Orichalcum is a metal mentioned in several ancient writings, including the story of Atlantis in the Critias of Plato. Within the dialogue, Critias (460 – 403 BC) claims that orichalcum had been considered second only to gold in value in many parts of Atlantis in ancient times. Orichalcum is the golden-colored bronze alloy primarily consisting of copper (about 60%) and zinc (about 25%), with small percentages of tin, nickel, lead, manganese, and silicon.
Variations on the composition of the alloy permit it to be used in a variety of applications. In ideal mixtures, it functions as a superconductor of magical energies and, even in poorer grades, is an excellent conductor of magical energies. Thus, while it is not ideal for swords, it can be alloyed to make decent knives, axes, maces, or shields. In softer, more malleable forms, it also makes excellent inlay for armor, weapons, and other enchanted items.
It’s most notable use is probably in the body of Bronze. Originally a bronze fountain consisting primarily of copper and tin, Bronze routinely consumed other metals. The theory runs that she did so much like an organic creature attempting to improve her “digestion”–in this case, her conductivity of magical energies. As she ate more metals of various sorts, she learned which ones were “good for her” and which ones were not. Eric also suspected she continued to eat some types of metal that were not, strictly speaking, “good for her,” but were nevertheless delicious.