Elegance Personified

Jewelry from the Estate of Carol Prisant

Carol Prisant wearing her pink sapphire ring and Angela Cummings earrings. Photo courtesy of Annie Watt.

Rago presents jewelry from the estate of antique dealer, writer, and editor Carol Prisant (1938–2021).

Ms. Prisant had an eye for art and antiques from a very young age and was entirely self-taught. After marrying and moving to New York with her husband, she worked as a decorative arts vendor in the 26th Street Antiques Market and participated yearly in the Manhattan Antique Show in addition to owning Locust Valley Antiques in Long Island for 10 years. In 1989, she became the New York editor of the British magazine The World of Interiors, a position she would hold until 2020. Actively involved in the world of antiques and interior design, she sat on the board of the Raynham Hall Museum on Long Island and the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. She was also a member of the Manhattan-based Appraisers Association of America. Her writing became a staple in these circles. Prisant wrote articles for Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, and New York magazine and was the author of several books including Antiques Roadshow Primer and Antiques Roadshow Collectibles. Her antiquing column “Good, Better, Best” for House Beautiful would go on to be adapted into a book of its own.

A longtime friend of Ms. Prisant, Christine Pittel, remarked about Prisant’s interior design skills that she “curated her own environment like a work of art.” The same can be said for her impeccable taste in fine jewels. From a stunning sapphire ring in her favorite hue, pink, to elegant brooches and refined earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, her sense of style and eye for quality is evident in every piece from her collection.

I met Carol Prisant during my early days as an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. I initially knew her as an inquisitive and factually concise reporter for The Antiques Roadshow Primer, but a friendship soon blossomed from that connection. You could talk to Carol, and understand that her sense of propriety and connection to the truth of a story was nothing short of reliable. We eventually became friends, bonding over personal loss, and Carol was ultimately someone with whom I came to share a treasured relationship. It is with deep regret that I heard about her death, and with gratitude and humility that we’ve been entrusted with her collection of fine jewelry.  

—David Rago

Patek Philippe

On May 1st, 1839, Antoine Norbert de Patek, Francois Czapek, and Thomas Moreau founded Patek, Czapek & Cie. Six years later in 1845, Czapek departed the company and started his own brand while Antoine was joined by French watchmaker Adrien Philippe. In 1851, they renamed their joint venture Patek, Philippe & Cie and in 1868, they created the very first Swiss wristwatch, made for the Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.

Since its founding, Patek Philippe has made and patented some of the grandest complications in the world. In 1881, they received the patent for the perpetual calendar in pocket watches and in 1902, the patent for the world first double chronograph (or rattrapante). Between 1910 and 1925, Patek Philippe created the Westminster Chime pocket watch, developed a ladies five-minute repeater wristwatch, a double chronograph wristwatch, and a perpetual calendar wristwatch. Everyone from John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, and Pablo Picasso to royalty like the Sultan of Oman have all donned a Patek Philippe timepiece.

Patek Philippe is the last independent, family-owned watchmaker and still operates in Geneva to this very day. The advertising statement “You never actually own a Patek Phillipe. You merely look after it for the next generation” is a true one. Nearly everything they create becomes an instant classic, be it a simple time-only watch from the Calatrava line or a complex Grandmaster Chime. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Patek Phillipe in the annals of watchmaking history and they have the distinction of being the first name in the “Holy Trinity” of watchmakers.

Upcoming Lots Patek Philippe

Auction Results Patek Philippe