We are pleased to share an interview with our in-house GIA Graduate Gemologist and Portland diamond expert, David Malka!
Educating our clients on the ins and outs of the jewelry industry is one of our biggest goals here at Malka Diamonds. We want every person who steps through our doors to walk away feeling confident in their purchase.
That all starts by offering our clients something (or rather someone) many other Portland jewelers don’t have: an in-house GIA Graduate Gemologist. Read on for an inside look at David’s career as a gemologist and how he helps us provide the best jewelry-buying experience possible.
Tell us about yourself and your background!
My name is David Malka and I’m a GIA Graduate Gemologist. I co-own Malka Diamonds with my wife, Ronnie. Malka Diamonds also houses IGS appraisal lab, which I founded in 2004.
I grew up in the diamond industry. My family has been working with diamonds for over half a century and that legacy spans all sides of this fascinating business — from cutting diamonds and selling wholesale to retail stores, to appraising jewelry and creating beautiful custom-made heirlooms.
Why did you decide to become a gemologist?
It’s in my blood. My father, my great uncle, and several family members have all been involved in the business. It was a natural progression for me and I’ve never regretted the decision.
Can you describe what it means to be a GIA Graduate Gemologist?
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is widely considered to be the most prestigious professional gemology school in the world. The institution provides gemologists like me with comprehensive knowledge of everything that’s needed to succeed in the industry.
The program teaches how to grade diamonds and other colored stones, including the scientific and technical aspects of identifying and classifying diamonds. Only those who complete and pass the program will earn the Graduate Gemologist (GG) designation along with a GIA diploma.
There are only a few jewelers with the GG designation in the world. I might actually be the only one here in Portland that completed a residency study at GIA on the Carlsbad campus. It was a unique opportunity to spend entire days grading diamonds and gemstones.
Why is having a gemologist on staff beneficial for customers?
Whatever questions you have about a diamond, a Graduate Gemologist can answer it. This is a valuable resource as you’re making the decision to invest in a diamond.
Most customers purchasing an engagement ring are new to the diamond world and need time to understand more about the grading system before they purchase their diamond. As a GIA Graduate Gemologist, I sit with customers and make sure they have all the information they need to make a smart, informed decision.
What do you enjoy most about being a gemologist?
One of my favorite parts of my day is when I’m sitting with a new client and teaching them the importance of the 4Cs (color, cut, clarity & carat).
How did Malka Diamonds come to be?
I had started an appraisal lab, Independent Gemological Services (IGS), in 2004. I enjoyed working behind the scenes of the diamond industry in Portland.
But then one day, a storefront spot became available in downtown Portland (on SW 3rd Ave). Ronnie and I had the idea of creating a one-stop, state-of-the-art jewelry shop that could house my appraisal lab as well as the highest-quality diamonds and jewelry services in town. The rest, as they say, is history!
What’s a typical day like at Malka Diamonds?
Every day brings new and familiar faces into our store.
Some come in for their first time and we enjoy getting to know each other and introducing them to our merchandise and team. Others may come in as a second or third visit to look at a custom project or revisit stones they liked. There are also those who come in to pick up their finished piece (those days are some of my favorite.)
In every step, we enjoy our conversation and love how it makes each day a little different.
Diamonds are always in style, but what are some other stones you see becoming popular in the jewelry industry?
Diamonds of different clarity. For instance, our salt and pepper diamond collection. We are also seeing an increased interest in sapphires in teal or greenish blue hues.
What is your favorite engagement ring trend?
Our custom 3-stone ring is a popular trend I like. Specifically, when we partner the appropriate cuts with the center stone. For example, an emerald cut with trapezoid diamonds on the sides or a round diamond with half-moon cut diamonds. I’d love to show you these pieces, they’re just gorgeous.
Any exciting new jewelry trends you predict for the near future?
Classic styles are coming back. The simple and timeless solitaire and traditional 3-stone are heading back in vogue and we are thrilled.
What makes Malka Diamonds the best place to purchase a diamond in Portland?
I would say it’s two reasons:
Because we know diamonds inside and out
We care about providing outstanding service and quality
We actually have 2 GIA Certified Gemologists here on staff and are eager to pass on our diamond expertise to you. Our entire team is great at taking the time to listen. It’s all about working in tandem with you to custom create or choose the best design and something you’ll really cherish.
Come visit David and the team!
Even if you’re still early in your diamond buying process and just want to come in and take a look around and learn a bit more, David, Ronnie, and the rest of our team would love to welcome you through our doors.
Stop by Malka Diamonds and experience the difference yourself. We’re located in downtown Portland on SW 3rd and we can’t wait to meet you.