Antiques Roadshow: Guests stunned at value of diamond brooch
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This is the first time a flawless diamond will be available to purchase using bitcoins, although traditional money will still be accepted.
Sotheby’s has announced it is selling a D-flawless, 101.38 carat, pear-shaped diamond called The Key 10138.
This will be the first ever jewel for which the auction house will be accepting cryptocurrency as payment.
The gem is expected to be sold for $10m to $15m (£7 to £10million), which would be around 303 to 455 bitcoins.
This is the highest estimate for an object ever offered for purchase with cryptocurrency.
The Key 10138 is the second-largest pear-shaped diamond to appear on the public market.
It is considered a rare diamond as it belongs to Type IIa, a unique subgroup comprising less than 2 percent of all gem diamonds.
The name of the diamond was chosen to capture both the past, the present and future, Sotheby’s said.
It explained that historically, keys, like diamonds, have been a symbol of power and of the freedom that comes with it.
The gem will be offered in a single-lot live sale in Hong Kong on July 9.
The sale of the rare piece comes at a time when demand for white diamonds, particularly of this quality, is strong, according to Sotheby’s.
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.”
However, jeweller expert at 77 Diamonds, Tobias Kormind, said this sale raises “ethical questions.”
“Diamonds have long been the most portable form of wealth in existence.
“Although accepting cryptocurrency for payment is now a timely development, there are certain risks attached to it and it raises important questions for the future about ethical and sustainable business practices,” he explained.
“As the world moves towards transparency, cryptocurrency enables a lurch in the opposite direction.
“For example, the anonymity offered by paying in cryptocurrency means that the source of the money trail is untraceable.
“Has the purchaser using cryptocurrency acquired their wealth legally and paid taxes?
“That said, options for purchasing luxury items with cryptocurrency are on the up. Currently in the US, PayPal accepts payment in cryptocurrencies and that will soon come to Europe.”
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