Sotheby’s Will Take Cryptocurrency for This 101-Carat Diamond

AuctionsJun 23, 2021

Sotheby’s Will Take Cryptocurrency for This 101-Carat Diamond

It will accept payment with Ether or Bitcoin for a D-color, flawless, pear-shaped diamond hitting the block next month.

Sotheby’s is bringing cryptocurrency into the luxury jewelry auction world next month with the announcement it will accept Ether or Bitcoin as payment for this 101.38-carat pear-shaped diamond.
New York—A flawless, D-color diamond weighing more than 100 carats would be enough to raise eyebrows on its own, but Sotheby’s is upping the ante by adding cryptocurrency to the mix. 

The auction house has announced it will accept cryptocurrency as payment for the 101.38-carat pear-shaped diamond it will put up on the block next month. 

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that can be exchanged online for goods and services. It’s secured by cryptography, the practice of encrypting data to keep it safe, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend, according to Investopedia. 

While fiat will be accepted as payment, of course, those who would choose to pay through cryptocurrency to own the big diamond will be able to do so with either Ether or Bitcoin through the Coinbase Commerce exchange. 

Sotheby’s estimates the 101.38-carat diamond could sell for between $10 million to $15 million, which is also significant because no other physical object with an estimated value approaching those numbers has been offered publicly for purchase using cryptocurrency, it claims.

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The auction house has dubbed the diamond “The Key 10138,” saying in a release: “Historically, keys, like diamonds, have been a symbol of power and of the freedom that comes with it. Now, keys of a digital kind are critical to the functioning of cryptocurrency.”

A private key is a type of cryptography that allows a user to access their cryptocurrency and protects their funds from unauthorized access or theft.

The gem will be offered in a single-lot live sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on July 9, with online bidding beginning June 25.

The Key 10138 is currently available to view by appointment at Sotheby’s New York, and then will be on display at the auction house’s Hong Kong Gallery from July 3-8.

It will be the highlight of Sotheby’s inaugural “Luxury Edit” sale series in Asia, offering luxury goods across various categories.

“This is a truly symbolic moment,” said Wenhao Yu, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery in Asia. “The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency. Never was there a better moment to bring a world-class diamond such as this to the market.”

Its sale comes at a time when demand for high-quality white diamonds is particularly strong.

This 50.03-carat round diamond sold for $2.7 million at Sotheby’s, setting a new record for a jewel sold in an online auction.
This 50.03-carat round diamond sold for $2.7 million at Sotheby’s, setting a new record for a jewel sold in an online auction.

Last week, a new record was set for a jewel sold in an online auction when the 50.03-carat round diamond pictured above, offered without reserve, sold for $2.7 million at Sotheby’s.

The G color stone received 30 bids from 11 bidders in seven countries, falling within its estimate of between $2.5 million and $5 million.

There was also an Andrew Clunn necklace, set with 28 graduated oval-shaped diamonds totaling more than 168 carats, that went for above its $2-$3 million pre-sale estimate when it garnered $4 million at Sotheby’s earlier this month, beating out the fancy vivid yellow 73-carat “Sienna Star” for the title of top lot.

Just prior to that, Christie’s sold the pear-shaped, D-color, internally flawless 54.03-carat “Chrysler Diamond” for nearly $5.1 million—upstaging the 204.36-carat, VVS2 fancy intense yellow “Dancing Sun” diamond—and, in mid-May, the 100.94-carat, D-color, internally flawless Type IIa “Spectacle Diamond” sold for $14.1 million

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