By mixing several types of metal together, the unique "shadow" pattern is created within the metal which is stronger and more flexible than traditionally made metals.
The creation process of the metal is a closely-guarded secret by the Malanari blacksmiths. It is said that it is a secret known only to the "Soul-Forgers" (a specific trade of blacksmiths who make the metal for ritual items such as the Sharn dagger) and Gorm.The export of the Shadow Steel process is forbidden by the Malthariod (Leading Priests of the Temple of Maltharius), and reforging the metal is very difficult but not impossible. Some have managed to take captured Malanari weapons and have them reforged into weapons more commonly found in the Kels or the Barons.
These reforged weapons are often fitted with pommels fitting the cultural influence.