A violent collision 4.6 billion years ago between two neutron stars gave birth to some of the most precious metals on Earth.
This single event is responsible for 0.3 per cent of all of Earth's heaviest elements, including gold, platinum and uranium.
Researchers say it is likely that 10mg of the gold in the average wedding ring comes from this one colossal collision.
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A violent collision 4.6 billion years ago that would generate enough radiation to light up the sky may have given birth to some of the most precious metals we have - including gold and platinum. The picture shows a reconstruction of the collision if it happened today
The single impact between the two neutron stars - collapsed cores of dead stars - occurred before the formation of the solar system and was so violent it would have illuminated the night sky of the modern world, if it had existed.
Matter from the enormous explosion became part of the galactic soup which eventually formed Earth and the other planets.
This took place close just 1,000 light years away from where the solar system would form.
'This means that in each of us we would find an eyelash worth of these elements, mostly in the form of iodine, which is essential to life,' Dr Imre Bartos at the University of Florida, who co-authored the study, said.
'A wedding ring, which expresses a deep human connection, is also a connection to our cosmic past predating humanity and the formation of Earth itself, with about 10 milligrams of it likely having formed 4.6 billion years ago.'
Uranium, a radioactive metal, was abundant in the early days of the solar system, and is a source of nuclear energy.
The academics compared the elements found in meteorites - space rocks - that have isotopes preserved from the collision event, to numerical simulations of the Milky Way.
Dr Bartos said: 'Meteorites forged in the early solar system carry the traces of radioactive isotopes.'
'As these isotopes decay they act as clocks that can be used to reconstruct the time they were created.'
They found that a single neutron-star collision likely occurred about 100 million years before the formation of Earth, at a location close to where our solar system eventually