Sotheby’s Friday set the highest price achieved for any jewelry or gemstone purchased with cryptocurrency, selling “The Key 10138” for 95.1 million Hong Kong dollars or $12.3 million to an anonymous private collector in a landmark single-lot auction.
The item is a 101.38-carat pear-shaped D color flawless diamond mined by Diacore and is the second largest pear-shaped diamond ever to appear on the public market. Only 10 diamonds larger than 100 carats have ever come to auction, according to Sotheby’s.
The auction house had promoted the offering by saying it is the most valuable item ever offered for purchase with cryptocurrency, although traditional methods of payment were available, too.
“We are thrilled to witness a historical moment, when one of the earth’s oldest and rarest treasures was purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency,” said Wenhao Yu, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry in Asia, adding that the sale drew interest from clients beyond the traditional pool of collectors.
“By introducing this innovative payment option to our luxury sale, we open up new possibilities and expand our reach into a whole new clientele, many of whom are from the digitally savvy generation,” Yu said.
It appears that not only is the choice of currency starting to shift among wealthy collectors, particularly after the pandemic, but openness toward digital sales is happening, too. Last month, Sotheby’s New York set a new record for any jewel sold in an online auction, with a 50.03-carat round diamond achieving $2.7 million.