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The Most Expensive Metal In The World

If you think gold, or silver are the most expensive metals in the world because we call them “precious”, you are wrong. For starters, other precious metals like platinum and rhodium cost more despite the fact that their prices came down considerably in recent weeks. And yet, according to a list containing the most valuable substances on earth (by weight) published most recently by “Business Insider” one other metal trumps them all: Californium.

Californium 252, to be precise, came out not only on top of the list of all valuable metals but also as the de facto most expensive substance of all, considering that it ended up as the runner-up of “antimatter” which won the contest. The cost of a gram of Californium 252 is US$ 27 million per gram.

Californium is also the heaviest element to occur naturally on Earth, although it is generally found or synthesized in connection with nuclear processes. Alas, its half-life of less than three years combined with its radioactivity makes it rather unattractive for investment purposes.

That aside, Californium has its uses. The metal emits large amounts of neutrons making it ideal for detection purposes in analytical processes or to discover gold and silver in metal ores. It is also used to treat specific types of cancer where other radiation treatments are less effective.

All things considered, then, and after eliminating all other impractical or illegal options from the list, rhodium looks like a good idea if rarity is what you are after. The metal has long been ignored by the investment community and luxury goods producers alike because of its high melting point and resulting issues to produce everyday objects. Rhodium, therefore, found its market mainly as a secondary metal adding strength and stability to catalysts, thermocouple wires, catalyst gauzes or plating baths. Just recently, however, it made its appearance in watch casings and in the form of bars or coins for investment purposes.

Bottom line? Rhodium, especially as it is less expensive than platinum, provides the most rarity per gram of metals to own. A clear victory on my list.

By Bodo Albrecht



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
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