I make a ring design that is a sort of eternity band with stones at
even intervals all around the circumference. Increasingly people
have been wanting to have this with the birthstones for their
families. As a daily wear ring, I cannot see a natural emerald,
amethyst or peridot holding up so well when it is on the palm side of
a ring and getting a lot of wear.
So the question becomes what are the most durable simulated
alternatives and where do you get them? Obviously lab-grown corundum
is good, but is there a source that does all the colors? How good are
CZs? Lab grown spinel?
Currently, when someone wants to save a few bucks and go with
simulated birthstones I use man-made stones for the more expensive
ones and then natural amethyst, peridot, citrine and garnet because
they are no cheaper when we are talking about 2mm and 3mm rounds. Not
an issue for pendants and earrings. But I now fear that this was a
mistake for rings.
The whole thing with birthstones is about meaning and symbolism.
Sometimes natural stones are a must for the customer. But durability
might trump natural material if the piece is about sentimentality and
symbolism rather than about precious materials.