Just to continue on yesterday's club discussions, and how nit picking we history buffs we might be, eh!!!!
The hilts of combat swords were mainly made of iron, and somethimes one can also find 'yellow coloured' metal handles, that look like brass but not gilded in gold.
I am not an expert of metal work but probbaly this was the result of some alloy mixed with iron that produced this colour. In renaissance and after, we had also the introduction of a blue coated metal, this was a result of another mix, tempered on fire acheiving a bluish patina to metal ...
Gilded swords and also handles made of golds, one can still find but these were meant for ceremonial use only.
During the early period of the Crusades, the Hospitaller Order was very strict on their monastic rule, of obedience, poverty and castity. During the early period, though most of the Knights came from rich noble families, were forbid to have rich items, including rich textiles, furs, enemeled belts, jewelry and ornamental weapons and any of items they brought with them was handed to the treaseaurer.
After the Crusades in the Holy Lands, seems that these ideas to have been 'put aside' and as the Order grew richer and richer, and the best families enroling their proud sons in seems these ideas of poverty and castity starting to be 'played around'. Especially from the renaissance onwards we can see that the best and richest material for warefare and arts were the new face of the Order. This what made the Order a 'super power' of the time and thanks to that Malta has benefited with the richest legacy and patrimony left by these proud aristocrats. Just visiting the Palace Armoury, the frescoes and the riches in St John co-Cathedral is the testimony of what I am saying, comparing to basic structure of Crack de Chavalier in Jordon ...