I think they'll allow you to keep it (unlike in Torchlight, for instance, where you had to choose whether you wanted to destroy the item or the gem), specially considering the gold cost (and the intention of making it a gold sink).
about 95% sure the gem doesnt get destroyed. i remember somewhere reading it. makes sense too since the later gems will be so hard to aqquire, u may 'settle' for a lower gem, then need THAT gem to upgrade into a new one.... better system IMO
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(this build was before D3 launched... looking back on it now - i had no idea what i was doing)
I'm quite sure you can remove the gems from sockets for a price.
If not... people would just hoard up on gems without using them until they have made the last rank gem, sure this worked in Diablo 2, but perfect gems were common there, the last rank of gems in this game wont be easy to make and will be quite a time/resource investment (if you buy gems of AH).
Even the most generous math estimates put the highest level gems into the "insane" time investment category. It would be criminal to basically insist you NOT use any gem past middle grade because you destroy it if you take it out of an item - so yeah, I've got to believe they come out easy as can be for a bit of a gold sink.
that was a pretty good article linked above, i had seen some crazy estimates on how many chipped gems it would take to make a radiant, etc. but i didn't realize the work it would take to make a radiant from even the best drops. definitely a huge time/gold sink for the game. does anyone know if the lvl. 1 requirement for ALL tier gems is just a placeholder, or will higher lvl. gems be the best way to twink a new char., adding even more gems we'll be working on?
- for example, could you work a ruby up to a radiant star for the large +xp bonus, then keep transferring to new chars?