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Paul Flato Jewelry

American, 1900-1999

Paul Flato’s flamboyant style was matched by his larger-than-life personality. He created daring and theatrical jewelry that challenged the conservative conventions of adornment. Works like his Bird of Paradise and Feather Quill brooches and his Seashell pocket watch exemplify his audacious style while reflecting his meticulous craftsmanship. His clients included celebrities such as French-American opera singer Lily Pons, American artist and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt and American actresses Joan Crawford and Mae West.

Flato was born in 1900 into a ranching family in Shiner, Texas. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med student, but soon shifted focus and enrolled at Columbia University in New York City to study economics. With the help of some well-connected friends — including one at Tiffany & Co. — he opened a jewelry store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. 

His business steadily grew, and he sold over $1 million worth of jewelry by the time he was 27. While he had a great mind for unique ideas, he enlisted the talents of more experienced jewelers for support in drafting the pieces. In 1938, Flato opened a second store in Hollywood, California. His pieces were large and eye-catching, making them perfect for the camera. 

In 1943, Flato’s jewelry career came to an abrupt halt with larceny charges for consigning a 17-carat diamond that went missing. When he was unable to pay the consignors, they pressed charges. Flato spent 18 months in Sing Sing prison. After his release, Flato he eased back into the trade by producing pens and compact cases for makeup. Poor financial decisions led again to his falling on the wrong side of the law and he fled to South America. He ended up serving four years in a Mexican prison before being sent back to the United States to serve a five-year sentence for grand larceny.

In 1970, Flato returned to Mexico and opened a boutique in Zona Rosa, Mexico City. He spent the last 20 years of his career there, fashioning bold and bright jewelry, inspired by the indigenous culture of the country. 

In 1990, Flato moved back to Texas where he died in 1999. His outlandishly imaginative pieces remain in demand with collectors today.

On 1stDibs, enjoy the wondrous imagination of Paul Flato through his brooches, watches, bracelets and more.

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Creator: Paul Flato
Rare Paul Flato Enamel Diamond Gold Dragon Wrap Bracelet
By Paul Flato
Located in New York, NY
Rare and unique Paul Flato 18k gold wrap bracelet, depicting a dragon, decorated with vibrant enamel and approx. 0.70ctw G/VS diamonds. Bracelet has a slightly flexible construction...
Category

20th Century American Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, Gold, Enamel

Paul Flato Imperio Mexicano 1866 One Peso Watch/Pin/Pendant 18K 44.4g
By Paul Flato
Located in Chicago, IL
Paul Flato Imperio Mexicano 1866 One Peso Watch/Pin/Pendant 18K 44.4g The watch came from the certified watchmaker on January 24, 2024. Mechanical m...
Category

1860s Central American Modern Antique Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

18k Gold

Paul Flato Emerald Sapphire & Diamond Bracelet & Earrings Set
By Paul Flato
Located in New York, NY
Paul Flato Multi Gem & Diamond Bracelet & Earrings Set The earrings are made of platinum and set with 12 sapphires, 12 emeralds and round cut diamonds The bracelet is made of plat...
Category

1930s American Vintage Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire, Platinum

Blue Zircon White Diamond Platinum Flower Brooch
By Paul Flato
Located in London, GB
A beautifully made brooch in the form of a flower with a blue zircon heart surrounded by curving platinum leaf shapes with engraved veins and diamond set curved tendrils. The centre...
Category

20th Century American Art Deco Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, Zircon, Platinum

Paul Flato 1940 Deco Retro Brooch Platinum 27.09 Ctw Color Sapphires & Diamonds
By Paul Flato
Located in Miami, FL
A brooch designed by Paul Flato. An exceptional and very rare masterpiece, created In New York city back in the 1940, during the American art deco and the retro periods. This colorful elegant brooch has been designed by the famous jeweler Paul Flato. Crafted in solid .900/.999 platinum with high polished finish and fitted at the reverse with a hinged double pins with a trombone lock for safety. It is fully embellished with an exceptional repertoire of natural, earth mined and not treated or heated color gemstones. Diamonds: Mount in four-prongs settings with 12 calibrated round brilliant cut diamonds, 1.26 carats, white colorless E/F color, VS-1 clarity. Diamonds: Mount in flat settings with 12 European round brilliant cut diamonds 0.84 carats, white colorless E/F color, VS-1 clarity. Diamonds: Mount in channel settings with 56 caliber straight baguettes diamonds cut, 3.36 carats, white colorless E/F color, VS-1 clarity. Sapphires: Mounted in four-prongs settings with 21 color sapphires such; Blue (5), Yellow (4), Pink (5), Purple (2), Violet (3), Green (1) and Red (1). The total combined weight is 21.63 carats. Weight: 23.95Grams, (15.35 Dwt). Measurements: 57 mm by 33 mm (2.25 x 1.31 Inches). Hallmarks: Stamped with the maker's mark, the platinum assay mark and signed, "PAUL FLATO". Paul Edmund Flato born on September 1, 1900. He was an American jeweler, based in New York City from the 1920's to the early 1940's. Considered the first celebrity jeweler, he was well known for important jewelry, and as an early proponent of whimsical pieces. His long list of movie star clients included Greta Garbo, Mae West, Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Doris Duke, Ginger Rogers, Carmen Miranda, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Gloria Vanderbilt—many of whom wore his pieces on screen. Soon after moving to New York, he opened his own upstairs jewelry shop at One East 57th Street, at the corner of 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Several years later, Tiffany & Co. opened its flagship store directly across the street. Before long, Paul Flato was "one of the best known jewelers in New York", the only one whose "highly imaginative work (was) on a par with European jewelers...
Category

1940s American Art Deco Vintage Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, White Diamond, Sapphire, Blue Sapphire, Pink Sapphire, Yellow S...

