Connect with us

Most Expensive

The 10 Most Expensive Elements on Earth



Most Expensive Elements on Earth

Embarking on a journey into the elemental wonders that shape the fabric of our world, we delve into the rare and precious building blocks that hold a coveted place in both science and commerce. With 118 recognized elements, our planet hosts a diverse array, from the commonplace like iron, silver, and gold to the more esoteric, such as the synthetic curium and californium.

However, this exploration goes beyond the familiar, focusing on 10 earth elements that stand out for their rarity and command staggering value in the market. These elements, found in the depths of the Earth’s crust or synthesised through intricate processes, unveil a fascinating intersection of science, industry, and economics.

Join us as we unravel the mysteries of these extraordinary elements, exploring not only their intrinsic properties but also the intriguing dynamics that position them among the most expensive on our planet.

The 10 Most Expensive Elements on Earth

Below are the 10 most expensive elements found on earth, commanding staggering value in the market. They include:

1) Francium ($1 billion per gram)

Francium, the most expensive element at $1 billion per gram, is a rare and highly radioactive metal. Discovered in 1939, it is named after France, where it was first identified. Physically, francium is an alkali metal with a silvery-white appearance, but its extreme radioactivity makes it challenging to study and handle. Due to its scarcity and short half-life, francium is not naturally abundant, and its properties are primarily studied through theoretical calculations.

Chemically, francium is reactive and can form compounds, although its practical applications are limited due to its scarcity and radioactivity. It has no known industrial uses, and the difficulties in obtaining and handling francium have made it more of a scientific curiosity than a commercially viable element. A fun fact is that Francium is so rare that there is estimated to be less than a gram of naturally occurring francium on Earth at any given time.

2) Californium ($25-27 million per gram)

Californium, with a market price ranging from $25-27 million per gram, is a man-made element (first synthesized in 1950) and the second most expensive element on Earth. It was named after the state of California and is a member of the actinide series. Physically, californium is a radioactive metal, and its most common isotope, californium-252, is used in neutron sources. It has a silvery appearance and is notable for its high radioactivity.

Chemically, californium shares similarities with other actinides and is primarily used in nuclear reactors and neutron radiography. Its ability to emit neutrons makes it valuable in detecting and analyzing materials in various scientific and industrial applications. The discovery of californium was a result of researchers bombarding curium atoms with alpha particles, showcasing the fascinating ways scientists create new elements in the laboratory.

3) Carbon ($6,500 per gram)

Carbon, priced at a staggering $6,500 per gram, is a versatile and abundant element with a rich history. It has been known since ancient times and is a fundamental building block of life. Physically, carbon exists in various forms, including diamonds, graphite, and graphene, each with distinct properties. Diamonds, with their dazzling brilliance, are formed deep within the Earth under high pressure, while graphite, used in pencils, has a layered structure.

Chemically, carbon is the backbone of organic compounds. Its industrial uses are vast, from serving as a fuel source in the form of coal to being a key component in the production of steel and plastics. Carbon is so essential to life that it is the fourth most abundant element in the universe and plays a critical role in the carbon cycle. The diverse properties and applications of carbon highlight its significance in both the natural world and industry.

4) Plutonium ($4,000 per gram)

Next on the list is Plutonium, priced at an astonishing $4,000 per gram. It has a history deeply intertwined with nuclear science. Discovered in 1940, it was named after the dwarf planet Pluto. Initially, it played a pivotal role in the development of nuclear weapons during World War II. Physically, plutonium is a silvery-white metal, and it stands out for its unique property of being fissile, meaning it can sustain a nuclear chain reaction.

Chemically, plutonium is reactive, tarnishing when exposed to air, but it has stable compounds suitable for various industrial applications. Despite its role in nuclear weapons, plutonium has found use in nuclear reactors for energy production and in certain types of spacecraft power sources. A fun fact is that due to its scarcity and the complexities of handling it safely, plutonium is one of the most tightly regulated elements on Earth.

5) Scandium ($270 per gram)

Scandium, with a price of $270 per gram, might not be as familiar as some other elements, but its unique properties make it valuable. A fun fact is that scandium is a transition metal that was discovered in 1879 and shares similarities with both aluminum and titanium. Physically, it is a lightweight metal with a silvery-white appearance, and it has the interesting property of developing a yellow or pink tint when exposed to air.

Chemically, scandium is often used as an alloying element in the aerospace industry, contributing to the strength and lightness of aluminum alloys. Its compounds have applications in the production of high-intensity lamps and in certain medical imaging devices. Scandium is sometimes referred to as the “rare earth element,” even though it is not part of the rare earths group. Its scarcity and versatility make it a sought-after element in certain industries.

