Rarer than Platinum, Black Iron is the ultimate status symbol amongst Dwarven society.
DiscoveryBlack Iron is thought to have been the second metal ever discovered, or at the very least after iron and before any other useful metal. Accurate records for its discovery do not exist but this assumption is made on the etymology of words relating to metals in the Olde Tongue. Iron in the Olde Tongue refers to metal in general in the oldest of surviving texts, presumably as it was the first unearthed. Black Iron in the Olde Tongue is Obsiron (or Dark/Black Metal). Similarly, this seems to be the origin of Obsidian too, as a warping of the Olde Tongue Obsdion (Black Protector - as it was discovered as a barrier to magma beyond). Despite this presumed early discovery, Black Iron is one of the rarest metals in the world. No new veins of the metal have been found in over one thousand years. By metallic standards, Black Iron is brittle but incredibly hard. It also has a significantly higher melting point than iron, which makes it harder to craft with. Due to this and its rarity, Black Iron is not suitable for weaponry or armour. However, perhaps due to the perceived attractiveness of such weaponry and armour, stories persist of such items. In a similar way to how the Dwarven throne is embellished with Black Iron, it is possible some early weaponry and armour may have adorned with the metal but no such items have been discovered and passed into public record if they were.
Physical CharacteristicsAs Black Iron only shares its name with regular iron due to language reasons opposed to chemical reasons, Black Iron differs from iron in almost every way. Black Iron is harder and more brittle and has a much higher melting point than iron, which makes it harder to craft with. This also contrasts drastically with other valuable, decorative metals like gold and silver. These characteristics, along with its rarity, mean it is unsuitable for use as weaponry or functional armour. Despite this, perhaps due to the attractiveness of such items, stories persist of weaponry and armour made of Black Iron but no such artefacts have been recovered and passed into public knowledge. The possibility remains, however, that ceremonial armour or weapons could have existed or ones embellished with Black Iron in a similar manner to the Dwarven throne.
Notable ArtefactsBlack Iron is woven into Dwarven culture at the highest level. Due to its scarcity, only a few artefacts are made from it. The most notable and most visible item made from the metal is the crown of the Dwarven King. The Dwarven throne is made from a strong dark wood upon which the fabric was added but the trim and any part not direct sat upon is pure iron that has been magically imbued to never rust. However, this iron outer shell is inlaid with Black Iron symbols and accents. The exact extent of Black Iron items is unknown. The majority of items that do exist are locked up within The Nether Archive. The Nether Archive is the grand library of the Dwarves, the lower levels of which are reserved for extremely valuable and/or dangerous items to be kept away from the general public.