Artminers, The Institute for Sustainable Mining, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation to fund a scholarship program to enable Malagasy citizens to attend two gemology institutes in Madagascar.
The program is designed for high impact in Madagascar’s burgeoning gem industry, the two organizations said in a joint statement. In the past, most of Madagascar’s gems have been exported as rough stones straight from diggers to dealers. The ability for Madagascar to add value to the supply chain with trained gemologists, gem cutters, and jewelry designers through this program is significant.
“Madagascar’s yearly per-capita income is $280/year,” said Tom Cushman, Artminers project manager. “A skilled worker in a gem factory can earn $165/month.”
Cushman co-founded the Institute Gemologie Madagascar in 2003 to spur economic development in his adopted country. Support from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation will enable nearly 150 students to attend the IGM in the capital city Antananarivo, and the ESSVA in Madagascar’s primary gem district of Antsirabe.
“The Tiffany & Co. Foundation focuses its efforts in areas in which small-scale mining occurs and looks to promote economic and social development within these communities,” said Fernanda Kellogg, Tiffany & Co. Foundation president. “By supporting Artminers in its work to create a skilled labor force for colored gemstone mining, the Foundation recognizes the increasing importance of Madagascar for gem sourcing.”
Artminers director Kristina Shafer added: “The continued innovation shown by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation to empower the smallest producers in the supply chain is outstanding and we’re honored to have their generous support of our mission.”