6) Lutetium ($69 per gram)

Next on our opulent list is Lutetium, a lesser-known element with an interesting history. It has a market price of $69 per gram. Discovered in 1907, it was named after the ancient Roman name for Paris, Lutetia. Physically, lutetium is a silvery-white metal and is the heaviest and last naturally occurring element in the lanthanide series. Its chemical properties make it relatively stable, and it is used in certain medical applications.

Lutetium has niche uses in industries such as petroleum refining and cancer treatment. In the medical field, it is employed in positron emission tomography (PET) scans for diagnostic imaging. Fun fact: Lutetium-176, one of its isotopes, is used in radiometric dating to determine the age of meteorites. Despite its lower profile compared to some other elements, lutetium plays a crucial role in advancing both scientific and medical technologies.

7) Lanthanum ($64 per gram)

Lanthanum, with an astounding price tag of $64 per gram, belongs to the rare earth elements family. Discovered in 1839, its name comes from the Greek word “lanthanein,” meaning “to lie hidden.” This element has a fascinating history as it was initially mistaken for cerium due to its similar properties. Lanthanum boasts unique physical properties, being a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with a silvery-white appearance.

Beyond its historical significance, lanthanum plays a crucial role in various industries. Its chemical properties make it a key component in rechargeable batteries for hybrid cars and consumer electronics. Lanthanum compounds are also utilized in catalysts for petroleum refining, contributing to cleaner fuel production. Despite its modest price, the significance of lanthanum in advancing technology and sustainable practices highlights its importance.

8) Platinum ($60 per gram)

Platinum, with a market price of $60 per gram, is a precious metal with a rich history. Its name is derived from the Spanish term “platina,” meaning little silver. Discovered in the 18th century, platinum gained prominence for its lustrous appearance and resistance to corrosion. Physically, platinum is a dense and ductile metal with a beautiful silvery-white color, making it highly valued in jewelry and various industrial applications.

Chemically, platinum is known for its catalytic properties, playing a vital role in automobiles to reduce harmful emissions. It is also a key component in the production of high-performance medical equipment. Platinum is so rare that all the platinum ever mined could fit into an average-sized living room. Its unique properties, coupled with its scarcity, contributes to platinum’s prestigious status and its significance in both luxury and industrial sectors.

9) Rhodium ($58 per gram)

Ranking at ninth place is Rhodium, with a market value of $58 per gram. It is a fascinating element known for its brilliant, silvery-white appearance. Discovered in 1803, its name is derived from the Greek word “rhodon,” meaning rose, due to the color of its salts. Physically, rhodium is a hard and durable metal with high reflectance, making it a valuable material for jewelry, particularly as a plating for white gold and silver.

Chemically, rhodium is highly resistant to corrosion and is a member of the platinum group metals. This element’s industrial significance lies in its exceptional catalytic properties. Rhodium-coated catalysts are used in vehicles to reduce harmful emissions and in the chemical industry for various synthesis processes. Rhodium is one of the rarest elements on Earth, and its rarity, coupled with its unique properties, contributes to its high market value.

10) Gold ($56 per gram)

The last but not the least is Gold, often referred to as the “king of metals.” It is priced at $56 per gram and has a storied history dating back to ancient civilizations. This precious metal is known for its beautiful, timeless appearance and has been used for jewelry, currency, and decorative arts for centuries. Gold is a dense, soft metal with a distinctive yellow color, making it highly sought after for various ornamental and industrial applications.

Chemically, gold is remarkably stable and resistant to corrosion, contributing to its enduring beauty. Beyond its use in jewelry, gold has significant industrial applications, especially in electronics and medical devices. All the gold ever mined would fit into three Olympic-sized swimming pools, highlighting its rarity. Whether cherished for its cultural significance, monetary value, or industrial uses, gold remains a symbol of wealth and elegance throughout history.


In concluding our exploration of the rare and precious elements that command astronomical values on our planet, we have delved into the intriguing world where science, industry, and market demand intersect. From the esoteric realms of francium to the dazzling allure of gold and platinum, each element in our list holds a unique tale of rarity and significance.

As we bid farewell to this elemental journey, it is a reminder that the value of these substances extends beyond their monetary worth. They are the fundamental ingredients shaping our world and driving technological advancements. Keep this article in your archives, as we remain committed to updating it with any developments in the dynamic landscape of rare elements.

Until our next exploration, may the allure of these extraordinary elements linger, reminding us of the invaluable role they play in both our understanding of the natural world and the advancement of human civilisation.

Image Credit to Theodore W. Gray


Echewendu Ebuka is a skilled and creative content writer, enriching readers with insightful and compelling content. With a flair for communication and a knack for covering diverse topics, Ebuka's writing captivates and informs audiences.

Trending Posts