Jewelry designer, company founder, and philanthropist Martin Flyer dies

Martin Flyer, a longtime resident of Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., and founder of jewelry manufacturer Designs by Martin Flyer, died March 18, 2001, at his home in Floral Park, N.Y., of complications related to pneumonia. He was 94.

Martin Flyer, who came to the United States from Russia in 1921, learned the jewelry trade from his older brothers, Jacob and Herman Flyer. In 1945, he opened his own company, Martin Flyer’s Viroy Company, specializing in the manufacture of fine diamond jewelry. Rare in the industry today, Martin Flyer was not only the owner of the company, but also the head jeweler. Flyer worked as a designer of diamond jewelry well into his eighties. At age 87, he retired to help care for his ailing wife, Clara, who had recently survived a bout with leukemia.  

Flyer was dedicated to a number of charitable causes for the Jewish community, including the United Jewish Appeal and ORT. In 1985, he and his wife, Clara, donated an ambulance for use in Israel. Flyer also made frequent trips to Israel to donate money to several local charities. 

”My father taught me by deeds, not words, to work hard,” said his son, Gary Flyer of North Hills, New York, who is president of Designs by Martin Flyer. ”He taught me to give to charity and to be kind to my fellow man.” An avid student of the Torah, Flyer was very active in his synagogue, and often stepped in at the last moment to perform weekly Torah readings.

”I work at Martin Flyer today with my father, husband, and sister-in-law,” added Amy Flyer Kaufman, Martin Flyer’s granddaughter, who is director of quality control for Designs by Martin Flyer. ”I see everyday how my grandfather’s traditions and work ethics have been immortalized through the jewelry company that he had created and nurtured.”

In addition to his son Gary and granddaughter Amy, Martin Flyer is survived by his wife, Clara; his daughter Vivienne Sirlin of Dix Hills, N.Y.; three grandchildren; and one great granddaughter. Services were held at Schwartz Funeral Chapel on March 20, 2001 in Forest Hills, N.Y. Burial was held at Knollwood Park Cemetery in Richmond Hill. 

Designs by Martin Flyer, a third generation business, is known as a quality maker of fine semimounts that has found its niche in bridal jewelry. The company has become a leader in platinum jewelry, focusing on timeless, classic styles.