There are 118 recognized elements on our planet, 94 of which occur naturally. While some of these elements are quite ordinary, common and are spread widely, others are very precious with incredible prices for each gram of them. Probably, everyone knows that platinum, gold and silver are quite valuable but what about others, more rare elements? In this article we collected and described 10 most expensive of them, so you will know how they look like and what is their price on the market today.
It is the main precious material that is found in nature in a pure form. Gold is very solid, absolutely homogeneous, and resistant to corrosion, which makes it the most common element that is used for production of jewellery, electronics industry, and dentistry. The main countries-gold-miners today are South Africa, the United States, Australia and China. The current price of gold on the world market is approximately $56.
Rhodium is a solid and precious element recognized for its high reflection properties. It is stable to high temperatures and resistant to oxidizing. It was discovered by the English scientist William Hyde Wollaston when working with platinum. Rhodium is considered to be quite rare element – annually approximately 30 tonnes of this element are extracted. The largest rhodium deposits are located in Russia, Columbia, Canada and South Africa. Rhodium is a bit more expensive than gold – one gram of it costs $58.
This silvery-white metal that is found in nature only as an alloy with other elements – both base and precious. It is one of the rarest elements on the planet that is produced by complex chemical processes. Nowadays platinum is widely used in jewellery, production of coins, medical and electronics industry, aeronautics, and production of weapon. Most platinum today is mined in such countries as Russia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Canada. An average price of this precious metal is around $60 per gram.
It is ductile, soft and silvery-white material that is considered to be not only one of the most expensive, but also quite rare compared to other common elements. Usually lanthanum is found in combination with cerium and other rare elements. It was discovered by Carl Gustaf Mosander, the scientist from Sweden, in 1839, and received its name from the Greek word lanthano, which means “to be hidden”. Since it is quite rare, the price of lanthanum remains quite high – not less than $64 per one gram.
Though lutetium is quite expensive, it is not as widely used as most other precious metals. The main application of lutetium is production of data storage devices. Moreover, it is also widely used for the generation of laser radiation both in scientific (especially medical) and military field. Today the gram of lutetium costs approximately $69.
It is very solid and light silver element with the shade of yellow. It was discovered by the chemist Lars Fredrik Nilson in 1879, who gave the name to its metal in honour of Scandinavia. Today it is widely used in the sphere of tech and innovative technologies for construction of robots, airplanes, satellites and laser equipment. In addition, alloys of scandium are also applied in production of high-quality sports equipment including bicycle frames and golf clubs. The price is not less than $270 for one gram.
This heavy base element appeared due to the Big Bang in the Universe. Therefore, it is also one of the oldest elements on the planet – its age not less than 80 million years. It is mostly used in military and nuclear industries, but only little amount of plutonium can be found in nature. That is why it is not surprising that it is so expensive – for one gram of it you will have to pay $4,000.
It is not only one of the most expensive, but also one of the most unusual elements on Earth because it is found in nature in more various forms than any other element present in the periodic table. The most common and well-known forms of carbon are diamond, soot and coal. Though in general it does not seem to be very expensive, its price may be as high as $65,000 for a gram if its atoms are arranged in a certain order.
This white element with silver gloss is one of the rarest elements in the world that is synthesized in laboratories. It was discovered quite recently – in 1950 by the group of scientists from the University of California. Though Californium is real, it is impossible to see it with the naked eye, since its amount is very low: not kilos or even grams but atoms. For this reason its incredible high price, which is $25-27 million for one gram, is quite reasonable.
Another rare and expensive element is francium. It is believed that today there is no more than 21 mgr of francium on Earth. It was discovered in 1939 in France, though it might have existed for centuries. Among all existing elements it is the least stable, since its half-life period is only 22 minutes. For this reason francium does not have any practical use at all. However, it does not prevent him from being the most expensive element in the world – anyone who decides to buy a gram of it will have to pay billions of dollars. Francium is the most valuable substance by weight.