A rare 555.55 carat diamond will be the largest to ever appear at auction when it hits the market in February, part of a special single-lot sale that will accept cryptocurrency for the record-breaking jewel.
Dubbed “The Enigma,” the jewel is a rare black diamond that has never been publicly displayed or sold and has been held in the same collection for more than 20 years, auction house Sotheby’s said in a statement.
The diamond is being offered with no reserve, which means it will sell to the highest bidder no matter the price, but Sotheby’s says it expects to fetch between $4.1 million and $6.8 million, given today’s robust market for gemstones.
In a twist on typical auctions, Sotheby’s will accept cryptocurrency for the diamond, following the successful July sale of a $12.3 million diamond to a buyer in Hong Kong who paid with crypto.
In 2006, the jewel was named the largest cut diamond in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, two years after both the Gemological Institute of America and Gübelin, a Swiss gem house, named it the largest fancy black natural color diamond in the world.
The gem’s unique design was inspired by the Hamsa, a Middle Eastern symbol of a hand meant to offer protection that is associated with the number five, which is reflected in both the diamond’s 555.55 carats and its 55-facet cut, Sotheby’s said.
The diamond will be exhibited for the first time in Dubai, Los Angeles and London before online bidding begins February 3.
More auction houses have begun to accept cryptocurrency, or digital money backed up by blockchain, as using and investing in crypto has become more mainstream. The rise of cryptocurrency has paralleled the rise of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, digital works of art built on the blockchain. In March, an NFT by digital artist Beeple sold for $69.3 million and was paid for with ether, the buyer told the New York Times. The unprecedented sale made Beeple the third most valuable artist alive, after David Hockney and Jeff Koons.
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