Our Diamonds & Stones

We always choose fully traceable, conflict-free stones in our jewelry.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Black and Salt & Pepper Earth Diamonds

Semiprecious & Precious Gemstones

Salt & pepper diamonds are naturally occurring earth diamonds with lots of inclusions. Inclusions are just little bits of non-diamond material, small feather fractures, or small cavities inside the stones (or a combination of all three). Sometimes these inside-the-stone inclusions can reach the surface. These inclusions, though responsible for lowering the traditional market value of salt & pepper diamonds, are a positive, value-adding thing in our view for several reasons.

Why? These diamonds are 100% unique. They’re also beautiful. They also buck the industry-created demand for high ratings on the “4 Cs.” The 4 Cs system, after all, was invented by the diamond industry to support diamond valuation. The more “pure” and large the stone, the more expensive it is. And this system is often used by traditional jewelry stores to talk you into buying a more expensive stone without an obvious or meaningful difference in appearance to anyone without a jeweler’s loupe between their eye and your stone. Inclusions are what the industry has said makes a stone less valuable, but at Betsy & Iya, we celebrate these unique and beautiful stones.

In fact, we don’t always find white diamonds as beautiful as diamonds with inclusions. We believe the beauty of our earth is in its variety, in the surprises that result from different circumstances. What’s more beautiful? The purity of the sun at noon on a cloudless day or the rich variety of colors and textures of the sun as it’s setting amidst clouds, breezes, and flocks of birds, over untamed waters, each wave and ripple glinting back a multitude of sparkles and colors. That’s not to say we don’t find white diamonds beautiful. We do. And we find included diamonds beautiful. And we will never try to upsell you because of a rating that primarily exists on paper or shame you for finding beauty in a stone that doesn’t come with a high 4C marks. If you think it’s beautiful, it is. Plus, you’ll be able to choose your favorite salt & pepper stone from our inventory if you’d like to.

Finally, the “lower value” of salt & pepper diamonds means fewer incentives for ethically questionable business practices all the way up and down the supply chain, from mine to market.
Lab grown diamonds are physically, chemically, thermally, structurally, and aesthetically the exact same as earth diamonds, it’s just that they’re made in a lab instead of mined from the earth, making them 100% traceable and conflict-free. We believe the beauty and value of our fine jewelry designs don’t diminish with the incorporation of lab grown diamonds, but are amplified and elevated by them. Knowing you can trust the ethical value of the designs you are purchasing to symbolize such important moments in your life adds to the value of the piece.
Yes. We only buy stones from vendors who adhere to ethical business and production practices. We always choose only fully traceable, conflict-free stones, whether they’re lab-grown or earth mined and only use lab-grown white diamonds in our Ready to Wear fine jewelry. All earth diamonds exceed the criteria of the Kimberley Process certification. For our custom work, if you have your heart set on a white earth diamond, we have access to many beautiful recycled/estate earth diamonds that you can feel good about choosing. The semi-precious gemstones in our fashion jewelry are also fully traceable and conflict-free.

Read more about our commitment to an ethical supply chain.

Our Metals

All of our fine jewelry metals are recycled and our gold alloys are SCS certified recycled. Our fashion jewelry metals all come from US-based suppliers.

Betsy and Iya source ethical metals
Rhodium plating is common in the fine jewelry industry. It results in a brilliant, bright white finish. You’ll notice our white gold pieces have a warmer, less blingy look than white gold pieces you might see elsewhere. That’s because we don’t rhodium plate our white gold, but instead use a no nickel added palladium white gold alloy.

We don't love rhodium plating for a few reasons. First, the waste created by the plating process isn't great for the environment. Secondly, plating- no matter how thick- wears with time. That bright, white finish will need to be reapplied every 1-2 years, which adds ongoing cost, items on your to-do list, and creates additional environmental impact. But the biggest reason we use palladium white gold is because we just like the way it looks better than rhodium plating.

Our Production Studio

We make our line of jewelry right here in Portland, just next to our brick & mortar.

Betsy and Iya's ethical production studio

Designed, tested, and crafted by humans who care right here in our Portland studio.

Right here! We’re proud to run an open production studio, located in the same building as our retail shop. We offer tours by request so that you can see the care and energy that goes into your jewelry and the real people that care and energy comes from. It is here that every piece of our fine and fashion jewelry is designed, prototyped, engineered, tested, and handcrafted by our team of talented makers. We do outsource certain processes to our vetted manufacturing partners.
Yes. We capture and reuse as much gold as possible, down to the tiny particles created when setting stones and applying final finishes. We recycle what can’t be easily reused. Same for silver, brass, and bronze: we capture and recycle as much as possible.

