How reliable are meteors (in terms of sword material)

If you’re asking, “did people make weapons out of meteoric iron?” Then yes. Some of the oldest surviving iron artifacts are actually made from the stuff. People have been making knives and swords out of meteoric iron for, literally, thousands of years.

Before the development iron smelting meteorites were one of
the few sources of naturally occurring, metallic iron. Even as
technology advanced, meteoric iron still saw use, for convenience, aesthetics, or symbolic reasons. As a result, there have been many weapons (both historical and mythical) forged from meteoric iron. Real meteoric blades are recognizable by having a unusual, silvery blade. In some cases the material exhibits banding similar to Damascus steel.

The name itself is a bit of a misnomer, because meteoric iron actually multiple different compositions of iron and nickel.
It’s the nickle that gives the metal it’s silvery appearance.

As far as I know, Kamacite and Taenite are the preferred minerals for use in forging weapons. It’s worth remembering, recognizing meteoric iron as multiple, distinct, minerals, rather than as a single, “meteoric iron” only dates back to the 1990s. This may also explain why meteoric iron blades have inconsistent appearances.

Now, if you’re asking, “does this make supernaturally good swords?” Then, not really. From what I know, it provided material that was superior to anything that could be artificially created for much of human history, but it was superseded as smelting technologies advanced. Meteoric iron could be used to forge high quality weapons, though, I’m not sure exactly how good.

I’m also not sure how reliable weapons made from meteoric iron were. I assume they were roughly on par with conventional steel blades. Meaning, if they were preserved and kept for special occasions, the blades are still with us today. But, if they saw heavy combat use, they probably didn’t survive.

Now, if you’re asking, “how reliable are meteors at providing workable metals?” Then, I’m not sure. As I’ve said before: Metallurgy is not my field. Because there are multiple possible compositions of meteoric iron, with distinct compositions, I suspect meteoric iron is something of a gamble. It’s also possible an accomplished smith would be able to tell if they’re looking at meteoric iron that was unsuitable for weapons, assuming they knew this was an issue. But, I honestly don’t know.

-Starke

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