| Lifestyles

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Diamond Horseshoe Ball sparkles with a 'Pageant of Jewels'

Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 8:02 p.m.

“What an amazing 75 years it's been,” Pittsburgh Opera board prez Clyde Jones said as he addressed a glittering ballroom at the Omni William Penn. “And to think that it all started with five intrepid ladies who thought Pittsburghers shouldn't have to travel to hear a good opera.”

Having gotten its name from the fabled and bejeweled lower tier of box seats at the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York City known as the “diamond horseshoe,” the 59th annual Diamond Horseshoe Ball on Oct. 11 came with a swoon-worthy nod to the past thanks to a “Pageant of Jewels” on display from Joden World Resources.

“This is Rembrandt, Michelangelo, the best,” said Joden owner Joe Murawski as he showed off 13 pieces from famed jeweler Carlo Giuliano.

“We came and immediately said, ‘Can we go in?' ” laughed Vivian Benter (with Bill) as she, board chairwoman Michele Fabrizi and Gabriela Porges (with David) made a beeline for a 160-carat diamond tiara from the 1860s designed by Garrard of London.

Who can blame them? Apart from ongoing wagers as to who would be the first to get their hands on it (money was on Special Events Manager Sam Badger), little doubt was left as to how many stakes were being claimed from the likes of co-chairs Susan and Nicholas Loutsion, Nancy and John Traina, Roseanne and Mark Wholey, Jim and Kathe Patrinos, Sandie and Bob Brand, Nadine Bognar, Dr. Lisa Cibik and Bernie Kobosky, and Rose Kutsenkow. Another past-meets-present moment unfolded during the drawing for the Diamond Horseshoe Pendant, a tradition started by Mr. and Mrs. John C. Keppie back in 1947 (carried on by their granddaughter Heather Gorman).

“This made my night!” said lucky recipient Melanie Crockard (with Jim).

Rounding out the night was a reunion of sorts as General Director Christopher Hahn was joined by former helmsmen Tito Capobianco and Mark Weinstein, Resident Artists showed off their pipes during a perfectly timed performance; and event chairs Jim and Electra Agras were lauded for their decades-long support.

“Those who understand the arts are vital to the social fabric of our region,” Jim Agras said.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at or 412-380-8515.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
  2. Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
  3. Steelers’ Bell, Chiefs’ Charles elevating running back position in NFL
  4. Pitt players support Rudolph for job
  5. Pouliot scores in NHL debut as Penguins tame Panthers
  6. Steelers notebook: Bell says he’s prepared to test Chiefs defense
  7. The language of bribery from the Philly legislative sting case
  8. Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
  9. North Hills principal aims to make world ‘a better place’
  10. Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
  11. Westmoreland County furloughs weights and measurements director
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.