We have a phrase in our language whose rough translation is

Only a jeweler can distinguish a diamond.

Basically it is a complement to both parties, mentor and protege. For e.g. I was a nobody in India, but really popular in US. So, in this example, US is a jeweler and I am a diamond(only is US).

Can somebody recommend an equivalent idiomatic phrase/proverb?

  • 1
    Although not proverbial in English, the meaning of the Hindi proverb seems clear, so consider just using it translated. You might add "as we say in India"
    – James K
    Commented May 10 at 6:15
  • So the proverb is always used in situations where the meaning is that a person is underappreciated at home because people in the person's own homeland do not recognize the person's merits? Or is that merely incidental in your example? The reason I ask is because of the proverb No man is a prophet in his own land.
    – TimR
    Commented May 10 at 15:34
  • @TimR I am more trying to complement US and criticize India. Your suggestion does not fit, I think, because US is good at identifying talent both local and foreign.(hence jeweler)
    – Max
    Commented May 10 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


As far as I am aware, there is not an equivalent common idiom/proverb. Of course, proverbs are often regionally and culturally specific, so there may be one that I am not familiar with.

The closest idiom that I can think of is Diamond in the rough which literally refers to a gemstone that has not yet been removed from the useless and ugly rock around it, and figuratively means "a person or item that has hidden beauty or usefulness." However, to be called a diamond in the rough is a mild insult at best.

As noted in the comments, your translated meaning is clear, and you would probably be understood if you just continued using that.

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