There are masbaha, and then there are Mazlo misbaha. For over 500 years, the ‘alchemical’ test invented by Georgius Sayegh el-Mazloum has been the privileged tool of the Mazlo House. Its seven questions and their vocabulary of shapes, colors, numbers and signs compose a universal means to decode the personalities. Today, this information lies in the hands of Robert Mazlo and the craftsmen at Le Maison Mazlo.
The history of masbaha stretches back thousands of years and indeed covers all of the world’s major faiths; from Buddhism to Hinduism, to Christianity and of course Islam. It is notable that, throughout much of the world, masbaha are typically simple and even plain. Yet in the Arab world they are far more likely to be highly decorative. Why? I’ll let Mazlo, whose eloquence is as beautiful as the beads with which he works, explain:
“In Europe, everything is movement. We see this in the land, in the mountains and in the trees and the wildlife. For much of the Arab world we have desert and stillness. Therefore, what we create in the Arab world must give the movement – be that through my masbaha, or through architecture or jewelry”.
Sound, too, is important. Arab lands have traditionally been lands of stillness and silence. Handling masbaha generates a gentle, soothing sound – enough to break the silence. Sometimes it is enough to handle the beads whilst in the pocket. It is enough to feel them and to hear them, more even than to see them.
The stones selected for an individual masbaha are, Mazlo believes, key to the connection with the owner. One would imagine that a man with access to so many stones, with so much choice, that Mazlo himself must have many masbaha. In fact he has only one. The stones are of amber.
The ingenious Georgious, half a millennium ago, hit upon the idea of using his alchemical knowledge to invent a short questionnaire which allowed him to assess the right stones for any individual. Over the last 30 years, remaining true to the inheritance of his prestigious ancestor, Robert Mazlo has been recollecting the family records to relearn this method and know-how.
Today, the artisans at Mazlo have revived this inheritance. The masbahas, exclusively designed for Tanagra, are created using his methods of enhancing and channeling the natural energy of gold and stones, in order to bring harmony and wellbeing to those who wear them.
First published in Men's Passion issue #34 October 2011