LONDON – Whenever we buy jewellery, we are buying stories. These tales start deep within distant mines, tens or hundreds of years ago, journeying on to workshop benches, before weaving their way into the velvet boxes we greedily peruse when shopping for new jewels.

Buying antique jewellery makes these histories far more tangled, enriched by the complicated lives and vibrant experiences of their previous owners. Antique jewels could have travelled the globe, danced at masquerade balls, or been worn to countless cream teas–sometimes we never uncover the secrets of their past lives, which can only be left to the imagination.

Sifting through the pages of the catalogue for the December sale of Fine Jewels at Sotheby’s, you’re leafing through these histories of families, lovers and fond partings. As we read the tales behind each delicately sparkling piece, these jewels charm their way into your own collection–continuing their journey through the ages.