Forestalling the Fires of War
Four Magical Metals
Almost all metal used in Arenor in this day and age is high quality steel called grey steel. However, grey steel is the least of the metals used by the people of Arenor.
The weakest of the magical metals is Thoran, or black steel. Thoran is, essentially, grey steel that was enchanted with earth and fire magic as it was forged. This creates a stronger metal that is as black as onyx or obsidian.
The next of the magical metals is Bloston, or red steel. Bloston is enchanted with earth and fire magic, but also requires the smith to coat the edges of the blade with diamond and do the last quench of the blade in diamond dust. The combination of grey steel, diamond, and heavy enchanting makes the blade far sharper than Thoran, but more brittle. The red color (which is usually somewhere between ruby and garnet) is caused by the fire magic inundating the diamonds.
The strongest of metals that can be made by humans and elves is called Vanadum, or purple steel. Vanadum is made by enchanting the metal and carbon used in the forging process with earth, fire, shadow, and metal magic. This combination makes the metal strong, flexible, and impossibly sharp when forged into a blade. The addition of shadow magic means that Vanadum takes on a deep purple color.
The strongest metal in existence is beyond rare all measure because it requires forging steel in dragon fire from an Elder Flame Dragon (which are extinct). This metal is a shining gold color, and is called Dracaryn or gold steel. It is unbreakable. It cannot be blemished. After it has been forged, there exists nothing that can undo Dracaryn. It is as close to perfection as metal can be.
So, to make things as simple as possible…
Grey Steel < Black Steel (Thoran) < Red Steel (Bloston) < Purple Steel (Vanadum) < Gold Steel (Dracaryn)