Can the lab grown stones handle the heat of resoldering them
to the rest of the ring?
Yes, I've done this many times. If you are talking about those star
saphires the used to be made by Linde, they have a script letter "L"
etched in the bottom. You can get those sucker's glowing, and
they'll change color, but they return to their original color when
the cool down. They're cheap anyway.
If I did want to remove one setting to make it smaller, would
it be possible to close the circle somewhat without breaking other
parts or stretching the bezels completely out of shape?
Couldn't tell you for sure without seeing the design, but if the
bezels are heavy enough, the geometry of what you are describing
sounds like it should be feasible.
Are there any outside-the-box solutions?
As for out-of- the-box, let me out-of-this-cage and we'll see what I
can do. Seriously, if you've got a JPG of the ring you can email
me, I'll be glad to rack my brain for a bit on the situation. I've
gotten pretty slick in my old age.
David L. Huffman