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In Real Life, a metal is an element of the periodic table which belongs to one of certain groups/columns and has a specific type crystal lattice with free electrons. In fiction, especially fantasy, a metal is shiny stuff with wonderful properties like super strength, lightness, magic resistance and so on, often not resembling any of the metals found in the periodic table. Metals that are brittle, soft, flammable, react violently with water or air or are otherwise useless for smithing swords and shields from them never appear in fantasy, despite there being a lot of these in Real Life. This trope (a supertrope to Mithril and Orichalcum) describes the "shiny and wondrous" kind of metals.

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Note that this is mostly a Fantasy trope. Science-fiction examples are only good if they are from a work that is "science" in name only (such as four-color comics or space fantasy like Star Wars or Warhammer 40,000); harder-science materials actually explained as high-tech alloys with some verisimilitude aren't. In a nutshell, Wolverine's adamantium and Boba Fett's Mandalorian iron are examples of this trope, but a composite of titanium around a carbon nanotube matrix isn't.

Real Life examples are only allowed if they are in fact occult superstitions (like hard mercury) or well-known hoaxes (like red mercury).

The most often-encountered types of fantasy metal are:

  • Mithril (variously spelled mithral, mythral or mythril): a lightweight, very strong, silvery metal, similar to the real-world metal titanium. The name is Sindarin for "silvery glitter". Appeared in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as an Infinity Plus One Metal, but in later (post-Tolkien) examples it's a mid-level miracle metal only, above steel but below adamantium.

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  • Orichalcum (variously spelled orichalcon, orihalcon or orichalc): a metal first appeared in Plato's version of the Atlantis myth. The name means "mountain copper" in Greek, and it, indeed, often appears the color of copper or bronze. Orichalcum's properties vary heavily from source to source: sometimes its schtick is strength, sometimes it's high value, sometimes it's magic resistance, sometimes it's room-temperature superconductivity. Sometimes it floats.

  • Adamantium (variously spelled adamantine, adamantite or adamant): the name comes from Greek "adamas", diamond. And, indeed, this metal is diamond-hard and much more strong and resilient than diamond to boot. If adamantium isn't of the maaagic! level of indestructibility and is given more down-to-earth properties, then it resembles the real-world metals tungsten and rhenium.

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  • Meteoric iron (variously called sky iron, thunderbolt iron, star iron, and so on) is a real alloy, but its depiction in fantasy is very often a very different metal than it is in reality. The typical "miraculous" meteoric iron is a jet-black metal that is much stronger than regular iron and often has magical properties as well.

  • Cold Iron (variously called cold steel, wrought iron, magnetic iron and so on) is the traditional bane of The Fair Folk. Precisely what constitutes cold iron varies from source to source, such as being forged without heat, forged by hand, being ferromagnetic, possessing trace amounts of iridium, literally being cold, and so on.

  • Hihi'irokane (variously translated as crimson ore, scarletite and similar names) is a material which first appeared in the pseudohistorical Takenouchi Documents in the 1930s, where it was more or less the Japanese equivalent of Orichalcum. Its name is Japanese for "flame-colored metal" or "brilliant scarlet metal". In most depictions it's rustproof, ultra-hard, and an excellent conductor of both heat and spiritual energy (sometimes to the point of being warm to the touch).

Silver is a real metal, but fiction and folklore treat it as fantastic. Electrum also exists in Real Life, but can also be magic.

The list of fantasy metals is much longer than that, but most examples are work-specific and should go in the examples list.

A fantasy-specific subtrope of Unobtainium. See also Parodic Table of the Elements, Elemental Crafting (which ranks these and other normal metals and materials by usefulness).

