There is currently no way to remove a gem once it has been placed into a socket. You can place another gem in the same socket, but doing so will destroy the existing gem (much like overwriting enchants).
Placing gems in sockets
Gems can be added to sockets in the "Item Socketing" window, which can be opened by holding shift and right clicking on a socketed item. The gems are then dragged into the slots, and the "Socket Gems" button is pressed to apply the gems.
Sockets are separated into four types:
- Colored Sockets
- Prismatic, or uncolored Sockets -
- Cogwheel Sockets -
- Meta Sockets -
Gems may be placed by anyone into a socketed item via a drag-and-drop interface, invoked by shift-right-clicking the weapon or piece of armor you want socketed.
The majority of sockets found on equipment are Red, Yellow, and Blue sockets. While any gem can be put in any of these socket types, the item socket bonus will only be activated if all of the sockets are filled with the matching gem color.
With the exception of meta gems, all gems match one or more of these colors.
- Primary-color gems — red, yellow, and blue — will only match into the specific sockets for their color.
- Secondary-color gems — green, orange, and purple — will match into either of the two slots that correspond to their color. (For example, an orange gem will match a red or yellow slot for the bonus.)
- Prismatic gems will match any of the three socket colors.
Prismatic, or uncolored, sockets are generally sockets that have been added to an item by blacksmithing skills (or blacksmithed items such as the ). Any gem (except meta gems) may be placed in them.
Uncolored sockets, and any gems they may have, do not count towards any socket bonus an item may have. However, they will count towards any requirements of a meta gem.
Items that has a Sha-Touched socket can have one prismatic socket added to them by using .
Cogwheel sockets are engineering-only sockets first introduced in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Any class is capable of adding cogwheels to these sockets, so long as they have the engineering skill to do so. Currently the only known items that have cogwheels are the epic helms crafted by engineers with 525 skill points.
- Main article: Meta gem
Meta sockets are only found on high-level head gear (currently only in particular varieties of head items). Meta sockets only accept meta gems, and meta gems may only be placed in meta sockets.
In addition, if the meta gem's requirements are not met, that meta gem will not be activated, and you will receive neither the meta gem's bonuses nor any socket bonus from the item containing the meta gem. You can socket the meta gem without meeting the requirements, but the meta gem will remain inactive until you do meet its requirements (which can be done either by socketing new gems, or equipping new items containing the required gems).
A meta gem requires you to have currently equipped items socketed with a certain number and color of other gems. These colors can be as either primary or secondary colors (see below) and secondary gems count for both colors. For example, an item with a meta gem socket that requires 2 blue and 1 red gem in order to become active, could be activated by having 2 purple gems or 2 blue and an orange gem.
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
- Main article: Sha-Touched
Sha-Touched sockets are only found on weapons from Grand Empress Shek'zeer in Heart of Fear and Tsulong, Lei Shi and Sha of Fear in Terrace of Endless Spring. Sha-Touched sockets only accept Sha-Touched gems.
Sockets were introduced in The Burning Crusade and modelled after a similar concept using gems in Diablo II, though the method of replacing them is different. The rune word system in the Diablo II expansion Lord of Destruction, which added additional bonuses if a particular set of runes was inserted in a particular order, has not been replicated in WoW — special combinations of gems do not confer any bonuses except the item's pre-defined socket bonus, unless using a meta gem.
As of patch 3.0.2, Blacksmiths with skill level 400+ are able to permanently place an additional socket on their bracer and glove, making the socketed item soulbound. Blacksmiths were originally given the ability to socket one-handed weapons, but this appears to not have been implemented in a patch release (although it is referenced in the game files).
A blacksmith with skill level 425+ can make an , which can be used by anyone (even sold via the Auction House) to add a prismatic socket to a belt, making the belt soulbound.
- ^ Horadric Cube Formula for Removing Gems, Runes and Jewels from Sockets
- ^ BlizzCast Episode 4: INTERVIEW 2 with Jon LeCraft
- ^ Gear Socketing tab of Blacksmithing