Paul Flato Petite Midcentury 14K Yellow Gold Seashell Pocket Watch
By Paul Flato
Located in Chicago, IL
Paul Flato midcentury 14K yellow gold seashell pocket watch. Case opens compact-style to reveal hidden watch. Brushed gold dial, manual movement. The shell is a petite 1.25". Very ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Mexican Art Deco Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

14k Gold, Yellow Gold

Flato Mid-Century Gold Aquamarine Ruby Diamond Spray Brooch
By Paul Flato
Located in New York, NY
American jeweler Paul Flato captured the hearts of royalty, New York society and Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s with his important diamond and colored stone jewels. This dramatic and...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Modern Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Aquamarine, Diamond, Ruby, Gold, 18k Gold

Paul Flato Emerald Gold Leaf Brooch Pendant
By Paul Flato
Located in New York, NY
18k yellow gold brooch/pendant by Paul Flato, depicting leaves, decorated with vibrant emeralds. Brooch measures 2.5" x 2.5". Marked with Paul Flato signature. Weight - 26.1 grams.
Category

20th Century American Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Emerald, Gold

FLATO Platinum and Diamond Travel Watch
By Paul Flato
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
This unusual watch clock was created by Paul Flato in New York in the 1930s. Paul Flato was famous for his whimsical imaginative designs. In the 1930's, he counted both socialite...
Category

1930s American Vintage Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, Platinum

Historic Enamel and Diamond Gold Cigarette Box by Paul Flato
By Paul Flato
Located in New York, NY
Historic Enamel and Diamond Gold Cigarette Box By Paul Flato Circa 1942 this box designed by Paul Flato was custom made for Vogue's Editor Edna Wo...
Category

1940s Vintage Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, Gold, 14k Gold, Platinum, Enamel

Gold Ruby Diamond Flower Brooch Bangle
By Paul Flato
Located in London, GB
A fabulous bangle attributed to Paul Flato, created in the 1940’s. This chic piece allows the flower head motif to be detached and worn independently as a brooch. The craftsmanship ...
Category

20th Century American Retro Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, White Diamond, Ruby, Gold, 14k Gold, Yellow Gold

Paul Flato Diamond Leaf Brooch
By Paul Flato
Located in Bethesda, MD
From Paul Flato, an elegant diamond leaf brooch. The platinum brooch is comprised of 250 round diamonds weighing approximately 2.50 carats and 14 ...
Category

1930s American Vintage Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, Aquamarine, Platinum

Vintage Paul Flato Necklace Brooch Ring Set 14k Gold Ruby Diamond Estate Jewelry
By Paul Flato
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
A spectacular vintage set by Paul Flato, consisting of a ring and a convertible necklace. Both pieces are made of 14k yellow gold, featuring ruby and diamond. The vintage necklace and ring set comes in an original Flato box. This whimsical Paul Flato necklace has a removable pendant. It can be turned into a gold choker necklace and a brooch. The gold is heavily textured which adds a lot to the dynamic of the piece. These stunning creations look like they are diving in the water. The ruby is uncut and has a crystal shape that creates the most intricate look echoing the texture of the gold. The diamonds look like they accidentally scattered here and there to make a touch of glamour. This Paul Flato set is a unique collectible piece. Yet, it can be worn daily as a plain choker, whimsical ring, and a fantastic brooch. It’s that type of jewel that elevates your style to the next exciting level. This Paul Flato vintage ring and necklace set is made of 14 karat yellow gold and each piece features a 8free-form uncut ruby...
Category

1980s American Vintage Paul Flato Jewelry

Materials

Diamond, Ruby, Yellow Gold, 14k Gold

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Art Deco Inspired Paul Flato GIA 2.87 Carats Diamond Platinum Engagement Ring
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Attributed to Paul Flato Retro Gold Shoe Posy Brooch
By Paul Flato
Located in New York, NY
A Retro gold posy brooch in the form of a shoe holding a hand blown glass vessel, in 14k. Attributed to Paul Flato. Cf. Bray, Elizabeth Irvine, Paul Flato; Jeweler to the Stars, Woo...
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Paul Flato 1940s 14 Karat White Gold Vintage Face Mirror Compact Jewelry
By Paul Flato
Located in New York, NY
Vintage Paul Flato 14K Gold Compact: 1940's square shaped compact. 7cm.
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Paul Flato Platinum & 14k Yellow Gold Diamond and Sapphire Pair of Shoe Clip Bro
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Located in New York, NY
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Paul Flato Attributed Yellow Gold Enamel Envelope Charm Pendant
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Paul Flato Pair of ‘Nut & Bolt’ 18 Carat Yellow Gold Cufflinks, circa 1960
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Paul Flato Chic Woven Gold Cuff Bracelet
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Located in San Antonio, TX
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Located in Aspen, CO
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Paul Flato jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a range of Paul Flato jewelry & watches available on 1stDibs. Each of these unique items was designed with extraordinary care, often using gold. While looking for the most stylish antique or vintage Paul Flato jewelry to pair with your ensemble, you’ll find that Paul Flato diamond jewelry & watches, from our inventory of 7, can add a particularly distinctive touch to your look. We have 9 pieces in this collection as well as a number of other designs by this jeweler. While this collection reflects work that originated over various time periods, most of these items were designed during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider jewelry & watches by Boucher Jewelers, Joseff Hollywood, and Alice Caviness. Prices for Paul Flato jewelry & watches can differ depending upon gemstone, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $6,046 and tops out at $39,000, while pieces like these, on average, can sell for $22,000.

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