For fantasy-based metal music, see Heavy Mithril.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 

  • Delicious in Dungeon:
    • Senshi's cooking pot is made of adamant. It was originally a family heirloom shield; but having no use for it and being more interested in cooking, he turned it into a pot, much to Namari's chagrin. Apparently it can withstand dragon's breath and the party even uses it to trap an angry undine in one chapter. It also spreads heat evenly when cooking.
    • Senshi's kitchen knife is made of mithril. It can even slice through dragon scales, though it doesn't have much effect since it's only the size of a regular knife.
  • In the Dragonball Z universe, there's katchin metal, which is super-strong, and served as a plot device when it broke an Infinity +1 Sword that was thought to be unbreakable (the Z Sword's legend never actually says it's unbreakable, everyone just assumed it was because it's a legendary magic sword).
    • Katchin is one-upped in Dragon Ball Super, where the multiversal arena is made of katchi katchin, said to be even stronger than regular katchin. Of course, the fighters manage to demolish it anyway.
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, the Magic Knights' special weapons are made from "Escudo", a material that grows with its wielder. Amusingly when the Ultimate Blacksmith tells them that she needs a special metal, Fuu suggests Mithril; but that doesn't exist in Cephiro.
  • Digimon has Chrome Digizoid, the strongest metal known in the Digital World. It's typically seen used by Digimon of Ultimate or Mega tier.

     Comic Books 

  • Marvel Universe has a number of these:
    • Their version of adamantium is a super-metal designed to present threats to invulnerable superheroes (the second X-Men movie states that it's synthesized in liquid form and a "hot chain" must be maintained to keep it usable). Wolverine is well known for having a whole skeleton and a set of six claws bonded with adamantium.
      • A sub-type is carbonadium, which is a cheaper, but more malleable form of adamantium. Wolverine nemesis Omega Red is known to have tentacles made from the stuff.
      • There is also "secodary adamantium", supposedly created to address reader confusion/rage over depictions of "adamantium" constructs beind destroyed. If it was shown being damaged it's "secondary adamantium" full stop.
    • Vibranium is another, unusual in that it's not super-strong or super-light (though it's not bad at either) but absorbs kinetic energy (and others Depending on the Writer) far better than ordinary substances. If that sounds like a handy substance to put between yourself and a super-strong punch, well, that's the idea. Captain America's shield is famously made from Vibranium mixed with a few other things.
      • There are two forms of Vibranium, the Wakandan variety absorbs kinetic and other energy, while Antarctic Vibranium or "Anti-Metal" causes all other metals nearby to dissolve.
    • Then there's uru, which is used by the Asgardians in forging certain magical weapons. It absorbs magic like a sponge, and Thor's hammer Mjolnir is made from it.
  • The DCU possess their own version of Promethium, an alloy when fused with titatium and vanadium that becomes a near indestructible metal.
    • Supermanium, on the other hand, is indestructible, forged by Superman out of the heart of a star.
    • DC also has Nth Metal which can, depending on the current continuity, allow anti-gravity, disrupt magic, hit ghosts, and punch out Cthulhu. It's supposedly common on Thanagar and commonly used by characters from there.

     Fan Works 
  • The Triptych Continuum goes into some detail on the thaumic properties of various metals. Silver is an efficient conductor for unicorn magic, and gold even more so. Copper is the primary conductor for pegasus magic. And then there's platinum. Platinum will amplify the effects of any form of magic (unicorn, Pegasus, or earth pony) channeled through it. This means that it can be used to make magical items which will run literally forever without needing recharging. But unlike other metals, platinum has zero margin for error. If you get even the slightest thing wrong, the amplified magic will be unable to discharge, and will simply build up until it exceeds the metal's ability to hold energy and all that stored power is released. There's a reason that all sales of platinum require the buyer to sign extensive waivers and provide emergency contact information.
     Film 

