A 101-carat diamond has become the most expensive jewel ever purchased with cryptocurrency, according to Sotheby’s, the auction house behind the sale.
The pear-shaped gemstone sold Friday for the equivalent of $12.3 million, after the auctioneer announced it was accepting offers in bitcoin and ethereum, in addition to traditional forms of payment. Sotheby’s would not disclose which of the two cryptocurrencies had been used to make the purchase.
The diamond, dubbed “The Key 10138,” went to an “anonymous private collector,” according to a press release.
In a press statement, Sotheby’s deputy chairman for jewelery in Asia, Wenhao Yu, said the sale had attracted “new clients well beyond the traditional pool of collectors,” adding cryptocurrency purchases appealed to a “digitally savvy generation.”
Remarkably rare in its own right, the stone is the second largest pear-shaped diamond ever to come to market, according to Sotheby’s.
It is classified as a “D color” diamond, the highest such grade awarded to white diamonds, meaning it appears colorless to the naked eye. It is also verified as internally and externally “flawless,” meaning it is completely clear with no visible blemishes. It is one of only 10 diamonds of its quality weighing over 100 carats ever to appear at auction.The gem is one of only 10 diamonds of its size and quality to appear at auction.
A number of auction houses have begun welcoming cryptocurrencies for big-ticket items, which have included paintings and NFTs, the blockchain-backed tokens increasingly used to transfer ownership of digital artworks and collectibles.
Earlier this year, Sotheby’s opened the sale of Banksy’s “Love is in the Air” to payment via bitcoin and ethereum. The famed artwork, which depicts a masked man throwing a bouquet of flowers like a Molotov cocktail, eventually sold for $12.9 million, though the auction house did not reveal whether they buyer eventually used a cryptocurrency.
In June, Christie’s also announced that it was accepting bitcoin and ethereum for an untitled Keith Haring work. The painting, which depicts a figure with a computer for a head, sold for £4.3 million (nearly $6 million) though, again, the auctioneer did not disclose the payment method.The sale took place at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, although bids were accepted from around the world.