We repurpose damaged diamonds and other stones for use in different settings (like inlay) or sell them to companies who will recut or reprocess them into industrial grade diamond bits (for saw blades, etc).

Finally, we run Recast, where we’ll buy back your used Betsy & Iya jewelry, clean it up, fix it, and resell it at a discount.

An Ethical Supply Chain

We really kick the tires when we vet our suppliers, looking for companies – both big and small – who think and operate like we do.

Betsy and Iya ethical supply chain

Sourcing & Materials FAQ

It means we really kick the tires when we vet our suppliers. We look for companies, both big and small, who think and operate like we do. This comes down to two broad categories:

1) Certification by one or more of the jewelry and/or manufacturing organizations who set standards, audit, and certify companies for ethical, environmentally conscious & sustainable, socially responsible, conflict-free, fair labor, and human rights-centered business practices (Responsible Jewellery Council, SCS Global Services, and/or Fair Trade Gems). This is often only feasible for the larger, national suppliers we work with.
2) In other cases, this means choosing local or regional options and prioritizing doing business with small family-owned companies where we often work directly with the owners, come to know them on a personal level, and can see with our own eyes that they care about the type of business they run, its impact on the world, and doing right by their employees and customers.

At least 92% of our spending on jewelry materials comes from these two types of companies – 78% from larger certified companies (1) and 14% from smaller, local or family-owned operations. Of the remaining 7.45% of materials spending, a significant chunk is with companies whom we don’t order from often enough (less than $1000 per year) to classify confidently into group (1) or (2), but who may in fact qualify.

We work hard to buy non-jewelry materials (like office supplies, consumables, shipping supplies, etc) first from local or regional suppliers, then from US-based suppliers, and from Amazon only as a last resort. We value people above profits and expect the same from our vendors, suppliers, and partners.
In some cases, yes! For any piece with salt & pepper diamonds or untreated rubies, you will have the option of selecting the stone from our current available inventory or allowing us to choose for you. After you place your order, we’ll reach out to you to arrange for your stone selection, or if you shop with us in-person, we’ll do it in the store as you’re ordering.

We do not allow stone picking for white or black diamonds or other colored gemstones in our Ready to Wear collection, but your stone will adhere to the specifications listed in the product description.

If you would like us to use stones you already own or if you’d like to pick your own white or black diamond stone, we absolutely offer these services with our custom jewelry process.

For fashion jewelry, we only allow stone picking when you shop in-person (and we don’t re-set stones; you’ll get to pick from our current finished inventory).
It comes down to demand. The global market for white diamonds is huge compared to that for colored and salt & pepper diamonds. Bigger markets and higher demand do at least three things we aren’t comfortable participating in: 1) larger monetary incentives can perpetuate ethically questionable business practices. 2) larger markets are innately more difficult to regulate and track than smaller ones. 3) the bigger the mine, the worse its effect on the environment. The smaller the mine, the easier it is to mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Even still, we take sourcing very seriously for all earth mined stones we use, both precious and semi-precious. Read more about our Ethical Supply chain.
Yes, but it’s complicated. In short, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has drawn criticism from many human rights groups for failing to deliver on its promise to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the market. So while all of our earth mined diamonds are KP certified, we go further. All our stones are even more conflict-free and traceable than the Kimberley Process certification can guarantee on its own. Read more here.
Salt & pepper diamonds are naturally occurring earth diamonds with lots of inclusions. Inclusions are just little bits of non-diamond material, small feather fractures, or small cavities inside the stones (or a combination of all three). Sometimes these inside-the-stone inclusions can reach the surface. These inclusions, though responsible for lowering the traditional market value of salt & pepper diamonds, are a positive, value-adding thing in our view for several reasons.

Why? These diamonds are 100% unique. They’re also beautiful. They also buck the industry-created demand for high ratings on the “4 Cs.” The 4 Cs system, after all, was invented by the diamond industry to support diamond valuation. The more “pure” and large the stone, the more expensive it is. And this system is often used by traditional jewelry stores to talk you into buying a more expensive stone without an obvious or meaningful difference in appearance to anyone without a jeweler’s loupe between their eye and your stone. Inclusions are what the industry has said makes a stone less valuable, but at Betsy & Iya, we celebrate these unique and beautiful stones.