     Literature 

  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Arda has, beyond mithril, a jet-black metal called galvorn. Galvorn, even stronger than mithril, is invented by Eöl the Dark Elf and the secret of its making was lost when he and his son Maeglin, who also had the know-how, died.
    • The Book of Lost Tales, Tolkien's very early draft for The Silmarillion, also gives us tilkal, an Infinity Plus One Metal that can only be made by Aulë, the god of blacksmiths. Its name is an acronym of Quenya names for iron, copper, silver, gold, tin and lead, the six naturally occurring metals known to the Elves, used as its ingredients.
  • Animorphs has a metal called Ramonite, one of several "living metals", which could among others be stretched thin as to be invisible, negating the need for built-it windows.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Valyrian steel, and the unnamed white meteoritic metal of the late Arthur Dayne's sword Dawn.
  • The Darkangel Trilogy features a blade made of Adamant.
  • Inheritance Cycle has Brightsteel.
  • Many artifacts of the Mi-Go, Yith, and other Starfish Aliens from H.P. Lovecraft's works were crafted from metals unknown to human metallurgy.
  • Although useless for making anything out of (it's chemically fragile and has about the same consistency as lead), atium from Mistborn: The Original Trilogy has extremely powerful magic properties. There is also lerasium, which has the same thing going for it, but is also extremely rare.
  • Discworld has the magical metal octiron, and more recently the heat-absorbing black metal stygium (popular for Assassin jewellery, since it says "I'm rich, I wear black, and I don't expect to be out in the daylight much") and the impact-reflecting alloy sorortanium, used in the manufacture of micromail.
  • In The Darksword Trilogy, darkstone is an ore with Anti-Magic properties. When weaponised and placed in the hands of the Dead (i.e. an Un-Sorcerer), it furthermore grants Energy Absorption abilities.
  • The Witcher has Dimeritium. Its Anti-Magic properties make it useful for making shackles to bind sorcerers.
  • In Dreadnought!, part of what makes Star Empire, the titular dreadnought, so powerful is that its hull is made of an experimental alloy that is much stronger than the materials normally used for starship hulls, allowing it to withstand a pounding that would destroy other ships.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians has three magical metals that can hurt monsters, while simultaneously being harmless to mortals (since Demigods aren't really supposed to kill humans). Celestial Bronze is used by greek demigods, and originates from Olympus itself. Imperial Gold is used by roman demigods, and is (presumably an alloy of) gold that has been consecrated in the Temple to Jupiter in Rome, and Stygian Steel originates in the underworld, had the unique property of absorbing monster essence, and is only used by Hades and his kin.

     Live-Action TV 

  • Star Trek: Dilithium, usually found in crystalline form, and Duranium and Tritanium which are used in building ultra-strong ship hulls. Also Latinum, one of the few materials impossible to create with a Matter Replicator, giving it value as a form of currency.
  • In Doctor Who Dalekanium is what Dalek casings were made of in the sixties and seventies. In the eighties it got retconned to a much less fantastic sounding "bonded polycarbide", though Dalekanium has sometimes been used interchangeably with the later term in New Who.
  • Nth metal has been introduced into the Franchise/Arrowverse and as of season 3 of Series/Supergirl is used in manufacturing and construction.

     Mythology and Folklore 

  • Greek myth had "grey adamant", from which Kronos fashioned his sickle. In addition, orichalcum makes its most famous early appearance in Plato's writings, where he states that the metal was commonly used in Atlantis. Other mentions of it do exist, however — for instance, Aphrodite was said to have adorned herself with orichalcum jewelry.

     Puppet Shows 

  • In a parody of Star Trek's ship-building materials, the hull of the Swinetrek in the "Pigs in Space!" skits on The Muppet Show is made of Porkanium alloy.

