Orichalcum is, to my mind, the most fascinating mineral in all of Tamriel. I think the Orc's fondness for it makes a great deal of sense—after all, they both have a lot in common. Orichalcum is green, exceptionally rigid, stronger than steel, and extremely temperamental. Just like most Orcs!
Most miners, when they discover Orichalcum veins, see them as a welcome sight. Excavations tend to be less onerous given that Orichalcum is often found in brittle shale. The deposits also tend to be free of gangue, making ore dressing unnecessary. The real challenges with the mineral can be found in the smelting process.
Orichalcum is notoriously difficult to smelt. A consistent low heat must be maintained to prevent the metal from becoming brittle and cracking. Iron is often introduced to act as a binding, but most of the Orcish smiths I spoke to dismissed the idea as evidence of laziness or lack of skill. According to the famed smith Gurzbog gra-Gulog, pure Orichalcum is far lighter and stronger than its iron-alloyed alternative. After inspecting both metals, I'm inclined to agree. Both were remarkably heavy, but the disparity in weight was not insignificant. The Orcs' reliance on massive plate armor makes any difference in weight important.
Orichalcum weapons retain their sharpness far longer than most weapons made with conventional metals, and they are remarkably resistant to rust and chipping. The unique color is also noteworthy—not as gaudy as High Elven glass and not as drab as iron or steel.
I am eager to speak with more smiths here in Orsinium. I know that I have much more to learn!
- This note makes reference to the smithing style for Orichalcum in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.