Anthony Oppenheimer said that it would be the diamond families who had built the industry who would bring it into the 21st century. In recognition of long-standing relationships, he said, "...it is the bond between families that is the unbreakable link."
Centuries ago, while traveling the caravan and trade routes throughout Europe, India, the Far East, and China, precious stones and diamond traders developed such close international connections, based on personal and family ties, that most transactions were not recorded. And now, today, at Diamond Bourses worldwide, all negotiations are concluded with a handshake and the traditional phrase: in Yiddish, mazel und brucha; or, in Hebrew, mazal u'bracha; or, the Arabic equivalent, mabruk.
|Symbolizing a commitment to keep one's word, the code of business ethics behind the words is what actually defines the global diamond business. Even in transactions involving millions of dollars, no formal contracts are written; the words and the handshake forming a verbal contract that is binding on all parties.|
Legend has it that the "mazal u'bracha" code of ethics originated in the 12th century with the Maimon family. Mazal (luck) referring to David ben Maimon; bracha (blessing) symbolizing Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides). According to the legend, Maimonides asked his brother, David, to conclude all of his business dealings in this way.
Maimonides (Rambam; 1135-1204), the foremost medieval Jewish philosopher, was born in Spain and moved with his family to Cairo, Egypt, where he became the court physician to Saladin. His writings ("Guide to the Perplexed" and "Mishneh Torah") have influenced many Christian and Jewish thinkers throughout the ages. His brother was a precious stones trader.
Mazal coins were minted as legal tender in the 12th and 13th century in Poland. The Hebrew words mazel tov (good luck), bracha tova (good blessing) and bracha v'hatzlacha (blessing and success) were engraved on the coins.
The first time "mazal u'bracha" was mentioned in reference to the diamond trade was in the diary of Glueckel of Hamlin (1645-1724) which gave an account of the Jewish economic history of the time.
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