Ramble On Ron

Diamonds, Music and other Facets of Life

The Meaning of “Mazal” In The Diamond Business

Posted on | April 25, 2015 | No Comments

After reading an article in New York Magazine titled “The Secret Slang of the Diamond Diamond District,” I thought that this would be a good opportunity to write a blog post about the most important term in the diamond business, MAZL,(or mazel or mazal) and what it means. Also, I wanted to explain that this rule doesn’t seem to apply to retail customers and it should.

From NY Magazine’s article:

The most significant phrase on the street, and perhaps in the global trade, is mazl un brokhe — “good luck and a blessing” — which is commonly abbreviated to “mazl.” It is hard to overstate the power of this oral handshake, which seals million-dollar deals without lawyers, witnesses or contracts. In “making mazl,” diamantaires stake their honor (and that of their family), and the term garners near-universal respect.

So, I went into the archives of Ramble On Ron and discovered a draft from August 2011. It says everything I want to express. This remains unchanged from 2011 – please read it below:

AUGUST 11, 2011

There are a lot of quirky, old school practices in the diamond business, but the one that I use on regular basis is commonly referred to as a “mazl”. Mazel Tov in Hebrew (or Yiddish) means “Good luck” or “Congratulations” that is often said on a happy occasion. However, that word, MAZL (pronounced MAZAL) and a handshake in the diamond business means that the deal is done.

Here’s an example. I make a sale on a diamond with another dealer/member of the trade. Let’s say he wants to buy a diamond from me for $5,000. I agree to the price and we make a mazl. That means that I can’t go back on my decision and neither can he. So even if I am still holding the stone and another dealer or retail customer offers more, I can’t sell it to someone else. And in the buyer’s case, if he changes his mind or decides that he doesn’t need it the next day – it’s too late. It’s a DONE DEAL.

Some customers definitely don’t understand this. It’s often referred to as “buyer’s remorse” but sometimes I see it the other way around – like “seller’s remorse”. I take a risk when I buy. What if gold or silver goes down? What if the diamond market collapses? Or if the diamond is chipped under a prong, or not the color or carat weight that I thought it was? In any of these cases, I took the risk!

Let’s take the flip side. If gold goes down, should I call all of my customers and ask them to write me a check for the money I lost from when it was bought? If a diamond comes back from the lab at a different grade than I thought, can I go back on the deal? The answer is no, I wouldn’t do that – and customers shouldn’t either. Whether you are in my business or not, when you make a deal and shake hands, it’s done. To go back on the deal, ask for a price increase or change the terms of the deal, takes a lot of a CHUTZPAH!