For the selling of a unique 555.55-carat diamond called “The Enigma,” Sotheby’s, a 277-year-old British auction house, stated it will take bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and the stablecoin USDC.
Sotheby’s explained that the idea to offer the black diamond with cryptocurrency as a payment alternative was based on the success of a previous auction it staged in July. An unidentified bidder paid $12.3 million in cryptocurrencies for a rare 101.38-carat diamond dubbed as “The Key 10138” at a single-lot sale in Hong Kong, which surprised diamond enthusiasts.
“This present sale is a continuation of our efforts to strive to lead the market given the strong cryptocurrency community,” Nikita Binani, Sotheby’s jewelry specialist and head of sales in London, told CoinDesk. “I would hope that we’re able to attract them towards this diamond.”
The Enigma is now on tour, including stops in Dubai, Los Angeles, and London. Sotheby’s claimed that if the diamond is acquired using cryptocurrency, the transaction would be handled by Coinbase Commerce.
“To have a natural faceted black diamond of this size is an extremely rare occurrence and its origins are shrouded in mystery,” Sotheby’s wrote in a press release. “[It’s] thought to have been created either from a meteoric impact or having actually emerged from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with Earth.”
Sotheby’s appears to have discovered a new audience and is now selling rare jewels to the crypto elite class. USDC is the latest addition to the earlier diamond auction, which supported BTC and ETH.
The Pink Star presently holds the record for the most valuable diamond ever sold, collecting $71 million at a Sotheby’s auction in April 2017. A 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue sold for $50.6 million at a Christie’s auction in May 2016 was another significant transaction. Sotheby’s sold a 14.83-carat diamond for $26.6 million in 2020.
From Feb. 3–9, the Enigma will be auctioned at a single-lot internet-based auction.