     Tabletop Games 

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The core rulebooks have adamantine (super-strong and great for Absurdly Sharp Blades), mithral (for light and maneuverable armor), cold iron (effective against fey and demons), and alchemical silver (silver alchemically bonded to steel for use against lycanthropes).
    • The Eberron campaign setting introduces byeshk (heavy purple metal useful against abominations), flametouched iron (good-aligned, for use against Evil creatures), and Riedran crysteel (psionically charged crystal bonded to iron).
    • D&D drow (until 4th edition) had their own alloy of adamantine (or mithral, depending on the writer) that gave bonuses to arms and armor, but was instantly rendered brittle and useless by exposure to sunlight.
    • Various third edition splatbooks offered some others, such as the naturally toxic morghuth-iron or the critical-hit-averting Ysgardian heartwire. Obdurium is notable for being even more durable than adamantine, otherwise the standard 'hardest metal there is' throughout D&D and beyond (the main reason for its in-universe obscurity, outside cost, is that this is the only thing it has over adamantine — it doesn't provide any more protection if used as armour, it's just harder to break).
  • Call of Cthulhu's Masks of Nyarlathotep had "The Copper From Above" (an alien metal used to make an object which was used for a spell) and alien metals with Fictional Colors used to create a rocket.
  • Warhammer features fairly classic variants of mithril and meteoric iron, called Ithilmar and Gromril respectively. Ithilmar is a light, silvery metal found in the Annulli Mountains of Ulthuan and worked by the High Elves, while Gromril is the preferred metal of the Dwarfs. The Lizardmen, meanwhile, tend to make weapons from a nigh-indestructible type of black stone called Obsinite.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has adamantium, plasteel and ceramite. There's also the unexplained living metal that Necrons (a race of Omnicidal Maniacs with their souls bound to regenerating metal bodies) and their technology are made from, called necrodermis. In a slightly less "metal" way, but still fantasy building material, we have wraithbone for the Eldar, which is essentially crystallized psychic energy that is used by "bonesingers" to make equipment.
  • Magic: The Gathering has Darksteel, which is so indestructible that it's "forged" by using Retconjuration to warp reality so it just so happens to have been in the desired shape all along.
  • Exalted features different magical materials that resonate best with different Exalt types.
    • Solars have Orichalcum (the strongest, formed from gold magically smelted in magma, heated by reflected sunlight).
    • The Lunars get Moonsilver, which is capable of changing shape.
    • The Dragon-Blooded have five flavors of elementally-based Jade — Green (Wood), Blue (Air), White (Earth), Black (Water), and Red (Fire), plus Yellow which shouldn't exist, but forms by accident.
    • The Sidereals have Starmetal, actually the physical remains of fallen gods worked into metal (or the congealed anima of Creation, depending on edition).
    • The Abyssals use Soulsteel, forged in the Underworld out of ghosts bound within the metal in eternal torment.
    • The Alchemicals have Adamant, super dense diamond that appears only in Autochthonia. (It's been long speculated that there was a type of Exalted who had Adamant as their particular affinity, since it went to the Alchemicals by default due to their Adamant Caste; Word of God for Third Edition says the Adamant affinity goes to the optional Exalted known as the Hearteaters.)
  • Rifts has MDC materials, like normal metals or plastics (and in rarer cases, wood and glass) treated through nanotech or transmuted by magic to be a thousand times stronger.
  • Mage: The Awakening:
    • The seven metals of European alchemy (gold, silver, mercury, lead, tin, iron, and copper) each have a "Perfected" equivalent that's created by distilling the metal in the Spirit World. Each is attuned to specific forms of magic and has additional mundane abilities, like perfected iron's ability to form an Absurdly Sharp Blade that always holds its edge.
    • Perfected metals can be combined, imbued with Mana, and magically transmuted to make "arcane metals". The best known is Thaumium, an alloy of perfected gold, silver, and mercury, that has powerful Anti-Magic properties.
  • Steamlogic's Mechanical Dream is set on a planet with giant Kioux trees so large that they can house industrialized cities. As such most materials are wood-based and iron and steel are very rare, high end materials in that planet. There are two mystical materials stronger than any metal alloys, they are "Blood" and Sastak. "Blood" is a rare, semi-crystalized bit of sap from the Kioux tree and Sastak is a golden seaweed that has been transformed by exposure to the reality-warping Dream that occurs on that world.

