The Gattas family has been in the fine jewelry business for more than 40 years, spanning two generations, in the Mid-South, making them experts on engagement rings, from classic and timeless to artistic and trendy. We were excited to talk with James Gattas of James Gattas Jewelers, a gemologist, certified diamontologist and local expert in traditional and fashion-forward bridal engagement pieces.
James emphasizes the engagement ring is a significant piece of a couple’s history, saying, “It’s a symbolism of their connection that they will be in the relationship forever.” Understanding the couple and their style is the first step in matching their personality to a ring, and the Gattases have a knack for knowing a couple’s style as soon as they begin interacting with them over the jewelry counter.
“It’s important to find both the right style and best quality for the couple,” says James, who calls the center diamond the “Mona Lisa” and the mounting the “frame.”
We asked James to guide us through the different types of rings to fit a range of different personalities and styles. From traditional to avant-garde, each of these engagement rings share one significant and unifying thread: They symbolize a couple’s lifelong love and connection.
7 Engagement Rings to Fit Your Personal Style
The avant-garde sees the world as their stage. Everyday life is meant to be explored through dramatic style. The avant-garde bride views life through a unique lens, thus her ring should capture that one-of-a-kind look. James describes the selection for the avant-garde as a piece that is asymmetrical, perhaps with a colored stone and a singular flair — something that shouts untraditional. For the avant-garde, James selects the following sapphire and diamond piece that is anything but ordinary.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough,” said Einstein. Those who gravitate towards simplicity embrace understated elegance. This bride does not seek to impress, rather, to simply savor the small joys and raw beauty in everyday life. The ring that expresses simplicity is gorgeously restrained — and noticeably so. James selects a beautiful white gold rectangle diamond that runs the lines of the frame bordered by two smaller rectangular shaped diamonds to showcase the quiet, sleek beauty of the bride who leans toward a simpler style.
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The edgy personality is manifested in the person who dares to push boundaries and step forward when everyone else is standing still or stepping back. Different from the avant-garde, this risk-taker seeks to display a dramatic, personal flair in their style, one that turns heads and breaks boundaries before others do. James showcases the edgy through a ring that adds an unconventional frame of rose gold and a multi-faceted shape, ensuring to differentiate its character.
The romantic is an imaginative dreamer, seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. The romantic bride is living her fairytale dream, and having met her true love, she exudes love in the tilt of her head and the twinkle in her eye as she seemingly floats from room to room and eventually into her groom’s arms. For her, the most basic of moments is showered with affection. For the romantic bride, James selects a dainty ring with a significant “Mona Lisa” center diamond encircled by a flowery frame with smaller side diamonds set in white gold or platinum.
The art-forward style belongs to the creative who expresses themselves uniquely. The art-forward bride is typically described as a deeply introspective, creative thinker who spends a great deal of time cultivating expression of their craft — whether through traditional arts, culinary arts or even mind-bending sciences. This bride’s ring must be a creative expression of the multi-passionate sentiments that define the art-forward. James selects a piece that combines white and rose gold, allowing for the divergent countenance that expresses the art-forward.
The classic personality exudes a style that is polished and timeless with hair neatly combed, clothing in chic styles and accent pieces that effortlessly stand out — though every decision is made with intention, from style to mannerisms. The classic bride is steadfast, focused and precise, and the ring for the classic bride showcases an elegant, straightforward style. James selects a standout solitaire framed in platinum and encased with accent diamonds.
The traditionalist exudes a humble confidence, valuing their heritage and place. The traditionalist is kind-hearted and thoughtfully conservative with a timeless style in both clothing and home décor. The traditionalist is more likely to be reserved yet authentic, present and engaged, graciously making everyone feel welcome and bringing comfort with her easy demeanor. For the traditionalist, James selects a bold yet understated solitaire flanked by smaller diamonds, all set in platinum.
“Ultimately, you can’t judge a book by its cover,” says James. “Getting to know the client through conversation about the couple’s history is a fundamental step in identifying their personality and matching it to the ring.” Though our modern world has evolved so that most anything goes, Gattas notes the Memphis market is still largely traditional.
When a client can’t quite find the right piece for them, they can opt to customize the ring of their dreams through Gattas Jewelers. There are so many variations in creating a style and look — yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum, rose and two-toned with rose-and-white or rose-and-platinum settings. Stone size and shape can also be customized to capture the bride’s signature style and the couple’s love through the engagement ring.
Tips for Choosing Your Engagement Ring
We asked James to give us some additional tips when choosing the perfect engagement ring. He says, “It is imperative to consider your lifestyle first. How active are you? Are you a gardener? Do you play sports? Are you a homemaker? Answering these questions helps establish the expected wear and tear of the ring.”
The mounting is the form and function of the ring and needs to stand up to the bride’s lifestyle. You want something that looks good, fits your hand and fits your lifestyle. James says choosing wisely can make a lifelong difference. “We have seen rings from the 1920s and the 1930s that have held up through the decades, but we also see people come in with 15-year-old rings that are not holding up to the lifestyle.”
If the bottom of the band is too thin, the prongs holding the diamond are too small and there is too much open work, the mounting can bend through normal wear and tear. “The form has to follow the function,” says James. “Platinum is the most expensive metal and the most enduring — white metals in general hold up well. Platinum is very strong in the vintage look because that is what estate pieces were originally created in. Though, the current movement is trending toward yellow-gold because it is featured in most fashion magazines.”
Diamonds are truly special in that no two are alike, much like each couple’s relationship. While you want to understand the elements of the diamond in order to select a piece that will stand the test of time, you also want a ring that captures your unique personality and represents your connection to one another. After all, it is a piece that will adorn your hand all the days of your marriage.
James Gattas Jewelers is located at 4900 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38117. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed on Sundays. To learn more, call (901) 767-9648 or visit gattasjewelers.com.
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