Style Icon: Galatea

Showing thanks for her creative side, Galatea stands by a red glass swirl and in front of a painting she created including the symbol, signifying "gratitude" and around which she has designed a jewelry collection. She wears her a bracelet of her own design, a cuff that is part of the Goddess collection, and a sentimental carnelian stone ring. BCBG silk top and Boston Proper leggings.

International Jewelry Designer & Diamond Broker

Written by Tracy James

Photographed by Chuck St. John

Like a hummingbird, Galatea is tiny and vivacious, spiriting her 5’1” frame from place to place, whether designing custom jewelry, traveling abroad, or out on the town dancing with friends. In addition to her exotic good looks (her mother is Greek and her father from Jewish descent), a radiant energy seems to surround the Birmingham native, the rays shining into her work and personal relationships.

It is her ability to connect with people on a personal level that brought Galatea to the trade of jewelry design in the first place. She began by altering existing pieces of jewelry, which others so admired that they often offered to purchase right off of her body. Offers to join jewelry design companies began to come in, and she finally accepted, subsequently being sent to train in Spain. Eventually she would make connections in the diamond industry. “Most of the diamond cutters were from Israel and seemed impressed this Greek girl from Alabama could speak Hebrew,” Galatea laughs. In addition to designing unique pieces inspired by quotes, people and even buildings, the majority of Galatea’s business is engagement rings, an experience she counts as an honor. “I am thrilled to be a part of one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life; I want the energy and love that goes into creating their ring go with them on their journey together.”

Describing her personal style as flowing, contemporary and a bit dramatic, Galatea remembers, “I once wore a scarf around my head that reached the ground. That was a little dramatic, and I liked it.” Although she prefers fabric that is diaphanous and moves when one walks, she also believes in showing one’s shape. Head-to-toe white is a signature, “It is pure, fresh and clean,” Galatea says. “The image I have is of a girl riding a white horse on the beach, her white dress flowing in the breeze.” But she allows her mood, not trends, to guide her daily wardrobe choices, and enjoys mixing up her style accordingly. Recently, she has been changing her look completely by straightening her hair on occassion. “I can walk past someone I have known for years and they won’t recognize me, which is very fun for me.”

Galatea loves incorporating scarves into her outfits in a variety of ways. This batik silk scarf from Iran was a gift from a Persian friend. Joe's Jeans white denim, Boston Proper top and tank.

Galatea’s ensembles almost always include her self-designed cuff from the Goddess collection and a sentimental ring that was a gift from her favorite aunt. The gold and silver cuff features a girl’s face, diamonds sprinkled throughout her loose tendrils, and an outstretched, open hand holding a bezel set diamond. The ring, a simply set carnelian stone surrounded with gold scroll work, was purchased in Greece by her uncle and given to her favorite aunt Catherine, who would later pass the ring on to Galatea. Her aunt Catherine, the first woman Vice President of Grey Advertising in NYC, taught Galatea a lot about style: “She looked like a movie star and dressed beautifully; both women and men alike would turn to look at her.” Her aunt carried that stylish persona from the board room into her personal life, embodying class not just through her clothing but in how she carried herself as well. “I remember the two things she told me never to do: never chew gum in public and never reveal your age. I take that advice and don’t do either one.”

Throughout her life Galatea has surrounded herself with inspiration, both literally and figuratively, via people, literature, art, and the favorite sayings that adorn her walls and refrigerator. One of her favorites sums up the way she lives her life, designs her jewelry, treats others and herself: “Remember whatever the question, if your answer is love, you will always be right.”

In the lobby of her Southside condominium, Galatea heads out for an evening of dinner and dancing in a buff-colored Bebe dress, Donald Pliner shoes, and Brahmin purse.

A leather briefcase by Nandelli sits beside a glass mosaic vase that Galatea turned into a dramatic lamp.

A collector of inspirational quotes, Galatea surrounds herself with her favorites. At top right is a nymph pendant Galatea designed in 18K royal yellow gold with tiny diamonds. Below, two of her favorite pieces from Turkey that have influenced her own designs: on left, cuff featuring design pressed 24k gold leaf and tiny bezel set diamonds. On right, ring includes the swirl symbolizing gratitude that has become a signature for Galatea.

Galatea loves designing very personal pieces, like those in her "Touch My Face" collection, created for expecting and new mothers. The pendant on the left represents the mother-to be; once the child arrives, the additional figure is added.

12 Responses to “Style Icon: Galatea”

  1. Frances Koll says:

    Loved the article!
    It was very well written and truly captured Galatea’s spirit.

    Her soul is expressed in all her beautiful designs and personal life.
    All from the point of LOVE!

  2. Nann Sewell says:

    This article is beautifully written and captures Galatea and her exotic, loving, and giving spirit. She is truly a beautiful person both inside and out and aspires to lift others to a higher place in life. Her creativity and talent are as remarkable as she is. I am privileged to have her for a friend.
    Thanks for sharing the profile of this beautiful southern lady and her God given talent with others.

  3. MB says:

    Great article…great lady! Thanks for profiling a Birmingham original.

  4. Erin & Jeff R says:

    Galatea is the best! She has helped nearly everyone in our family find just the right piece.
    She is everything this article says and more. Birmingham is lucky to have an artist like her.

  5. Beauty and Class well documented. Galatea is the jewel in the crown of Birmingham!

  6. Marilyn Slater says:

    Galatea is one of Birmingham’s “jewels” herself. This article really captured her essence and radiant beauty.
    I wish her all of life’s blessings. She deserves it.

  7. Greg says:

    Galatea is awesome! In August 2012, my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and with some very special family diamonds, Galatea created a “new” family heirloom diamond ring that I presented to my wife on our anniversary while gliding along the inner passage of Alaska. It was an evening to remember and a new family heirloom that will be passed along for generations long after us. What she did with these diamonds and for our special occasion is/was beyond words; the detail and work was literally breathtaking. Galatea is not only talented, she is a gift.

  8. Ron says:

    Galatea is a gifted artist, and a pleasure to know. She breathes the beauty of what she believes into her work!

  9. Dr Russ Fine says:

    Awesome lady and awesome article. Known her for many years. She is good to the core.

  10. greg bernstein says:

    Greg Bernstein- What beautiful photographs of you. It was facinating to learn about your ancestry. I forgot that you knew Hebrew. I’ve learned a a new appreciation for your dresswhare and jewelry you wear. Your everything good and right about this world! It’s too bad there and nearly as many people like you!

  11. Robert Robinson says:

    Wonderfully written article! She is an incredible lady full of grace and poise, and an amazing designer to boot! I am so glad the article was written so well, and to know such a sweet and talented lady! -rob

  12. Nabella says:

    Beautiful article on a beautiful lady. No one kinder, sweeter and more stylish than Galatea. Proud to know her.

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