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Zale’s Tales: Family and Friendships

The jewelry industry: where friendships last a lifetime

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Family and Friendships

Zale's Tales Family and Friendships MB Zale & Wife

My grandparents on their 50th wedding anniversary, back in 1976

This month would have been my Grandparents 90th wedding anniversary. They’ve both been gone now for about 20 years. The jewelry journey that MB Zale took, beginning in Shereshov Russia in 1901 (today it’s in Belarus) that took him to northwest Texas, and then all around the world many times resulted in his making numerous friends from all corners of this wonderful industry. And one of the great things about the jewelry business is that those friendships span the generations.

Earlier this month while in Tucson, I had the pleasure of meeting with the scion of one of the oldest and most significant companies in the colored gemstones business. I told the gentleman how my grandfather traveled to India many times: Surat, Jaipur, Bombay (back in the day) and Delhi.  Vendors became friends. And of course, this particular company was among those that did business with Zale in the 1950s through the 70s and we have many mutual friends today.

Building Global Connections

My grandmother even arranged for some of my cousins to become pen-pals with the children and grandchildren of some of their new friends in India. This helped to make the world more approachable for us.

Traveling with my grandfather inevitably included running into friends from the business, regardless of where we were — from random restaurants in Hong Kong to even simply walking along E 72nd Street in New York.

Giving Back

One of the most satisfying things I was privileged to do was attend the dedication ceremony of a hospital that we helped fund in a small village in the state of Gujarat in northwest India. The village, about a two-hour drive from Ahmedabad, is home to one of the Indian families we did a lot of diamond business with. Building the hospital, which provides essential basic services to the villagers, was their way of giving back. And our family was extremely happy to help.

Ninety years after their wedding in Wichita Falls, Texas, my grandparents’ legacy lives on in many ways. Among the most poignant is in the friendships that span generations and a culture of charity and goodwill (Tzadakah).