Ruthenium is another exceedingly rare member of the platinum group metals. It is a hard, corrosion resistant, silver-white metal, stable in air, except at high temperatures. It is recovered mainly as a by-product of platinum, palladium and nickel refining - native ruthenium, as well as ruthenium alloys and minerals do occur in nature but are exceptionally rare. Its main uses are as a hardener in platinum and palladium alloys, with around half being used in wear resistant electrical contacts and resistors.
The price of ruthenium belies its rarity. Not having widespread essential uses, as do palladium, platinum and rhodium, ruthenium has always been the cheapest of the platinum metals. This changed in late 2006 when a bull market driven by an increase in the amount of ruthenium used in the manufacture of computer hard drives caused the price to sky-rocket, reaching a peak of $870 (£446) per ounce on February 15th, 2007.
These arc-melted pure ruthenium pearls are considerably cheaper that that! The price shown below is for one piece. A display vial with the chemical symbol, Ru, engraved on the lid will be supplied with each order.
vial size: 44mm x 20mm
weight: 5 grams
price: £60 ex. shipping