Considerations: Garnet is popular, affordable, and durable enough for a daily-wear ring. It's available in a huge array of colors, including several shades of red. From the deep red of Mozambique garnet to many shades of orange, green, yellow, and purple, it's a striking center stone.
Considerations: What can we say about diamonds? Brilliant sparkle, exceptional durability, and far and away the most popular center stone for many decades running. They're, um, everybody's best friend. Lab-created diamonds offer a great option on a budget, and fancy colored gems are a great choice for those who love a bit more color with their sparkle.
Our recommendation for a center stone: Lab-created emerald
Considerations: A classic, elegant center stone. Natural emerald, however, comes with some durability risk, because the beautiful fractures and inclusions that give it such distinctive character also make it more likely to chip or break with daily wear. Lab-created emerald provides the beautiful appearance but with improved durability (and a friendlier price tag).
Our recommendation for a center stone: Lab-created alexandrite
Considerations: Alexandrite is beautiful and its color change makes it unique. It's also extremely durable and will hold up to a lifetime of daily wear in a ring. But it's one of the most expensive gems at a center stone size, so we recommend the lab-created alternative. We love moonstone and pearl, but they're quite delicate and you should be aware of the maintenance implications if you choose one of these for your center stone.
Considerations: Spinel is the newest addition to the birthstone list, and it's a fantastic choice. Available in red, pink, blue, gray, black and various shades in between, it also holds up well to daily wear in a ring. But we wouldn't brush aside peridot, with its century of history as the August birthstone. It's not quite as durable as spinel, but for those who love its distinctive apple green color, it's a great choice.
Considerations: Sapphire is our favorite colored gem. It was a popular center stone long before diamond took center stage, and it remains one of the most popular center stones for an engagement ring. It has excellent durability, and it's available in just about every color under the sun. Lab-created sapphires are available in many colors, too.
Considerations: We love opal so much it really hurts to say we recommend something else. If you're aware of opal's higher maintenance needs and you love it, we'll be thrilled to support your choice of opal for a center stone. But if you're open to both, we'd have to recommend tourmaline for its durability. It'll hold up well in a daily-wear ring. And it's a knockout of a gem! Pink tourmaline is the specific color recommended for October's birthstone, but we encourage you to consider the many other tourmaline colors available, or go with multiple colors by choosing a bi- or tri-color stone like watermelon tourmaline.
Our recommendation for a center stone: Citrine, imperial topaz, or blue topaz
Considerations: November's birthstones evoke the warm glow of the sun. Citrine has a rich orange-yellow color and the most prized type of topaz (often called imperial or precious topaz) has similar yellow, orange, or amber colors. Both are durable and beautiful, though imperial topaz is more rare and a bit more expensive. Topaz also comes in an incredible array of other colors. Sky blue topaz, London blue topaz, and other shades of blue topaz are also durable and beautiful. But be mindful of the many other topaz colors, which are created by coating colorless topaz with a thin layer of color — gems like mystic topaz and passion topaz are pretty, but their coating will scratch and wear and they'll require replacement over time.
Birthstones: Tanzanite, Blue Zircon, and Turquoise
Our recommendation for a center stone: Tanzanite or zircon
Considerations: Plenty of options for December birthdays, but we recommend the newest addition, tanzanite. It's distinctive, deep, violet-blue color is instantly recognizable. Being a bit more delicate as a center stone choice, it may require occasional re-polishing if worn daily. Blue zircon is also a great choice, with its similar durability and pricing, and a bright blue color (as well as other colors, if you prefer something a bit less blue). For a ring, turquoise is a higher risk choice. Much like opal and moonstone above, it's a beloved gemstone and many have happily chosen turquoise as their center stone.