Archived Flato

American jeweler famous for his 1930’s whimsical jewelry. Paul Flato popularized “say-it-in-jewelry” pieces, featuring the wearer’s initials, name, and messages like “I love you.” He thus created the first identity bracelets.[1] Flato’s celebrity designers also left their mark on jewelry design in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Oil heiress Millicient Rogers designed a series of puffy hearts studded with colored gemstones, which became hugely popular. Josephine Forrestal created a collection of wiggly clips, featuring components that trembled as their wearers moved, that were a sensation. She also inspired Flato’s curb-link chains. When she returned from Europe with a silver curb-link bracelet, Flato copied it in gold. The style was heavily reproduced by other jewelers and is one of the most popular links for charm and identity bracelets during the era. The Duke of Verdura also reputedly designed jewelry for Flato, later stealing away Flato’s Manhattan sales staff when Flato was sentenced to two years in prison for illegally pawning a customer’s jewelry. Until that time, he was a darling of Hollywood stars, racking up more film credits for jewelry than any other jeweler at the time.[2]


  1. Healy & Proddow, 111.
  2. Corbett, 88.

Sources Consulted

  • Proddow, Penny & Debra Healy. American Jewelry: Glamour & Tradition. New York: Rizzoli, 1987.
  • Corbett, Patricia. Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.
Corbett gives a more interesting and slightly more extended profile of the jeweller than Proddow and :Healy.

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