New record: rare 100+ carat diamond sold for $12.3 million with cryptocurrency

The Key 10138, the rare pear-shaped diamond, that was auctioned at Sotheby's on Friday, has been sold for $12.3 million using cryptocurrency. It was sold to an anonymous private collector.

At the time the auction was announced, the piece became the first time a diamond of such size had been offered for public purchase with cryptocurrency. Now it has now become the highest price achieved for any jewelry or gemstone bought with cryptocurrency.

“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 Jewellery in Asia, in a statement. "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. The result today not only attests to the resilient demand for top quality diamonds, but also reinforces Sotheby’s position as a pioneer in the luxury field.”

The 101.38 carat diamond from which it takes its name is the second largest pear-shaped diamond to appear on the public market and came from the world-leading diamond company Diacore, the auction house says.

The Key 10138 has achieved the highest gradings in both colour (D colour – the highest grade for a white diamond) and clarity (completely flawless, both internally and externally). It also belongs to the rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds, known as Type IIa. Diamonds in this group are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency.

Sotheby's have said that the demand for white diamonds and luxury items more generally has been strong, with 80 per cent of the white diamonds offered in their Magnificent Jewels auctions this year have found buyers, and 30 per cent of buyers in its luxury sales having been completely new to the auction house. Last month at Sotheby’s New York, a new record price was set for any jewel sold in an online auction, with a 50.03 carat round diamond achieving $2.7 million.

Updated: July 10th 2021, 11:35 AM