The Wernher Collection

England's largest collection of Medieval and Renaissance jewelry—collected by one of the founders of De Beers—has gone on permanent show in London. Old Master paintings, 18th-century tapestries, Gothic ivories, and other objets d'art also appear. The 19th-century discovery of diamonds in South Africa ushered in an exciting and turbulent age, an age of great fortunes and extraordinary individuals. In just 10 years, the tiny mining camp of Kimberley evolved into an industrial town filled with Englishmen and their families, who brought with them all the social refinements of their time: calling cards, morning rides, and church services on Sunday. It was within this climate that Sir Julius Wernher—businessman, philanthropist, and collector—came into his own. The son of a railway engineer, Wernher was born in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1850. He moved to London at the age of 21, took a
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