I don’t remember much of my High School chemistry. I do remember being bored, not seeing much application for what I was supposed to be learning. I had a change of heart in 2010, when Apple introduced the first iPad and I stumbled across Theodore Gray’s superb Elements app.
Somehow, from reading about the elements I got the desire to start collecting them. eBay was my starting point, and lots of online sellers make obtaining samples of the more common elements almost trivial.
Then I ran across Luciteria. I warn you now: this site is dangerous, a risk to your free time and to your budget! They don’t just sell random lumps of raw materials; instead, Rasiel & co. are devoted to presenting the elements as attractively as possible. Where else can you find a perfect cube of rhodium for $2,800? Almost all of the more collectible elements are available for sale here, in a variety of forms, including perfect little 10mm cubes. There are elements here that you expect wouldn’t expect to find in this form, like arsenic, iridium, thallium, and uranium(!). Not all are as expensive as the platinum metals; in fact, you’ll find some bargains on this site.
With the clear plastic periodic table available on this site as a starting point, I began collecting as many of the elements in the form of 10mm cubes as I could. When I ran out of relatively affordable elements in this form, I got creative and started casting much smaller quantities into clear resin cubes. By doing this, you can significantly reduce the cost of building out your collection.
Finally, you’ll reach a point where displaying the more reactive or toxic elements in clear resin isn’t feasible. There is at least one seller on eBay who can create sealed vials containing these elements in a size that fits the Luciteria display case perfectly. Contact him via his eBay store for more details.
Most importantly, have a healthy sense of respect for the elements. Avoiding accidents means having to learn about each element, and that’s most of the fun of collecting them.