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Podcast: Diamonds over the Decades

May 27, 2024  |  Rapaport News
Hertz Hasenfeld image

Hertz Hasenfeld, president of US-based diamond manufacturer Hasenfeld-Stein, shared his nearly 50 years of experience in the industry in an episode of the Rapaport Diamond Podcast.

Hasenfeld told Rapaport’s Joshua Freedman how the company shifted to not taking on debt during the 1980s market crash — and how this saved the business while competitors collapsed.

He related how his late father, Alexander Hasenfeld, established the company from a hospital bed and developed it into a successful polished supplier to the US and Far East markets. He also described the company’s focus on proprietary diamond cuts and how life as a De Beers sightholder has changed over the years.

The episode, recorded in March 2024, addressed the current state of the diamond trade and how learning from past crises has helped Hasenfeld-Stein deal with the most recent challenges.

In January 1980, when the company was in “eight-digit debt,” Alexander Hasenfeld issued an edict not to buy any more goods until the company was out of the red.

“By March of 1980, we were debt-free,” Hertz Hasenfeld recalled. “By April of 1980, the market crashed…. If [there’s] one event in our company’s history that saved us, [it] was that event, [when] we went debt-free in March of 1980.”

The company still stays in the black when trading is weak, he added, noting that diamonds only generate income through sales, unlike real estate, which can cover associated debts itself. “If business is doing phenomenally well, like it did in 2022, we did go into debt for [the] short term just to fill orders,” he noted.

Hasenfeld also explained the company’s plans to move from New York to New Jersey, how he responded to competition from Indian manufacturers, and the upcoming launch of the Fire Oval proprietary cut at the JCK Las Vegas show, which begins Friday.

Listen to the podcast here:


Hertz Hasenfeld image Podcast: Diamonds over the Decades

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