The middle ages made extensive use of metals for all aspects of life. Metal, however, was hard to mine (and therefore expensive) and difficult to work, especially very useful metals like iron and its derivative, steel. Common people would have had little access to rare metals, and even nobility would have felt the pinch when buying large amounts of metal, such as a suit of armour or tableware.
In ancient times only seven basic metals were known: gold, silver, copper, iron, quicksilver (mercury), lead, and tin (white lead). Other period metals such as brass, bronze, pewter, and steel are all alloys.