June 21 (Reuters) – A rare pear-shaped diamond that is expected to fetch up to $ 15 million can be bought at auction next month using cryptocurrencies, Sotheby’s said on Monday.
Sotheby’s said it would be the first time that a diamond of this size has been offered for public purchase with cryptocurrency. No other physical item of such value was previously available for sale with cryptocurrency, the auction house added.
The 101.38-carat pear-shaped flawless diamond, dubbed The Key 10138, is one of ten diamonds over 100 carats ever auctioned, only two of which were pear-shaped.
It carries a presale estimate of $ 10 million to $ 15 million and will be sold on July 9 in Hong Kong. Bitcoin or ether, as well as traditional money, will be accepted as a means of payment.
“It’s a really symbolic moment. The oldest and most iconic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s last universal currency, ”Patti Wong, President of Sotheby’s Asia, said in a statement.
Cryptocurrencies have had a volatile year, with explosive growth and significant drops. In the United States, the National Republican Congressional Committee said last week that it would accept donations in cryptocurrency; El Salvador this month became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.
Sotheby’s in May sold a Banksy for $ 12.9 million in the first instance of a physical artwork sold by a major auction house that was bought with cryptocurrency.
Sotheby’s said the past year was marked by strong demand for white diamonds, jewelry and other luxury items, especially from young people, including those in Asia.
The name of the colorless diamond – Key 10138 – is intended to reflect the integral role that keys occupy in the cryptocurrency world.
Pear-shaped diamonds are among the most sought after. The most famous example is the 530-carat Cullinan 1 diamond, one of the British crown jewels.
The highest price paid for a colorless diamond at auction was a 118.28-carat oval that cost $ 30.8 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2013, with a record price per carat of $ 260,252.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio
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