Chemical elements are building blocks of everything we see around us. There are 118 recognized elements, 94 of which occur naturally including iron, silver and gold, while others are synthetic, some examples of which are curium and californium. This list contains 10 earth elements that are extremely rare, and some of them have demand in the market, which makes them some of the most expensive elements on the planet.
10. Gold : $56 per gram
Gold is one of the most widely known and used elements in the world, especially in jewelry. Almost every ancient civilization on earth considered this metal to be valuable. Science, it also proves that some of the characteristics of gold makes it perfect for electronic use, though high cost is the biggest hurdle to use it in wires. So, we’re stuck with cheaper and inferior alternatives.
In the purest form gold is a bright, slightly reddish, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Gold is one of the most demanded rare earth elements, making it tenth most expensive elements on earth.
9. Rhodium — $58 per gram
The major use of rhodium is in automobiles. It is used as a catalysts in the three-way catalytic converters. The biggest quality of this metal is its inert behavior against corrosion and most aggressive chemicals. The rhodium is also used in jewelry. Particularly, as a thin plating on white gold to improve its appearance, and sterling silver is often rhodium-plated for tarnish resistance.
8. Platinum — $60 per gram
Platinum is yet another extremely low reactive metal. It has remarkable resistance to corrosion, even at high temperatures. Due to its rarity, only few hundred tonnes are produced annually. Other than being used as jewelry, it has several practical application in various different fields such as automobiles, dentistry and even medicine.
7. Lanthanum – $64 per gram
Lanthanum is silvery-white metallic element. It is soft enough that you can literally cut it with a knife. It is also one of the rare earth metals, in the pure it isn’t quite useful. However, its compounds have numerous applications across various fields. It is used as catalysts, carbon arc lamps for studio lights and projectors, ignition elements in lighters and torches, electron cathodes, scintillators, GTAW electrodes, and other things. But due to the rarity the cost of this element is quite high.
6. Lutetium – $69 per gram
Lutetium is also counted among rare earth metals. But unlike lanthanum, lutetium has very few commercial uses. However, stable lutetium can be used as catalysts in petroleum cracking in refineries and can also be used in alkylation, hydrogenation, and polymerization applications.
See Also; 10 Most Expensive Useless Things.
5. Scandium – $270 per gram
Scandium is another rare earth metal that has high price due to rarity. It was observed in 1970s that scandium effects positively on aluminum alloys. To this day its use in such alloys remains its only major application. The global trade of scandium oxide is about 10 tonnes per year, and costs at least $270 per gram.
4. Plutonium — $4,000 per gram
The major use of plutonium as you might know is in nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. Both plutonium-239 and plutonium-241 are fissile, meaning that they can sustain a nuclear chain reaction. Plutonium is highly radioactive which makes it extremely dangerous to handle. However, if you’re still willing to buy this element expect to pay at least $4000 per gram.
3. Carbon – $65,00 per gram
Carbon is one of the most essential elements for life. Although a large amount of it is present in all of our bodies, and things like coal and graphite aren’t expensive as we all know. But if carbon atoms arranged in certain order it can have an extremely high value. In the form of diamond, carbon can cost you as much as $65,000 for one gram.
2. Californium — $25-27 million per gram
This element was first developed in 1950 at the University of California Radiation Laboratory, by bombarding curium with alpha particles. Since then only few gram of it has been produced. The estimated cost of one gram californium is about $27 million, which make perfect sense considering the fact that the global production of californium is half gram per year.
1. Francium – $1 billion per gram
Although one gram of francium has never been observed. Because The half life of this element is about 22 minutes, which means any viewable quantity of the element would immediately vaporize. But it is assumed that francium would appear as a highly reactive metal.
The largest amount of this element that has ever been produced in the laboratory was a cluster of more than 300,000 atoms. If someone want to buy one gram of it, he can expect to pay at least few billion dollars. Although nobody would be willing to pay billions of dollars for something that will disappear within minutes and has no practical use whatsoever.