Last week, Sir Elton John and David Furnish hosted the Argento Ball, a milestone fundraising event which celebrated 25 years of achievements by the Elton John AIDS Foundation held in association with BVLGARI, the iconic Italian jewellery, and long-standing supporters of the charity Bob and Tamar Manoukian.
With ticket sales, auction, pledges and personal donations on the night, over £4.4 million in total was raised from the evening to support the charity’s work with young people around the world. This is the only age group for whom HIV infections are rising, with more than 200,000 young people infected with HIV last year alone.
The auction included a breath-taking, bespoke McLaren 5708 Spider super car hand-sprayed by McLaren’s craftsmen and women in ‘Special’ metallic Blade Silver; a one-of-a kind Gucci Experience around Sir Elton’s Farewell Tour Concert; and A Private Breakfast with Victoria Beckham alongside the creation of a bespoke copy of the garment that Victoria was wearing on the evening.
Of particular interest amongst the bidders in the room, was a limited edition bejewelled spinner based on a child’s fidget spinner designed by Sir Elton John and Bulgari Jewellery Creative Director Lucia Silvestri to commemorate the charity’s 25th Anniversary. Set with green chalcedony, cultured Akoya pearls, amethyst, citrine, topaz and pavé diamonds, it’s as unexpected as it is brilliant, a symbol of fun, glamour, and the irresistible alchemy that occurs when you throw tradition to the wind and rewrite the rules your own way. An exuberant expression of bold BVLGARI magnificence, it’s a one-of-a-kind piece for a one-of-a-kind cause.
“Last September, I had the immense pleasure of visiting the Bulgari Gem Table in Rome to co-design this unexpected and beautifully crafted piece of jewellery. I am so pleased that this exquisite work of art has helped to raise funds for our important work in saving lives around the world,” explained Sir Elton.
The evening’s fundraising also saw every guest who pledged £5,000 to help 500 young people access HIV information, condoms, an HIV self-test and medical care, entered into a prize drawer to win a 7-night stay for up to 8 adults and 4 children at the original desert island hideaway, Soneva Fushi in the Maldives.
Long-term EJAF supporter and Trustee of the Foundation Graham Norton was Master of Ceremonies for the night which featured a captivating performance by the most successful recording artist of 2017 Ed Sheeran; celebrity impressions from Nicole Parker as well as a roof-raising DJ set from the Platinum Award winning drum and bass band, Rudimental.
In addition to the entertainment, guests were presented with the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s headline achievements since its formation in 1993.
“HIV has changed from a death sentence to a manageable condition, requiring just one pill a day. We are so very proud of the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s role in this extraordinary progress over the last 25 years and will continue in our mission to create a future free from AIDS,” commented David Furnish.