, it can take over night or longer. I generally check
it after about 8-12 hours. If it is not moving much, I may pry the
setting open more to allow the alcohol access to the epoxy, replace
the item in the jar and let it soak some more. It will make the
epoxy gummy, and you can then remove the stone from the setting, or
scrape/peel it off your stone/item. If I am doing anything that
requires soldering, I remove/scrape all the epoxy I can, off. It is
very nasty to burn off.

Just a couple of things to remember; Know if you are working with
dyed stones, the alcohol can remove the dye, along with the epoxy.
This is good, if you want to remove excess dyes from stones or
beads, but bad if you or your customer is happy with the dye in the
stone. Nor would I recommend using this for pearls, amber or other
softer - fragile stones, unless you test it first.

I hope this helps.
AJ Cullum
Gemini Dreams

Heat applied to the area around the stone by way of a hot poker,
soldering iron, touched at a few points around, will always release
epoxy, you don’t need any chemicals, and you need very little heat,
keep prying pressure on the stone, while and after the metal has
been heated and it will come out with no problem, dp

Hello all, this may not work for some jobs but when cutters use
epoxy for glueing stones to dop sticks all you need to do to release
them is to dip into hot water [not boiling] and the stones come off
very easily. It probably doesn’t remove the glue but it loosens the
grip. But take care not to put a very cold stone into hot water,
make sure the stone is at least at room temperature before dunking.

This seems to be the least harmful way of solving this problem, to
the stone and also to the jewellers health.

Also thanks to Andrew for the info on Amber, very interesting. Once
again the collective knowledge of the orchid members is awesome.

Christine Roussel