Grades of Armour
This is hard to have a very definitive nomenclature regarding the quality of the finished product. I too often see the term "Museum quality" advertising mass produced import armour. I may be taking this term too seriously but to me it means something made to so closely reproduce an original artefact that it could be placed in a highly respected museum in the place of the original and fool even a curator as to its authenticity. I will not be using this term as I have never produced a piece of this this detail. Of course I would love to make such an item but the amount of time required would make the price so high that it would would be beyond the reach of all but the richest of individuals.
"Historically Accurate" is a term commonly used by myself and other armourers. There have been many very long online discussions in the community of armourers as to what is technically "historically accurate." I use this term to apply to the shape and function of an armour. I do not necessarily consider the material or thickness of such to reflect the historical accuracy of an item. 90% of the armour I make I consider historically accurate. My goal is to make an item that if worn on a battle field in its' respective time would not seem out of place to the people of that time. I extrapolate and mimic styles based on research of many surviving original pieces and paintings of the area and time period I am attempting to recreate.
The amount of time required to produce each level of accuracy and detail goes up exponentially as does the price. An analogy is to think of performance and pricing of cars. An economy car may cost $10,000 and a new Ferrari may cost $750,000. The Ferrari may only be technically 3 times as good based on stats like 0-60, top speed and handling ability but the manufacturer may have spent 200 times the amount of effort and money to achieve that performance. Along the same lines is the difference in a Cadalac which on the technical level may not rank much above the economy car but has added comfort, style and luxury which also takes extensive time and materials to produce.
I intend to make items in various grades roughly falling into the munitions, nice and exquisite categories. Munition grade armour will be historically based yet may lack subtle details or made using techniques intended to keep production time and end cost down. "Nice" grade armour may more closely reproduce an original armour and or contain added detail. "Exquisite" pieces will be extensively researched and often of the highest level of detail I am capable of achieving to most accurately reproduce and original armour of high calibre. The pricing of nice item will often be 2 to 3 times as expensive as the same piece were it to be made as a munitions piece. An exquisite piece will often be 4 to 8 times as expensive as a munitions piece of the same design yet could be many times higher price. Depending on the complexity of the original armour an exquisite near reproduction of a full suit may take several years to produce
I intend to add comparative photos and more detailed explanations of the different grades in the near future.