Over in the thread about tungsten carbide wedding rings, I asked about getting a ring made of another unusual material, rhenium diboride. This is something I’ve been idly pondering for a while. I am NOT in the market for any such thing: this is a purely academic question meant only for my own amusement. It’s also a pretty vague question. I appreciate your input both in answering and refining it.
Rhenium diboride is just an example of what I mean here. How difficult is it for a normal civilian to commission objects made of fantastic/extraordinary materials? I know that, given enough money, you can obtain pretty much anything (that can’t be used in a bomb), but I’m interested in whether you can do it with a non-astronomical amount of money. Let’s say I wanted a doorknob made out of iridium. Now iridium is one of the rarest metals on earth, but you can, theoretically, buy it on the open market for a price similar to platinum. If I were an industrial crucible manufacturer, I could buy iridium for my factories, but where would a non-industrial person go to buy this?
Rhenium diboride is a metal-like material discovered fairly recently that is harder than diamond. According to the scientists in the article, it can be produced “cheaply and easily.” Could I have a fancy fake tooth made out of the stuff for, say, under $10,000? Or would I first have to donate enough money to UCLA to have them name a new materials science building after me? Can I get a chess set made with yttrium and aerogel? How about some glasses frames made of solid teflon and a cigarette case made of bismuth?
If my heart were really set on such a frivolous thing, how would I go about getting it? Would it be possible? How would it work?