Ebony, a rare volcanic glass, is one of the most precious substances in the Empire, mainly found in Vvardenfell, buried in the lava flows from Red Mountain. Veins can also be found in Solstheim, and occasionally on mainland Skyrim. Raw ebony itself is an extremely hard, durable, black glass-like substance. It is said to be the crystallized blood of a god or gods, Lorkhan in particular. It is protected by Imperial law, and may not be mined or exported without an Imperial charter. Settlements such as Caldera and Raven Rock once depended on the mining of ebony.
The ore has several alchemical properties and is often smelted into ebony ingots for use in smithing. Ebony armor is made by repeatedly folding the ore upon itself to form strips, which are then molded into shape. This creates a durable, heavy armor. Ebony weapons are also highly prized. Daedric armor and weapons are created from ebony, binding a daedra to the object by use of a process known only to the denizens of Oblivion. Exceptionally skilled smiths can create daedric armor by throwing a daedric heart into melted ebony under a lunar phenomenon, with the harvest moon being the best time to do so. According to Nordic myth, Ysgramor cried tears of pure ebony as he watched the city Saarthal burn. His son Yngol collected the tears and used them to forge Wuuthrad, his legendary battleaxe.
- In real life, ebony is a type of hard, black wood, traditionally used to make piano keys and other such items. This is in no way related to the ebony in the Elder Scrolls series, which is a volcanic glass. A closer equivalent in real life would be obsidian, though ebony's use in making armor and weapons suggest that it is far tougher and more malleable than obsidian, which is hard and brittle. The mention of "folding" when smithing it lends evidence that it may be some manner of metallic glass.