June 21 (Reuters) – A rare pear-shaped diamond that is expected to fetch up to $ 15 million can be auctioned in cryptocurrencies next month, Sotheby’s said on Monday.

Sotheby’s said it would be the first time a diamond of this size has been offered for public purchase with cryptocurrency. No other physical object of such high value has been offered for sale with cryptocurrency, the auction house added.

The 101.38 carat pear-shaped flawless diamond, dubbed The Key 10138, is one of only ten diamonds greater than 100 carats ever auctioned, only two of which were pear-shaped.

It has a presale estimate of $ 10 to 15 million and will go on sale in Hong Kong on July 9. In addition to traditional money, Bitcoin and Ether are also accepted as means of payment.

“This is a truly symbolic moment. The oldest and most emblematic denominator can now be bought for the first time with the newest universal currency known to mankind, “Sotheby’s Asia chairwoman Patti Wong said in a statement.

Cryptocurrencies have had a volatile year with explosive growth and major slumps. In the United States, the National Republican Congressional Committee said last week it would accept donations in cryptocurrency; El Salvador became the first country to introduce Bitcoin as legal tender this month.

Sotheby’s sold a Banksy for $ 12.9 million in May as the first physical work of art to be sold by a major auction house and purchased using cryptocurrency.

Sotheby’s said there was strong demand for white diamonds, jewelery and other luxury items over the past year, especially from younger people, including those in Asia.

The name of the colorless diamond – Key 10138 – is intended to reflect the essential role that keys play in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Pear-shaped diamonds are among the most sought-after. The 530 carat Cullinan 1 diamond, which is one of the British crown jewels, is the most famous example.

The highest price for a colorless diamond at auction was a 118.28 carat oval, which sold for $ 30.8 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2013, with a record price of $ 260,252 per carat.

Reporting from Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio

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