Runaway Spoon

Cleopatra Would've Bought Into This Collection

November 16, 2012

A slice of the Nile washed up on the shores of the Potomac in the form of Egyptian treasures presented at an exquisite jewelry show at the Four Seasons.   Wasn’t it Elizabeth Taylor who wore such wonderful stuff in Cleopatra?

Sylvia Ragheb and Randa Fahmy Aboul-Nasr (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Sylvia Ragheb and Randa Fahmy Aboul-Nasr

Syra Arts, owned by Sylvia Ragheb and her business partner Randa Fahmy Aboul-Nasr, invited several hundred of the well-heeled set to this opening fashion scene Thursday night.

Featured was an Egyptian collection of Azza Fahmy necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and other pieces of such classic styles that brought back memories of the Queen of Sheba, the Age of Pharoahs, and the awesome columns of the Temple of Philae.  Young, lovely models gowned in flowing white scarf-like dresses and adorned with Egyptian jewelry, swayed dreamily on a raised stage in the center of it all.

Come Fly With Me Jewelry (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Come Fly With Me Jewelry

Guests included Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik, many embassy staff -- and it was all filmed by Egyptian Al Hurr-A-TV.

Throughout the evening, scores of women tried on the glowing, sometime legendary, sometimes vintage-in-concept, but all of it beautiful, daring and eye-catching pieces of jewelry.

Perfect timing for New Year’s Eve or the Presidential Inauguration in January.

Ragheb, whose husband is Egyptian, resides in the D.C. metropolitan area, and works from a Georgetown location on 31st Street.

For more information, visit Syra Arts or contact

Trying on the jewelry (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Trying on the jewelry
Georgetown's Alla Rogers shows off Egyptian necklace (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Georgetown's Alla Rogers shows off Egyptian necklace
Al Hurr-A-TV's Alain Dargham & Luis Minos (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Al Hurr-A-TV's Alain Dargham & Luis Minos

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Abuse On the Ropes

November 4, 2012

Can the lively Moulin Rouge early 20th-century spirit blend with a strong dose of modern-day technology?

That melding enveloped the annual Knock Out Abuse Gala at the Ritz-Carlton, WashingtonThursday night.

Male model mingling (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Male model mingling

Some 750 women balanced their champagne glasses with one hand and with the other poked at hand-held gadgets supplied by the party planners to bid on auction items.  In olden times (last year and the years before), there were friendly sheets of bidding papers on the tables to write one’s bid down; they also offered a glimpse at who bid on what items.

But that’s so last century.

Several guests wondered what would happen if a visually challenged bidder mistakenly poked in an extra zero or two in the dimmed lighting. Ouch.  Rumor has it that is exactly what occurred at other events, where panic ensued among the hot-fingered bidders.

Anyway, moving on. 

Gina Adams of FedEx Corp, the Hope Diamond sponsor (main) & Jill Sorensen (on left) (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Gina Adams of FedEx Corp, the Hope Diamond sponsor (main) & Jill Sorensen (on left)

Red was the preferred cocktail attire, as the invitation said, “Think 50 Shades of Red,” of course, playing off the now-famous erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The decor carried out the cabaret theme of Moulin Rouge, which is French for red mill. There was red everywhere, feathery things and extravagant flowery ceiling hangings. Male models on display wore red feather boas and masks.  Even the dessert cake was topped with chocolate wind mills.

Hurricane Sandy left DC relatively unscathed so the high spirits could also be seen as a sign of relief for the partygoers, noted several speakers, including the emcee, newswoman Andrea Roane of W*USA 9.

Two top-hatted, bare-chest charmers (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Two top-hatted, bare-chest charmers

Supermodel Carré Otis, the 2012 honoree and guest speaker, spoke of her troubled marriage and personal history, which she detailed in her book Beauty Disrupted.  “It takes balls to be up here,” she said, speaking briefly of her oft-troubled past lifestyle. 

Nineteen years ago, Knock Out Abuse Against Women started when co-founders Cheryl Masri and Jill Sorensen were at Cafe Milano in Georgetown and dreamed up the idea of doing a charitable event to benefit domestic violence victims.

It also was a way to party it up on the same night as the men smoked cigars and drank hard stuff at the Fight Night Benefit across town at the Washington Hilton.

If the women were going to be left alone, than by golly, they were going to get dressed up and have fun, too -- all for a cause.

Tania Paira, Jana Al Marashi, Pauline Habr, Claudette Settle (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Tania Paira, Jana Al Marashi, Pauline Habr, Claudette Settle

Over the years, this sold-out one-night event has raised more than $6.5 million to restore the lives of abused women and children in the D.C. metro area, and this year was no exception, raising over $600,000.

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New Egyptian Ambassador Opens Embassy for Art Show

October 14, 2012

Up-and-coming art and jewelry promoter Sylvia Ragheb has introduced a show of progressive artwork and sculptures at the Egyptian Embassy.  On the scene greeting guests Thursday evening was the new Egyptian ambassador, Mohamed M. Tawfik who was celebrating contemporary Egyptian art and in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Smithsonian Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Jane and Calvin Cafriz, Sylvia Ragheb (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Jane and Calvin Cafriz, Sylvia Ragheb

The embassy show runs for a month. ( According to folks-in-the-know, the embassy is rarely a venue for art shows, so, to be sure, Ragheb scored a coup for her exhibition.

The 80 guests included Sama Iskander, of BG Group and his artist wife Sylvia Iskander.   Others were Yasmine Ghorbal, Gina Elnaggar, Craig Appelbaum, Jane and Dick Stoker, Jane and Calvin Cafriz, Lori Jenkins, executive vice president and general counsel of the Washington Legal Foundation, and Barbara Hawthorn, the interior decorator who helped place and arrange the artwork at the embassy.

Yasmine Ghorbal (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Yasmine Ghorbal

Ragheb plans to launch her first Egyptian jewelry show on Thursday evening November 15, in time for holiday shopping, at the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown.

Ragheb, of Dutch birth, opened her first show earlier this year in the United States with a successful exhibition of Egyptian and Italian art at the respected ArtPalm Beach in Florida, followed by a six-month exhibition at the Washington Design Center.

“With the expansion of the communication and investment sectors, this has truly become a global economy,” she says.  “Now, many people are looking around to see what is available, what strikes their fancy, and what could appreciate in value over time.” She sees great opportunities in America for superior jewelry and art from abroad. The line of jewelry is Azza Fahmy. (

Jane and Dick Stoker and Craig Appelbaum of Industry Gallery (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Jane and Dick Stoker and Craig Appelbaum of Industry Gallery

Ragheb resided in Egypt with her husband and children until moving to the D.C. Metropolitan Area. One piece of her elegant Egyptian jewelry was offered at the CharityWorksDC  Dream Ball last month at the National Building Museum. 

Art by Khaled Hafez of Cairo, Egypt (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Art by Khaled Hafez of Cairo, Egypt

Among the painters and sculptors Ragheb represents are Adam Henein (known as the Godfather of Egyptian sculpture), Khaled Hafez, Adel El Siwi, Galila Nawar,  Armen Agop, Ramses Marzouk, Essam, Darwish, Sameh Ismael, and Essam Marouf.

Sylvia Ragheb surround by daughters Hana (left) & Laura. (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Sylvia Ragheb surround by daughters Hana (left) & Laura.

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