Field Museum Celebrates New Exhibition With 660 Feet of Falling Diamonds

The women's board of the Field Museum let the institution's latest exhibition, "The Nature of Diamonds," inspire the look of this year's gala.

By Jenny Berg October 20, 2009, 2:39 PM EDT

The Field Museum's "Diamond" gala

Photo: Eric Craig for Bizbash

The Field Museum's Diamond Gala
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On Saturday night, sparkle was in no short supply at the Field Museum, where the women's board welcomed 900 guests to its annual gala. From crystalline centerpieces atop illuminated mirror boxes to strategically placed glittering topiaries, and from projected images of tumbling diamonds to a dessert embellishment that the menu described as “golden sparkle curls,” the evening took its visual cues from the museum's latest exhibition, “The Nature of Diamonds.”

According to women's board manager Trish Farrell, “the guest list actually exceeded our expectations this year, and I think a lot of that had to do with our very energetic chair, Virginia Bobins. The women's board members were also very excited and kind of created a buzz about the event. And when you have a spectacular exhibition like 'The Nature of Diamonds,' that certainly helps [draw guests] as well.”

Indeed, the crowd seemed keen to check out the exhibition on Saturday. More than once, staffers made their way through the gown-and-tuxedo-clad attendees crowded in front of glass display cases, repeatedly announcing “the exhibition will be open for you all night long; now, please make your way to your dinner seats.”

The gala raised more than $1.4 million and drew about 250 more guests than its previous iteration, which took place in the economically precarious month of October 2008. In terms of planning and outreach, “the only thing we did a little bit differently was to start fund-raising efforts about three months earlier than in previous years,” said Farrell. ”We just got out there and tried to build anticipation. Another advantage we had was that Tiffany & Company signed on early as the sponsor; we received a lot of very generous support through them.”

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