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From our archive

Paul Flato Imperio Mexicano Brooch / Pendant Watch

SKU

60-1-10006

This item has been sold

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ABOUT THIS JEWELRY

From the distinguished, and colorful (to say the least) storied Jeweler To The Stars, formerly of Hollywood, NYC and Mexico City - Paul Flato - comes this coveted, signature jewel - a timepiece/brooch and pendant - "Imperio Mexicano". Centering on a 1 peso pendant brooch watch, featuring a skeleton (or see through) 1 peso dial, dated 1866, with delicate black filigree hands, and a solid back depicting an Aztec calendar. The coin edged case is topped by an 18k yellow gold imperial crown guarded on each side by a pair of griffins, a sword and scepter. 17 jewel manual-winding straight line lever movement, and 38mm, case in 18k gold and silver vermeil, with a bale and pin stem at top portion of case back so it can be enjoyed as both a pendant or brooch - circa 1960's, signed Paul Flato.

The following is courtesy of the wonderful jewelry blog - Jewels Du Jour:

The beginnings of Flato’s meteoric fall from fine jewelry grace was caused by a ‘perfect storm’ of unfortunate events: slow-paying clients, World War II, the new luxury tax, a robbery in his Sunset Boulevard store and a heist from the safe in his New York store left him unable to pay his bills. Finding a resolution on the wrong side of the law, he pawned $100,000 of jewels that were consigned to him by fellow jewelers. Consequently, Flato was arrested, declared bankruptcy and was sentenced to Sing Sing in 1943, where he corresponded with Doris Duke and Harry Winston. After his parole, he fell back into old habits and soon faced Sing Sing again. Instead, he hotfooted it to Mexico in 1945 — there he spent eight years drawing inspiration from the colorful city, particularly in the bold gold jewels he created later in life. However, in 1953 his fight against extradition charges for larceny and forgery resulted in his extradition, and his return to Sing Sing. After another parole, he made a fresh start in Mexico City in 1970 in the fashionable Zona Rosa district and opened a stunning shop with great success. He spent two prosperous decades there creating jewelry before returning to his home state of Texas in 1990. “Flato totally embraced the Mexican people and their culture. His house on the Reforma was close to the Anthropological Museum where he was a frequent visitor, taking inspiration from Mayan and Aztec artifacts. He considered the art of the Mexican goldsmiths to be of the highest quality, equal to that of the Renaissance masters. It is not surprising that his creations from this time would reflect this influence, largely crafted in gold and almost primitive in spirit. He was quick to incorporate Mexican (or fire) opals as well as Mexican coins into his designs.”

And this from somewhere on the web:

Paul Flato was an all American creative genius and Hollywood’s most famous celebrity jeweler. His highly original and imaginative work equaled or excelled the revered famous European jewelers. Flato had several brilliant designers working for him, including George Headley, Verdura, Adolf Kleaty, Kenneth Brown , Robert Bruce and others. However, the ideas for the striking jewels and their evolution were his alone. Flato was born in 1900 in Flatonia, Texas, a town named after his great-grandfather. Watching the nearby gypsies making jewels fueled his passion for jewelry even at the young age of 10. Fast forward 18 years later, Flato opened up an upstairs jewelry salon at One East 57th Street in New York City. Enormouosly successful, Flato was Harry Winston’s most important customer when Winston was a wholesale dealer. Flato was clearly a star in his own right and was fascinated by Hollywood. By 1938, he had opened a Los Angeles branch on Sunset Blvd. Always ambitious, his success was unprecedented. The name Flato was in more movie credits than any other jeweler of his time and possibly to the present time. Flato designed fabulous jewelry for 6 films including “Holiday” (1938) with Katherine Hepburn, “Two Faced Woman” with Greta Garbo, “The Lady is Willing,” “Blood and Sand,” “That Uncertain Feeling,” and “Hired Wife,” in which he portrayed himself-Paul Flato the famous ...........

Details

Materials:
18 Karat Yellow Gold, Silver
Length:
2 1/4 Inch
Width:
1 1/2 Inch
Gram Weight:
42 Grams
Period:
Mid-Century

About Vintage Jewelry

Like fine wine, fine jewelry also has a “vintage”—the design period or era from which it hails. Victorian or Edwardian, Art Deco or Retro, each piece in our collection has its own special pedigree. But just because one era ended and another began, it doesn’t mean that creative jewelry makers simply forgot the lessons of the past! Many of the jewels in our cases refuse to conform to a single design period, either by striking out on their own or showing the transition from one era to the next. When such daring dazzlers are over one hundred years old, they’re generally grouped in the antique category. Anything younger than that, but still made before 1970, fits the vintage label. Every iconic era yields both singular and transitional pieces, like the ones we’ve assembled here. Follow the link at the end of each section for more about the aesthetics and history of the period.

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As with anything of value, especially sentimental value, taking good care of your vintage and antique jewelry from Lang will enhance its beauty and extend its lifespan. We encourage you to have your jewelry checked and cleaned by us or by your trusted local jeweler every six months, to ensure that each piece is in good wearable condition with all gemstones in place. It’s not uncommon for stones to loosen over time, and it’s much easier to tighten a loose stone than to replace a lost one! As stated in our Repair Policy, we strongly recommend that you allow us to perform any repairs, since our jewelers are specialists in restoring vintage and antique jewelry.

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