Sotheby’s says it will accept cryptocurrency as payment for a rare 101-carat diamond expected to fetch up to 15 million dollars (£10.7 million).
The world famous broker said it was the first time a stone of such value had been offered for purchase by cryptocurrency and hailed the move as a “significant moment in the evolution” of the market.
The 101.38-carat pear-shaped flawless diamond, dubbed The Key 10138, is one of only 10 diamonds of more than 100 carats to come to auction, according to Sotheby’s.
Only two of those were pear-shaped, it added.
The diamond has an estimated sale price of between 10-15 million dollars (£7.1 million-£10.7 million).
It will be offered in a single-lot live sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on July 9, with bidding open online from June 25.
While traditional money will be accepted, buyers will also be able to use cryptocurrencies Ether or Bitcoin.
Yu Wenhao, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery in Asia, said: “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.”
The Key 10138 has achieved the highest gradings in both colour and clarity, according to Sotheby’s.
It also belongs to the rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds, known as Type IIa, the broker said.
And Sotheby’s said its pear shape is also significant. Perhaps the most famous of the pear-shaped diamonds is the Cullinan I, housed in the Tower of London and mounted in the Imperial Sceptre.
The Key 10138 diamond will be sold during Sotheby’s inaugural Luxury Edit auction alongside luxury items including watches, handbags and rare sneakers.