Sooner or later it had to happen: bitcoin and ethereum enter the world of great jewelry. Or, rather, they are now virtual currencies accepted in a super auction like the one organized by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. On the other hand, there is already NFT virtual art, paid for in millions of dollars. In fact, Sotheby’s has announced that it will accept a cryptocurrency payment for one of the rarest and largest diamonds. It is a 101.38 carat pear-shaped cut D Flawless classified stone. Diamonds of this magnitude are exceptionally rare, with fewer than ten over 100-carat specimens ever auctioned, only two of them pear-shaped. The fact that the cryptocurrency is accepted as payment also marks a significant moment in the evolution of the market: no other physical object with an estimate even approaching 10-15 million dollars (78-118 million Hong Kong dollars) has never been publicly offered for purchase with cryptocurrency.
This is a truly symbolic moment. The oldest and most emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be bought using humanity’s new universal currency. There has never been a better time to bring a world-class diamond like this to market.
Wenhao Yu, vice president of Sotheby’s Jewelery in Asia
Extremely rare, 100-carat diamonds have reached a mythical status, and pear-shaped ones have a particular resonance, also because their cut echoes that of Cullinan I, perhaps the most famous diamond in the world, currently kept in the Tower of London and mounted in the imperial scepter of Great Britain. Pear-shaped diamonds of this stature are of great rarity on the market, with only two appearing at auction to date. This, recently dubbed The Key 10138, is the second largest pear-shaped diamond ever to hit the public market. The diamond’s name, The Key 10138, was chosen to capture both the past and the present and the future. Historically, keys, like diamonds, have been a symbol of power and the freedom that comes with it. Now, digital type keys are critical to the functioning of cryptocurrency.
The diamond will be offered in a single lot live sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on July 9, with offers open online from June 25, 2021. Cpme early, Sotheby’s will also accept payment in ethereum or bitcoin, the two most popular cryptocurrencies, via Coinbase Commerce, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
The diamond is currently visible by appointment at Sotheby’s in New York and will be on display at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery from 3 to 8 July. The stone will be the main lot of the Luxury Edit sale in Asia, bringing together some of the best luxury items available on the market, from jewelry to watches, handbags and rare sneakers.
Over the past year we have found a voracious appetite for jewelry and other luxury items from collectors around the world. This question comes more and more from a younger, digital-born generation; many of which are in Asia. We are thrilled to present this exceptional diamond as the highlight of our Luxury Edit series of different categories in Hong Kong and to continue our commitment to innovation by accepting cryptocurrency payments for this historic article.
Josh Pullan, Managing Director, Global Luxury Division