Sotheby’s garners highest price for any jewel or gemstone purchased with cryptocurrency


Sotheby’s on July 9, 2021, set the highest price achieved for any jewellery or gemstone purchased with cryptocurrency.

The exceptional 101.38-carat pear-shaped D Flawless diamond sold for HK$95.1 million / US$12.3 million to an anonymous private collector in a landmark single-lot auction. Named “The Key 10138”, the diamond  – the second largest pear-shaped diamond ever to appear on the public market – came from diamond company Diacore.

101.38-carat pear-shaped D Flawless diamond

 Credit: Sotheby’s

Wenhao Yu, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery in Asia, said: “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. Today we saw active participation from collectors across the globe as well as interest from new clients well 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. 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.” 

About ‘The Key 10138’

Diamonds of this importance are exceptionally rare, with only ten 100 carat+ examples ever having come to auction to date. ‘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. 

Strong Results for White Diamonds

The sale of the diamond, along with the inauguration of Sotheby’s Luxury Edit series in Hong Kong, comes at a moment when demand for white diamonds, particularly of this quality, and for luxury items more generally, is particularly strong, with 80% of the white diamonds offered in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auctions this year having found buyers, and 30% of buyers in its luxury sales completely new to Sotheby’s. 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 US$2.7 million.