Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Removing stone from channel setting

What’s the best/safest way to remove a stone (square) from a setting
that I can access from the back? I was thinking about forcing the
stone from the back… I’m more concerned with the setting than the
stones. It’s a single princess in an earing secured at the top and


I have in the past on high end pieces that I did not want to take
any chances with cut the channel top on each side of the stone and
lifted the channel up enough to remove the stone, then replaced the
stone closed the channel and repaired the cuts with the best solder
for the job. A laser these days would be even better. It has worked
well in some tough spots for me. It is important to keep the cuts
thin and as shallow as possible for the best results.

Bowing deeply

Craig, since you are more concerned with saving the setting, the
stone can be broken out in its place, from the top. A hammer
handpiece gives pretty good control. If it’s a tough stone to crumble
sharpen the point to a chisel shape and bear against a steel block.
What you want is shock, not brut force. Sacrificing the stone will
let you push up the channel rail from inside, avoiding tool marks or
tears that you would most likely get if you tried to pry up a firmly
set rail.

If saving the stone is important one can also refashion a chasing
tool. You need an edge that will pry up or push back as you hammer.
Right behind the leading edge cut a hollow to clear the crown of the
stone. I found a slightly rounded profile is less destructive than a
straight one, although trickier to maneuver because you need to rock
it back and forth as you hammer. An engraver’s block would help

Happy Hammering

It is a fiddly job and you have to be careful. You need to loosen it
from the back and front alternatively and get it out with the least
amount of damage to the edge as possible. If there is a lot of meat
you might have to cut the edge back with a graver. It can be a slow
process depending on who set the earring and how capable you are at
rebuilding the edge. If you are removing the stone and not replacing
it push it from the back after your sure it will pop, and be careful
to keep the piece secure. I push with a hollow pointed tool, if that


Hi Craig,

It depends on the strength or thickness of metal hammered over the
girdle (which I refer to as the bezel). Driving the stone out from
the back is seldom succesful even with diamonds and thin bezels. I
would only try it if the stone can be sacrificed and will bet that it
is simply the quickest way to get the stone out, but the bezels will
hardly be affected.

With the stone out, the bezels can be opened using a claw lifter or
by careful hammering with custom shaped punches provided that the
outside of the channel can be supported. Start with a small flat
square punch angled about 20 degrees (like a stubby square graver),
and finish with a similar punch that is not angled. Progressively tap
into the groove between the seat and the bezel, lifting the bezels
until they are standing up. Only one side needs to be up a full 90

To preserve the stone: If the bezel is thin it is sometimes possible
to pry the metal off the stone using a blunt and polished scalpel to
make a start, followed by a claw lifter or carefully prising with a
square graver. The more fragile the stone, the higher the risk. This
is a high risk method when no other option is available. Very strong
claw lifters can be made from a flat needle file. Anneal it, grind
off the teeth, cut slots in various widths quite far apart at 45-50
degrees, then harden and temper to a purple colour.

My favourite method is to cut off the offending bezels. File them
off completely, or use a graver to cut away sufficient metal to
release the stone. Solder on new bars or strips, then seat and set
the stone as a new setting. Diamonds can be soldered in with the new

Hope this helps,

Good morning, Unfortunately we all have to deal with this problem
from time to time. One thing that is important, fined a stone that
fits and seats properly, no over hang on the stones on either side,
and keep the gaps at a minimum. Here is the way I do it. Take a thin
saw blade, saw through the bezel and down the outside shoulder to the
depth of the girdle of the stone to be removed. Do this on each side
of the stone. Slide a graver under the bezel, and carefully lift up
the part of the bezel covering the stone. Remove stone, insert new
stone, now from the outside shoulder push in, pliers, or prong
pusher,and don’t use much force. Lightly tap down the bezel to secure
the stone. Now the two solder seems need to be filled. Don’t use much
solder. It sounds like the long way around, but it is safe and the
work is clean.

Regards, Craig