Rare black diamond from ‘outer space’ goes on sale and can be bought with cryptocurrency

‘The Enigma’ is a 555.55-carat diamond, heavier than both the Great Star of Africa and the Golden Jubilee

Adam Smith
Wednesday 26 January 2022 09:02

A rare 555.55-carat diamond from outer space is being sold at auction for millions of pounds.

“The Enigma”, as the dark rock has been called, is thought to have originated from a meteoric impact or a ‘diamond-bearing asteroid that hit the planet. It is heavier than both the 530-carat Great Star of Africa, and the 545.7-carat Golden Jubilee.

As well as its specific carat, the Enigma also contains exactly 55 facets or faces.

Black diamonds, which are also known as Carbonado diamonds, can be dated as far back as 3.8 billion years. They are found in alluvial, sedimentary deposits, close to or on the Earth’s surface.

Diamonds have traditionally achieved their expensive price tags from their transparency, but the rarity of black diamonds have made them more attractive – and some designers are treating the rocks to achieve such a dark hue.

Sotheby’s, which is selling the rock, says it will accept cryptocurrency as payment. The auction house’s chief executive, Charles Stewart, has claimed that NFTs and cryptocurrency has “long-term implications and opportunity” in the art market.

“What I think is really more interesting and pervasive and powerful and here to stay is the idea of the blockchain ownership and authentication”, he continued.

“This potentially has implications for physical art as well as digital art and I definitely think that irrespective of the ups and downs of the primary and secondary markets in a monetary sense that this category will continue to grow and develop over the years ahead.”

However, many others in the art world have avoided crypto as a market. Belgian investment banker Alain Servais has acquired works by digital artists, but criticises NFTs for their “enormous unsolved copyright issues and security challenges”.

Minting NFTs, and mining the huge amount of cryptocurrency necessary to purchase the rock, also has a hugely negative impact on the environment.

Analysis by the University of Cambridge month suggests Bitcoin mining uses more than 121 Twh annually, which would rank it in the top 30 electricity consumers worldwide if it were a country.

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