10 Of The World’s Most Expensive Liquids

We all know that gold and diamonds are enough to break your bank—but what about stuff that you may see more often, like the ink in your printer? This is a list of materials that cost more than you may have guessed. They might be crazy, gross, or weird, but they’re all liquids!

Human Blood
$1,500 per gallon

Most people probably don’t consider the monetary value of the five liters (1.3 gal) of blood inside of them. Plus, it’s not something you’d ring up at the cash register. While blood itself doesn’t technically have a price, the processing of its donations is expensive. Between obtaining, storing, testing, and distributing, blood can bring in a lot of cash. So every time a person takes a needle to offer blood, the blood bank makes more money. Of course, the cost varies by location, but generally the cost of managing blood donations continues to rise.

$2,500 per gallon

Also known as gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, GHB is a naturally produced substance found in the central nervous system. It is used to treat conditions such as insomnia, clinical depression, alcoholism, and narcolepsy. However, in some cases, it’s used illegally as an intoxicant. Small doses of GHB can cause vomiting, drowsiness, and seizures, while large doses can end in death. GHB is often referred to as “liquid ecstasy”, though the drugs have no similar components. More creative names include “Lollipops”,”Fantasy”, and “Georgia Home Boy”.

$3,400 per gallon

Mercury is a metal that’s naturally in a liquid state at room temperature. It has been used in devices such as thermometers and fluorescent lights, but because of its toxicity, alternative substances are taking over. Mercury also has been used in medicine and dentistry. Mercury products are much less common now than they once were and are banned in many countries including Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Despite a lack of high demand, mercury is still very expensive. It’s an extremely rare element in the Earth’s crust, occurring in high-density rock of volcanic regions or hot springs in places like Spain and the United States.

Black Printer Ink
$4,700 per gallon

Inks are just about everywhere. We read newspapers, magazines, books, stamps, and money every day. We make piles of photocopies and go through printer paper by the ream. However, making ink (especially printer ink) and handling this valuable resource can be quite costly (or they’re just charging a lot because they’re greedy—either way). Printer ink is a complex liquid, composed of solvents, pigments, dyes, and more. The first man-made ink appeared in Egypt about 4,500 years ago and was simply made from animal or vegetable charcoal (lampblack) mixed with glue.

Chanel No. 5
$35,000 per gallon

Perhaps the world’s most famous perfume, Chanel No. 5 first went on sale in 1922. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and chemist Ernest Beaux compounded the chemical formula for the fragrance. When Beaux presented Chanel with a selection of samples, she chose the fifth one due only to a particular preference for the number five. Chanel intended for the scent to epitomize the modern flapper and the spirit of the 1920s, though the fragrance remains popular today.

$35,000 per gallon

Insulin is a peptide hormone that causes the cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from blood and convert it to glycogen that can be stored in the liver and muscles. It’s crucial to the body’s operations, but the bodies of diabetic people don’t produce enough insulin (or just don’t regulate it properly). Those with diabetes can inject insulin into their blood through needles. Why is it so expensive? Insulin is grown inside a lab in a common bacteria called escherichia coli. The human protein needed to produce insulin is obtained through an amino-acid sequencing machine and, because millions of people put it straight into their blood veins every day, it’s pretty important to get it right.

$45,000 per pound

This is not the typical drug you see on the street, not the usual marijuana or crack cocaine. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a hallucinogenic drug that can have long-term harmful effects after just one use. The average amount of LSD used in one sitting varies from 50 to 150 micrograms, and, like any illicit substance, it’s expensive. (The price is given per pound because it’s usually sold in solid form, though it can be stored in liquid form.) You probably wouldn’t buy such a massive quantity unless you wanted to give an entire city hallucinations for several weeks. In fact a pound of LSD would be enough to send more than nine million people to a colorful paradise. It seems like the raw materials are pretty cheap, but the chemistry is tricky.

King Cobra Venom
$153,000 per gallon

Like many other types of venom, that of the king cobra consists of proteins and polypeptides. Symptoms include blurred vision, vertigo, nausea, and paralysis. Then, just before death, the victim will slip into a coma. If that’s not enough, a king cobra’s venom is enough to kill a 5,000-kilogram (11,000-lb) elephant. Its not all morbid though: cobra venom has been used as a pain reliever for many years. It was once even believed to be an aphrodisiac.

Tyrian Purple
$1,700,000 per pound

Also known as imperial purple, Tyrian purple was the most expensive color dye of ancient times. The royal color was worn by kings and emperors—including Alexander the Great. In those times, only wealthy people could afford it. The color is so durable, that it actually gets brighter with washing. Because the dye is natural and is obtained from the shells of the Murex mollusk (a species of snail), the value of Tyrian purple is sky high. It would literally take 250,000 snails to make one ounce of dye and, probably as a reward for all that hard work, the dye gives off a revolting fishy smell.

Scorpion Venom
$39,000,000 per gallon

At the top of our list is the oh-so-expensive scorpion venom. The scorpions use their venom to defend against predators and to kill their prey. Of the 2,000 species of scorpion, only 25 have venom that is deadly to humans. The price is so high because protein in the venom can be used for the treatment of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis.

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