     Video Games 

  • The Elder Scrolls Several forms are staples throughout the series.
    • Ebony is a dark grayish/brownish/purplish mineral with some characteristics of volcanic glass, basically the equivalent to real world Obsidian. It's extremely dense, worth more than gold when used as bullion, and forges into some of the most powerful weapons and heavy armor available in Tamriel. Lore scholars have long theorized that ebony may in fact be the petrified blood of the dead creator god Lorkhan, as it's greatest deposits are near Red Mountain where Lorkhan's heart fell from the sky. (Another theory states that his blood crystallized instead, and was collected by the Ayleids to create the Chim-el Adabal, better known as the Amulet of Kings. It too was known to have immense mystical properties.)
    • Daedric metal is a special kind of Ebony which is infused with demonic souls. It's dark gray with red veinlets, and when forged, usually comes out very "spiky." It's almost always the high-end, top of the line metal in the games.
    • Dwarven Metal is a Lost Technology alloy that looks like copper or bronze, though its exact composition (and even its proper Dwemer name) is forgotten. According to the lore, the Dwemer would bend the laws of time, physics, and nature in order to make their creations last.
    • "Glass", like Ebony, is treated here as a metal-like mineral. It is iridescent-green in color and mined primarily in Morrowind. After most of Morrowind was rendered uninhabitable, it is since smelted artificially by melting moonstone and malachite together.
    • Stalhrim is a type of enchanted ice which can be used like a mineral to craft weapons and armor. It is found only on Solstheim, as are the only people who still know how to smith it.
    • Mithril is a lightweight, mid-level metal used to make armor. It's otherwise typical and fairly unremarkable.
    • Elven and Orcish steel are both stronger alloys of standard steel, with Moonstone added to create the former and orichalcum added to create the latter.
  • Dwarf Fortress has two types of fantasy metal, one well-known in the fandom, the other obscure.
    • Adamantine, or cotton candy, is the main fantasy metal, but its properties are more like mithril. The "cotton candy" nickname comes from its color, its incredibly light density, the fact that it has to be forged from fluffy thread-like "strands", and its association to the so-called "circus" and its "clowns". It holds an unparalleled edge and an ability to endure an incredible amount of stress. Useless for blunt weapons, brilliant for armor, and lethal in bladed weapons.
    • The obscure example, found only in the little-known Vaults, are divine metals, whose appearances and names vary according to the spheres of the angels wielding them. A god of rainbows will arm their angels with "multicolored metal", while a god of disease will prefer "blistered metal", for example. This metal is a Master of All; while edged weapons and armor are somewhat inferior, overall, to adamantine, the weight allows blunt weapons made from it to be effective.
  • RuneScape has several melee armors and weapons made from fantasy metals.
    • Black items and White items (Level 25, 30, and 40) are made from alloys of steel that players can't make.
    • Mithril (level 30) is a dark blue metal that is also significantly lighter than most other melee armors. It can be combined with silver to make an anti-vampire weapon the Rod of Ivandus. Adamantite (level 40) is a heavy green metal. Runite (level 50) is a cyan metal, and is the highest level armor available to free players that does not degrade over time. All three of these metals must have properties similar to iron because they all require an increasingly high amount of coal in order to smelt them from their mineral form into usable metal, just as iron requires coal to turn it into steel.
    • Dragon items (level 60) are made from a bright red colored metal. The composition of dragon metal is unknown, as it was created by the Dragonkin.
    • Tetsu Armor (level 85) is made from a metal referred to as plate (supposedly some kind of ultra high quality steel) which comes from the eastern lands.
    • Malevolent Armor (level 90) is made by combining Malevolent Energy with an item called a Reinforcing Plate.
    • Ironically, the current highest level melee weapons in the game (at level 90) are not made of metal, but are made from parts of dead bosses. Drygore Weapons are made from the chitin of the Kalphite King and the Noxious Scythe is made from a spider leg and a spider fang.
    • There also are many other types of armor and weapon in the game that can't be smithed by players whose compositions are never explained, although many based on their appearance and where they come from may be high quality, magical, or blessed steel.
