I like the first two because they are about pearls!

Pearls before swine
Of biblical origin, it means offering something of quality to those who can't appreciate it.

Matthew 7:6 (King James Version) : "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet."

Pearls of wisdom
Proverb of unknown origin.

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
Chinese Proverb

Diamond of first water
Of best quality. Originally from the gem trade to describe the clearest diamonds and therefore the most valuable. For centuries, diamonds were assigned grades such as first water, second water, third water comparing to the clarity of water.

A diamond is forever
De Beers Diamond company's advertising slogan since 1947.

A diamond in the rough
Description of a basically good hearted person who lacks refinement and finesse which is a metaphor for unpolished diamonds with the potential to be fine gemstones.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend
Song sung by Marilyn Monroe in the movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) - hear her on the Youtube video .

A cut above the rest
Most likely refers the relative value of different ways in which gemstones are faceted. The cuts that better show off a gemstone's brilliance (sparkle) or fire (internal rainbow flashes of colour) are more valued.

NB The origin of "jaded" is from Middle English word "iade" which means cart-horse or nag and has nothing to do with jade!

Also see A Jewelry Box of Quotations

The Phrase Finder

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips
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