Vanadium is an extremely hard metal that's also quite flexible. It's used mostly as an alloy for strengthening steel. It's believed that very small amounts may be beneficial for normal bone growth however in larger quantities it's known to be toxic to humans.
Vanadium can react with a variety of other elements and the chemical compounds that it forms often exhibit beautiful colours. The gemstone emerald gets its colour from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium.
Most of the ores from which vanadium is extracted come from South Africa, Russia and China.
Vanadium is a malleable (can be shaped without breaking), ductile (can be drawn out into the shape of a wire) and corrosion-resistant metal. These properties make it ideal as an alloy. Adding the smallest amount to steel which is an alloy of iron and carbon improves the strength of the metal considerably. It doesn't lose any of its hardness when exposed to high temperatures so can also be used in machinary that generates large amounts of heat.
It rarely occurs as a free element in nature and mostly occurs in other minerals.