    • Daemonheim is filled with strange minerals that are not found anywhere else in the game and you aren't allowed to take outside of Daemonheim. From weakest to strongest (Level 1 to Level 99) these metals are called Novite, Bathus, Marmaros, Kratonite, Fractite, Zephyrium, Argonite, Katagon, Gorgonite, Promethium, and Primal. There also are weapons made from metals called Gravite (Level 55) and Chaotic (Level 80) that you can take outside of Deamonheim as a reward.
    • There is also a purple colored metal called elemental metal that is used to make Anti-Magic armor. It can be improved by putting it through a priming process that turns it white, and then infusing it with different forms of energy, turning it other colors.
    • There is also a blue metal called blurite that is only used for decorating a ceremonial iron sword for a quest, making low level crossbows and bolts (level 16), better than iron but worse than steel, and activating a sacred forge during another quest.
  • Team Fortress 2 has Australium, a metal that was able to boost Australian's intelligence and strength by a ridiculous amount, and gave them technologies beyond the 22nd century in the 1800s. It can fetch quite a high price both in-universe, and out.
  • Gemstone III: Lysaughton, Mcgrail, Platnite, Catoetine, Elrodnite, Inniculmoid, Boernerine, Neurolite, Fabrinine
  • Warcraft III has Thorium and Arcanite-forged weapons as Orc weapon upgrades. Thorium is a real metal (element 90), although it may have been ascribed unrealistic properties.
  • World of Warcraft vastly expanded on the list of fantastic metals, and each expansion added additional metals. It's worth mentioning that starting from Warlords of Draenor onwards, the available ores usually don't have to be smelted onto metal ingots, which has since reduced the number of fantastic metals.
    • The original game added the old standby Mithril, as well as Truesilver and Dark Iron, and the exceedingly rare Elementium and Sulfuron. Thorium and Arcanite also returned.
    • Burning Crusade introduced Fel Iron, Felsteel, Eternium, Khorium, and Adamantite.
    • Wrath of the Lich King had Cobalt, Saronite, Titanium, and Titansteel.
    • Cataclysm brought back Elementium while adding Obsidium, Pyrium and Truegold.
    • Mists of Pandaria had Ghost Iron, Trillium, and Living Steel.
    • Warlords of Draenor included only Truesteel (True Iron ore also exists, but only as a component of Truesteel that can't be smelted onto ingots on its own).
    • Legion includes Demonsteel, smelted from Leystone and Felslate ores.
    • Battle for Azeroth takes the recent thread even further: many items are made of Stormsteel, but it doesn't existed as a separate metal, but instead those items are created directly from Platinum and Storm Silver ores (none of them can be smelted either).
  • Dragon Age has (in order of quality) Grey Iron, Veridium, Red Steel, Silverite and Starmetal.
    • The Awakening expansion also adds White Steel and Volcanic Aurum.
  • The Ultima games had Blackrock, which could block magic and which became permeable when electricity was passed through it. Also useful for creating portals between worlds.
  • Terraria:
    • The game has several made-up metals, such as "Meteorite," "Demonite," and "Hellstone," all of which can be melted into strong armor and weapons.
    • In 1.1, Cobalt, Mithril and Adamantite were introduced, as well as a boss-dropped metal, Hallowed. In 1.2, we were gifted with slightly stronger alternatives to each: Palladium, Orichalcum, and, strangely, Titanium. Also added was Chlorophyte, a new jungle-based ore stronger than even Hallowed, and Crimtane, an alternative ore to Demonite, found in worlds with the Crimson instead of the Corruption.
    • Later, the Chlorophyte can be refined into Shroomite using Glowing Mushrooms or Spectre bars using Ectoplasm, but that would be the last you'd see of this trope from that point up until the True Final Boss, which drops Luminite ore to be crafted into bars for getting the best-of-the-best armor.
  • ADOM has (in order from least to most impressive) mithril, adamantium and eternium. Note that eternium, though never unwelcome, isn't the ultimate final word as some prefixes and suffixes will show up only on mundane (iron) weapons.
  • Final Fantasy has Mithril (spelled Mythril), Adamantite, Hihi'irokane (usually "Scarletite" in the English translations) and Orichalcum, but some games also add Electrum and Darksteel as well. Original note  include Gemsteel and maybe Magicite as well.
    • Mythril isn't nearly as wondrous in Final Fantasy, possible due to overuse. It's usually the third material or so; after wood and iron in shops. It's usually the lowest tier magic metal; and is available relatively easy almost everything except the first town.
  • Guild Wars 2 has three common fantasy metals and three rare fantasy metals. The common are Darksteel (an alloy of platinum), Mithril, and Orichalcum. The rare are Deldrimor Steel, Cystalline, and Xunlai Electrum.

