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According to the splash screen

Don't save your Ember for later! Use them in any piece of equipment with an open Socket. You will find better varieties soon, and the ancient art of combining gems to make better ones has been lost in this era.

Does this mean that I can combine gems already socketed with out losing the gem or the item? This just seems like bad advice from the game.

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In the FIRST game, you could recover the gem from a socket, but it would destroy the item. You could also remove all of the gems from an item, but it would destroy the gems. I assume that's the way it still works. –  DwarfSlice Sep 26 '12 at 18:20
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@GnomeSlice It does. But I don't think that has anything to do with the question. =P –  Fluttershy Sep 26 '12 at 18:28
    
Yes it does. I just forgot to mention the fact that you couldn't combine socketed gems, they had to be unsocketed. Besides, when you combine a gem, you automatically lose all of the original gems. –  DwarfSlice Sep 26 '12 at 18:32
    
@GnomeSlice I knew about the two gem dealers, but the advice of don't save you ember is bad advice I think. I put a 14 mana gen in a set item, if I want to keep the set for another char, but keep the gem for this char then "Don't save the gem" is bad advice. Also with the transmuter it seems that combining gems create a different type of gem not the same stronger gem. –  Mike Sep 26 '12 at 18:46
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I know that when I played the first one I tended to hang on to gems instead of socketing them so I could combine them into more powerful gems. That splash screen tip is just saying that this is no longer a viable strategy. –  SaintWacko Sep 26 '12 at 18:50

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It's the game's subtle way of saying you can't combine gems anymore. You will find more gems as you play and they will become more powerful as you progress. You can't combine gems to make better gems.

You can't combine gems that are already socketed. Socketed gems are locked into the gear you put it into. You can either choose to recover the gem or recover the gear from a vendor in town.

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So the point is, there's no reason to save your low level gems. They won't be useful in the future, and you can just remove them (destroying them in the process) once you have higher level ones. –  bwarner Sep 26 '12 at 20:26
    
Yup. I guess they wanted people to actually use gems for this game. Personally, as an outlander, I've been selling most of my gems that gave elemental armor/damage cause my build isn't setup for that. –  Dycker Sep 26 '12 at 21:48
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But you can actually combine socketables... Any 3 socketables will give you a random socketable of around the average item level. They don't upgrade but you can combine them. –  gnarf Sep 29 '12 at 4:16

I have been combining my low level gems (3 at a time) to make stronger gems. So I am a bit confused why the game says not to hoard them.

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Combining gems gives you a different gem of about the same level as the ones you put in - you don't get a higher level gem, just one that may or may not have more useful effects than the ones you used. As a level 38 character, level 8 ember specks are nearly worthless to me, no matter what type it is. –  jw013 Jan 17 '13 at 21:32

You can't combine gems in Torchlight 2. You can socket, remove while sparing gem and destroying item, remove while sparing the item and destroying the gem. You can't combine, but I'd still save them for the appropriate gear, instead of just throwing them in any old hole.

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