In fact, we don’t always find white diamonds as beautiful as diamonds with inclusions. We believe the beauty of our earth is in its variety, in the surprises that result from different circumstances. What’s more beautiful? The purity of the sun at noon on a cloudless day or the rich variety of colors and textures of the sun as it’s setting amidst clouds, breezes, and flocks of birds, over untamed waters, each wave and ripple glinting back a multitude of sparkles and colors. That’s not to say we don’t find white diamonds beautiful. We do. And we find included diamonds beautiful. And we will never try to upsell you because of a rating that primarily exists on paper or shame you for finding beauty in a stone that doesn’t come with a high 4C marks. If you think it’s beautiful, it is. Plus, you’ll be able to choose your favorite salt & pepper stone from our inventory if you’d like to.

Finally, the “lower value” of salt & pepper diamonds means fewer incentives for ethically questionable business practices all the way up and down the supply chain, from mine to market.
Lab grown diamonds are physically, chemically, thermally, structurally, and aesthetically the exact same as earth diamonds, it’s just that they’re made in a lab instead of mined from the earth, making them 100% traceable and conflict-free. We believe the beauty and value of our fine jewelry designs don’t diminish with the incorporation of lab grown diamonds, but are amplified and elevated by them. Knowing you can trust the ethical value of the designs you are purchasing to symbolize such important moments in your life adds to the value of the piece.
Yes. We only buy stones from vendors who adhere to ethical business and production practices. We always choose only fully traceable, conflict-free stones, whether they’re lab-grown or earth mined and only use lab-grown white diamonds in our Ready to Wear fine jewelry. All earth diamonds exceed the criteria of the Kimberley Process certification. For our custom work, if you have your heart set on a white earth diamond, we have access to many beautiful recycled/estate earth diamonds that you can feel good about choosing. The semi-precious gemstones in our fashion jewelry are also fully traceable and conflict-free.

Read more about our commitment to an ethical supply chain.
OMG, your finger is about to fall off! (We're kidding.) Don’t worry – some people's body chemistry reacts with brass and bronze this way. It can even be affected by what you've eaten that day, by body products or lotions, or sweat from a recent workout! The good news is that there's nothing harmful about the reaction; in fact, some people use it to gauge their body's copper levels. You can reduce the likelihood of this reaction by avoiding moisture when wearing your jewelry, so take it off before you shower, wash your hands, work out, or have a sauna dance party.

If the green is on your jewelry, it can be removed with an at-home cleaning method.
We've built a network of US-based, values-aligned contractors who perform certain processes of jewelry manufacturing for certain pieces. The amount we lean on this network fluctuates, especially at times of high demand. We aim to do as much production in-house as possible and no matter what is done offsite, our internal team's hands touch every single piece of our jewelry in some way.
Right here! We’re proud to run an open production studio, located in the same building as our retail shop. We offer tours by request so that you can see the care and energy that goes into your jewelry and the real people that care and energy comes from. It is here that every piece of our fine and fashion jewelry is designed, prototyped, engineered, tested, and handcrafted by our team of talented makers. We do outsource certain processes to our vetted manufacturing partners.
Yes. We capture and reuse as much gold as possible, down to the tiny particles created when setting stones and applying final finishes. We recycle what can’t be easily reused. Same for silver, brass, and bronze: we capture and recycle as much as possible.

We repurpose damaged diamonds and other stones for use in different settings (like inlay) or sell them to companies who will recut or reprocess them into industrial grade diamond bits (for saw blades, etc).

Finally, we run Recast, where we’ll buy back your used Betsy & Iya jewelry, clean it up, fix it, and resell it at a discount.
Rhodium plating is common in the fine jewelry industry. It results in a brilliant, bright white finish. You’ll notice our white gold pieces have a warmer, less blingy look than white gold pieces you might see elsewhere. That’s because we don’t rhodium plate our white gold, but instead use a no nickel added palladium white gold alloy.

We don't love rhodium plating for a few reasons. First, the waste created by the plating process isn't great for the environment. Secondly, plating- no matter how thick- wears with time. That bright, white finish will need to be reapplied every 1-2 years, which adds ongoing cost, items on your to-do list, and creates additional environmental impact. But the biggest reason we use palladium white gold is because we just like the way it looks better than rhodium plating.