Inside the 2022 Jewel Charity Ball at Fort Worth’s iconic Pioneer Tower

Deborah Ferguson, Michelle Marlow (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

Ohe wants a Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment? Well, if you were lucky enough to attend the 2022 edition Bijou Charity Ball at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibit Hall, you get it – and so much more. The iconic Pioneer Tower glowed a charming “Tiffany Blue” to reflect the evening’s Audrey Hepburn-inspired theme. This same shadow was also cast on the exterior of the building, shining softly throughout the ballroom as the ladies walked around.

It was the whole long-time vision (it was the ball planned for 2021) of my dear friends, the chairman of JCB Michelle Marlow and bowling chairs, Olivia Kearney, Paige Pate (PaperCity contributing editor), and Julie Sawyer. The ball is a long-standing tradition cherished in Fort Worth in honor of the Angel Donors who generously support Cook Children’s patients.

Nancy Lamb documents the 2022 Jewel Charity Ball in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

For a bit of history: Jewel charity was formed when two women, Mrs. Nenetta Burton Carter and Mrs. Billie Bransford Clark, president of the Women’s Board of Fort Worth Children’s Hospital, had a vision to raise funds to support families who were unable to afford their children’s care. A committee of 15 women was formed and quickly grew with the first event taking place in January 1954 raising $9,000.

The sparkling bedroom, magically transformed by Melanie Tatum, was filled with a crowd gloriously dressed in black tie. Intimate seating areas had been created for guests to visit friends many had not seen since December and the abundance of the holiday season. I immediately came across Marlow and Kearney who were both wearing exquisite pieces hand selected by official jeweler JCB, Tiffany and company. Later, I saw their fellow presidents as well as Steeplechase and Assembly Debutantes, who were also dripping in fabulous trinkets from the revered jeweler. Anyone who realized they might need another bracelet, necklace or pair of earrings had the option to purchase some of Tiffany’s dazzling pieces from her pop-up.

Yellow feathers go perfectly with diamonds, Karen Simon.  (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Yellow feathers go perfectly with diamonds, Karen Simon. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

On the fashion side, Julia Sawyer was in hot pink Naeem Khan. Mackenzie Brittingham cut a fine figure, with her creations worn by Michelle Marlow (in a spectacular one-shoulder dress), Olivia Kearney (whose dashing husband, lawyer Jeff Kerney, had given her a surprise gift earlier in the evening — a David Webb Persian turquoise and diamond ring) and Paige Pate (who accessorized with one-of-a-kind Mizuki Collections jewelry). Designer Julie Hayes (whose work is featured in our April issue) wore the Italian line bigger marmo.

Eric Nelsen (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)
Eric Nelsen at the 2022 Jewel Charity Ball. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

“My favorite moment must have been watching so many couples crowding onto the dance floor,” Pate recalled. “Before dinner, during dinner and late in the evening.” Rarely have I been to an event where guests were heading to the dance floor between classes.

One of the memories I will take home from the evening was seeing Marlow on stage with the five men in her life (her husband, Scott, and her four sons who all came to be with her) and quoting Audrey Hepburn: “To give is to live. . If you stop wanting to give, there is no more reason to live.

The hand that sparkles with a caviar ring, worn by Ashley German. (right): A pink heart-shaped bag turns out to be the perfect accessory for a night out on the town. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

Some of the more than 1,500 dancers spotted throughout the night included Kelly and Jeff Dillard (underwrites the Temptations – a performance most won’t soon forget), Christy Dunaway-Smith (in a voluminous blue Tish Cox dress ready for the entrance), Shannon and Stephen Nolan (their daughter Ariana was part of the Debs that night), Becky Bowen (who made the trip from Dallas because she never wants to miss a JCB gala), Paige and Neil Randel, Anna and Orlando Carvalho, Kathy Sneed, Jill Moserand Marisa Selkirk.