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Photo credit: Sotheby's

Sold! ‘The Key’ diamond unlocks Sotheby’s Cryptocurrency Door

Welcome to the Future

Yesterday Sotheby’s sold an exceptional 101.38 carat pear-shaped Flawless clarity D color diamond for $12.3 million dollars…to be tendered in cryptocurrency.

Let’s be clear. This is an exceptionally rare item. Fewer than ten 100 carat + examples have ever come to auction and only two of them were pear-shaped. When you couple this with the fact that cryptocurrency was accepted as payment, we have just experienced a landmark event in the history of the world’s marketplaces. No other physical object approaching this value was ever publicly offered for sale with payment by cryptocurrency accepted.

The diamond’s name, ‘The Key 10138’, was selected to represent the past, and the present and future. How appropriate, considering the natural diamond’s billion-year past, the transitions our world is undergoing at present, and the opening of an unprecedented door to the future.

Watch the Sotheby’s Video

According to Wenhao Yu, the Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry in Asia:

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… Diamonds are keys to understanding the history of the Earth, reminding us of our human condition and the transcendental power of beauty. With the name ‘The Key 10138’, we wanted to celebrate this enlightening virtue, while also alluding to the crucial function of digital keys in the world of NFTs and cryptocurrency.

First-ever ‘Luxury Edit’ Sale

This was the inaugural launch of Sotheby’s ‘Luxury Edit’ sale series, using a new cross-category sales concept. The format encompassed diamonds, jewelry, watches, handbags, and even special sneakers, with the intent to appeal to an increasing number of collectors who combine these categories. In addition to ‘The Key 10138,’ the 101.38 carat Flawless clarity, D color pear-shaped diamond, the showcase offered a range of items spanning the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain to a popular Hermes Himalaya Birkin and a Nike Air Force 1 1World CLOT Special Box. You can see the auction results here.

Congratulations, Sotheby’s, on ushering in a new, groundbreaking channel for collectors and enthusiasts.

Photo credit: Sotheby’s

Angi Butler

Angi's first career was in diamond, gemstone and fashion jewelry sales. Now a corporate executive, she shares her advice and opinions on these pages.

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