When comparing apples and oranges, the former sell for nearly double the latter, at least according to what’s available at a nearby grocery store. Yet the price per ounce – 10 cents and 5 cents, respectively – are miniscule compared to some of the world’s rarer materials.
Consider white truffles: An ounce of the prized fungus, which grows for just a couple of months of the year almost exclusively in one part of Italy and is best located by special pigs, sells for more than $140 an ounce. Seem excessive? That doesn’t even begin to compare with some even more expensive items, according to the online publication Visual Capitalist.
Saffron, a spice native to Greece and Southwest Asia and used mainly as a seasoning and coloring agent in food, goes for more than $310 an ounce.
Palladium, a rare metal used in catalytic converters, among a number of items, sells for more $500 an ounce, while gold, the monetary standby of yore, is currently fetching nearly $1,200 an ounce.
Iranian beluga caviar, taken from sturgeon found mainly in the Caspian Sea, brings nearly $1,000 an ounce.
Yet those don’t come close to some upper-end items, according to the Visual Capitalist.
Plutonium, the radioactive element used in the first atomic bomb and employed at nuclear power plants, goes for more than $110,000 an ounce.
The Visual Capitalist estimated that an ounce of high-quality diamonds, nearly 142 carats, would sell for more than $1.8 million.
Finally, californium, a man-made element used to help start up nuclear reactors, would sell for more than $750 million an ounce – if that much californium could ever be produced.
Today, californium can be made only in milligram amounts and is available from the US government for $10 per millionth of a gram, a microgram.
How big would one-millionth of gram of californium be? I don’t know, but it’s probably not something you want to trust the summer intern with.
(Top: Slightly humorous meme in place of image of Californium, which is so small and rare that no decent image of it can be found on the internet.)
6 thoughts on “I’ll see your plutonium and raise you one microgram of californium”
And whatever you do don’t let a politician anywhere near it……
… because they’ll either steal it, ban it, tax it or render it inert.
Only Southern Californium knows how to party. The Northern variety is quite lifeless in comparison, except for samples gathered near in coastal regions.
Northern Californium also tends to want to tell you how you should be living your life, and how you’re hurting the environment. It’s very judgmental, I’ve found.
but for that ‘except’
offenses would i take
for comparisons inept
that ignorance would make
yet your example ‘near in coastal’
doth my East Bay heart done gladden
for such parties here cure most all
or at least by Art un-sadden
from my own tales of in-state traveling
i’d rather be inclined to say you a’ight
but cliché details set me cavilling:
whether lo-cal, lifeless, parties right
now what i came here to ask about is the recent supposed seizure of 18g of californium at a traffic stop is Turkey. what?
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