The Mazzel Ritual: Trust, Loyalty, Risk, and the Culture of the Diamond Trade
This chapter deals with the ‘diamond culture,’ with its rituals and customs. The Mazzel ritual of a noncontractual agreement, concluded by a simple handshake and the magic word mazzel, is explained here in the context of a semi-autonomous legal field and middleman minority community. The ritual is based on the trust, loyalty, and reputation of the diamantair, which is built up inside his ethnic community, and which secures him from various risks and dangers from the outside world. When, however, disputes or conflicts among diamantairs arise, the community provides mechanisms to solve them by an inner arbitration system. The main purpose is to protect the individual reputation of the diamantair on one hand, and the collective reputation of the diamond community. The specific case of GIA serves here as illustration.