Lists and Curiosities

These are the most expensive chemical elements in the world

There are some elements that are so rare and/or hard to make, that every gram costs a little fortune. Take a look at them.


What component is the most expensive? Some components simply cannot be obtained in their purest form, making this topic difficult to answer.

The superheavy elements at the end of the periodic table, for instance, are so unstable that even the researchers investigating them rarely have a sample for more than a brief amount of time.

These elements are effectively priced at the millions or billions of dollars per atom it costs to create them.

So, today we are going to try and estimate which are the most expensive elements there are in the world, and what makes them so expensive

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#6 Neptunium

A radioactive, ultra-rare, and incredibly expensive element is neptunium. Since the material only occurs in extremely small amounts all over the world, it is rarely found in nature.

However, due to its application in neutron detectors, the element is relatively abundant in nuclear plants and laboratories.

It’s interesting to note that despite being radioactive, some publications claim that neptunium exposure hasn’t been linked to any particular health impacts in people.

However, neptunium may cause cancer, according to various reports of studies examining its effects on bones after exposure.

#5 Plutonium

The most well-known and damaging of all the elements on this list is likely plutonium.

Three American chemists, Glenn T. Seaborg, Joseph W. Kennedy, and Arthur C. Wahl, made the material’s discovery in 1941.

The material is still employed in nuclear bombs today after first appearing in several atomic bombs.

The price of one gram of plutonium varies, but it generally costs around $4,000.

But Plutonium isn’t just for making weapons. Scientists claim that the substance is essential for the development of nuclear energy.

Even interplanetary missions, like the Mars Curiosity Rover, have used it to power them.

The New Horizons spacecraft, the first to travel to Pluto, is likewise propelled by plutonium. It’s interesting to note that Pluto is where the word “plutonium” comes from.

#4 Tritium

A hydrogen isotope called tritium exists. “One of two or more forms of the same chemical element” is an isotope.

Due to the material’s radioactivity and extreme rarity, it can be quite pricey. Despite conflicting reports, the isotope typically sells for $30,000 per gram or $13,607,760 per pound.

Three physicists, M.L. Oliphant, Ernest Rutherford, and Paul Harteck, made the discovery of tritium in 1934.

Today, the substance is frequently used to illuminate safety signs, such as the exit signs you might see in public areas.

Interestingly enough, tritium is frequently found in water; hence, you may already be ingesting some tritium, especially if you reside close to a nuclear power station.

 According to experts, there is no health danger associated with this, and the substance departs the body within two months of use.

#3 Berkelium

Three American chemists, Stanley G. Thompson, Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn T. Seaborg, discovered berkelium (or Bk) in 1949.

The group discovered that berkelium was a byproduct of interactions with other materials while they were students at the University of California, Berkeley.

This element, which is the third most expensive in the world, was given its name after Berkeley, California, where it was discovered.

Similar to other rare elements, it is challenging to determine accurate pricing. Berkelium is estimated to be worth a staggering $27 million per gram, though.

For practical undertakings, berkelium is not particularly helpful. The development of synthetic elements like tennessine has been the element’s sole practical usage.

#2 Californium

Californium is a man-made element, in contrast to several others on this list. Stanley G. Thompson, Albert Ghiorso, Glenn T. Seaborg (the same individuals who found berkelium), and Kenneth Street, Jr. discovered the substance.

Like berkelium, californium was given its name after the state in which it was discovered: California.

Californium, the second-most costly element in the world, is thought to cost $27 million per gram.

The radioactive element is risky and difficult to handle because it is uncommon and expensive.

As a result, it is practically impossible to locate the element outside of a laboratory.

#1 Francium

Russian scientist Dmitry I. Mendeleyev, who created the periodic classifications of the elements, anticipated that such an element might exist before this absurdly rare element was identified in 1939.

However, it was French scientist Marguerite Perey who made the real discovery of francium in the late 1930s while researching actinium-227.

Amazingly, this uncommon discovery can only be found in transient, radioactive forms, making analysis extremely challenging. Only 24.5 grams, or less than an ounce, of natural francium, are present at any given time throughout the whole Earth’s crust, which makes matters more difficult.

Simply put, this component is extremely difficult to locate and difficult to handle, making it extremely expensive.

Despite the fact that francium cannot be harvested or traded, estimations place its value per gram at $1 billion.

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