Collectors: Emblems of Fervor

Cro-Magnon man hung a boar's tooth around his neck to ward off evil spirits. Twentieth century woman complements her Gernreich with bangles to draw attention to the flesh beneath. Medieval and Renaissance lords and ladies lived between the two extremes. As God-fearing Christians, they embellished their wardrobes with sumptuous crucifixes and jeweled pendants rich with Christian imagery. Such emblems indulged the wearer's vanity, but also made manifest his faith.

Some of the marvels fashioned by the craftsmen of those eras could be seen last week at Sotheby's in London, where 142 objects from the collection of the late Melvin Gutman went...

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