     Web Original 

  • In New Vindicators, there was once a meteor that when it hit the Earth, created a strange kind of tektite called mithral. While really much stronger or better than most metals, mithral is shown to be Kryptonite to Nephilim-half angels, half humans, inflicting great pain on them through touch and in some cases weakening their powers.

     Other / Multiple Media 

  • The Star Wars universe contains some:
    • Cortosis, which is a metal hostile to the Force and also with an ability to short out lightsabers. Another famous ability of cortosis is that its ores are constantly electrified and capable of electrocuting anyone who handles them carelessly.
    • Phrik is similar to cortosis, but more tame. It doesn't short out lightsabers, but is immune to them as well.
    • Beskar (Mandalorian iron) is similar to phrik, only much stronger; it's more or less the local version of adamantium. Mandalorian armors are typically made of beskar.
    • Glasteel or transparisteel is a transparent metal, often used to make the windows of starships.
    • Durasteel is an incredibly strong alloy of several real and fictional ores, highly resistant to physical stress and extremes of temperature and often used in making armor and spaceship hulls.

     Real Life 

  • In real-world occult alchemy, there was believed that a method exists to make mercury hard at room temperature. At least one medieval Hermetic recipe exists to make a ring of invisibility from hard mercury.
  • Red mercury was a hoax perpetrated by Soviet KGB. It was ascribed some miraculous properties like making simple and compact nukes; the purpose of the hoax was sting operations to catch terrorists and rogue state agents seeking easy ways to obtain nukes. They forgot to warn the Soviet populace that it's a hoax, and after the fall of the Soviet Union, a red mercury craze started on its ruins.
  • Orichalcum appears to have been what we today know as brass, but Plato ascribed mystical qualities to it and described it as a natural metal mined from the mountains of Atlantis so for a long time fiction followed after him until some "orichalcum" ingots were discovered and analyzed. They were discovered to be high quality brass.
    • Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. While metallic tin (which makes bronze when alloyed with copper) was known already in the Antiquity, metallic zinc was prepared only by the Medieval alchemists, and it was the first metal discovered after the classical seven (gold, silver, copper, tin, iron, mercury and lead). While the Greeks and Romans knew brass, they did not know its composition; instead they smelted it from zinc-rich ore, adding extra mystique to it. The Greek name for zinc is Ψευδάργυρος (pseudargyros), "false silver",
    • While brass does not have magical qualities, it is a noble metal,note  does not lose its shine and is resistant to corrosion. It is suitable for jewelry and items requiring corrosion resistance, such as marine instruments and propellers. Added bonus is it looks very much like gold.
  • Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver.
  • Meteoric Iron is also a thing. Many iron meteorites contain large amounts of chromium, manganese and vanadinium: carburizing the meteoritic iron effectively turns it into stainless steel.
  • Damascus steel acquired legends about swords made from it being able to cut through other swords. Analysis of ancient Damascus steel swords suggested that they contained carbon nanotubes, probably from plant fibers mixed into the smelt, though modern steels can be stronger.


Alternative Title(s): Fantastic Metals, Mythical Metal

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