Anthony Hirsh, founder and managing director of Hirsh London, has given a $100,000 gift to the Gemological Institute of America to support student scholarships at the Institute’s London branch. This marks the first major financial contribution made to support prospective students who want to attend GIA classes in London.
Initially, 20% of the gift will be used to establish the Anthony Hirsh Scholarship, which will be disbursed annually to provide opportunities for United Kingdom residents. The first available scholarships will be awarded for the 2006 academic year.
The remaining 80% of the gift will go into the GIA Endowment Fund, where it will be permanently invested; a portion of the interest it generates will be used for additional GIA London scholarships over time.
Hirsh said he considers training an important part of the industry, and that furthering the gemological education of the younger generation will help stabilize the future of the trade.
“I believe the competitive strength of retail stores depends on a knowledgeable, professional, and qualified staff that can offer a personal level of service and after-sales care,” he said. “We need an educated work force. GIA promotes knowledge and encourages learning about gemology on a worldwide basis. GIA has to be of great importance to the trade to secure the future.”
Hirsh learned his jewelry design and craftsmanship skills from legendary London-based jeweler, Laurence Graff. The two met by chance in 1969 and instantly established a rapport.
He was a director of Graff for the next decade, but left to establish Hirsh London in 1980. The company has two retail locations in London and specializes in custom-designed, hand-crafted jewelry—most notably, engagement rings.