Diamonds / Industry

Sotheby’s to Accept Cryptocurrency for 101 Carat Diamond


On July 9 in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s will auction a 101.38 ct. pear-shape D color flawless diamond for an estimated $10 million to $15 million—and it’s accepting cryptocurrency from the highest bidder.

This is notable because a) major jewelry auction houses don’t typically accept cryptocurrency, and b) the diamond’s imminent sale sets a new record for highest estimate ever for a physical object offered for purchase with cryptocurrency.

The single-lot auction is part of Sotheby’s inaugural Luxury Edit sale series in Asia, and its highest bidder will be welcome to pay in fiat (physical money) or in either Ether or Bitcoin, facilitated through Coinbase Commerce, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said in a prepared statement, “This is a truly symbolic moment. 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.”

Josh Pullan, managing director of Sotheby’s global luxury division, added in the same statement, “Over the past year we’ve seen a voracious appetite for jewels and other luxury items from collectors across the globe. Increasingly that demand is coming from a younger, digitally native generation, many of whom are in Asia.”

Fewer than 10 diamonds over 100 cts. have ever come to auction, and only 2 of them have been pear-shape, making this mega-diamond, christened the Key 10138, something of a unicorn. The largest-ever pear-cut diamond is the Cullinan I, which is mounted in the Imperial Sceptre of Great Britain and currently housed in the Tower of London.

The Key 10138 diamond is currently available to view by appointment at Sotheby’s New York, and will be on public exhibition at Sotheby’s Hong Kong gallery July 3–8. 

(Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)

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By: Emili Vesilind

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