Osmium Metal Cube 99.95%
Osmium Metal Cube 99.95%
How to describe osmium. That's an interesting question. For a metal this classy using cheesy superlatives seems, well, cheesy. And yet the metal is so deserving of grandiose adjectives because rarest, most valuable, heaviest and hardest are four such terms that truly do apply in rendering a description.
So let's start by describing osmium as record breaker on the periodic table:
- At 22.59 grams per cubic centimeter it is the densest of all naturally occurring elements
- It vies with its cousins rhenium and iridium as the rarest naturally occurring, stable element with an estimated concentration of only 1 part per billion in earth's crust.
- For any given designed shape it is the most expensive metal on the market
- It is the least compressible of all types of solid matter excepting neutron stars, black holes and similar. It cannot be crushed.
- In the Olympics of the periodic table osmium gets the bronze medal behind diamond (carbon) and chromium and a silver for metal with the second highest melting point (behind tungsten).
Clearly, Mother Nature was proud of her 76th invention and decided to hoard most of it while leaving barely a trace for humanity. In fact, most people have never heard of osmium. And that's a good thing because it concerns one more record breaker: the market. All the osmium produced in the world yearly would fit in the palm of your hand.
Let that sink in.
If everyone wanted a little osmium what would happen to the price? It's already as expensive as gold but is at least ten thousand times rarer commercially. If I were a billionaire and wanted to buy a ton of gold I could literally buy it online and have it delivered the next day. If I called a broker in precious metals to please locate for me one ton of osmium at any price he'd get back to me sheepishly apologizing that, sir, there is just not enough quantity available.
And this brings us finally to these two little guys on the left. Pure osmium metal is available to the public in many forms. There is the powder (extremely toxic), arc-melted beads, crystals and the granules we sell right here on Luciteria. But, unless Google's failing me, never has anyone actually designed a formed object in this element until we came along commissioning the first cubic centimeter piece.
It was a tall order for the suppliers in our network because they had no working experience with osmium and the design specs called for absolute perfection. 10 millimeters to a side with a deviation of no more than a tenth of a millimeter and all six sides polished to a satiny sheen. Most importantly, none of the edges or corners could be chipped. We were pleasantly surprised with one initial quote for $1,200 per piece only to have the sales lead cancel unceremoniously cancel the order a few days later and reissue the quote at a much less attractive offer. In all, we asked over twenty labs and other specialty firms across the world and most came back with bad news of one sort or another.
The wait was worth it. Our first two cubes pictured here are nothing short of an engineering marvel. The team that made it deserves a standing ovation. In fact, an obscure precision metals workshop in Beijing can take quiet pride in knowing that they gave not just their nation but the world as a whole the very first manufactured items made out of pure osmium metal. Well done!
Osmium cube of 10mm weighing 22 grams. Larger sizes available if you or a family member is mentioned in Forbes magazine.