Xena's Chakram was deadlier than you might think

By: Peter Greenwood     Posted: February 13, 2017, 4:28PM

It was the weapon that defined Xena: Warrior Princess. A sort of cross between a frisbee and a boomerang, the chakram traces its roots back to India in our real world history. However, two of them — the Balanced Chakram and the Dark and Light Chakram — fortunately found their way into Xena's hands in ancient Greece on the TV show. The throwing weapons were one of the coolest things about the cult '90s fantasy series.

Xena's Chakram was indeed deadly, but not for the reason you might think.

The metal prop had all the aerodynamic qualities of a rock— heavy, but impressive. Thus, rubber versions were used when it came time for throwing. But these props had a nasty secret.

You might recall the pearlescent stones inlaid around the circumference of the disc. Those were actually made from the shells of the pāua, an edible sea snail found around New Zealand, where Xena: Warrior Princess was filmed. We here in the States better know pāua as abalone. They gave the Chakram an out-of-this-world luster.

Well, those out-of-this-world inlays could sure send you out of this world if you messed with them in a confined space. In fact, when you grind and polish those shells, they emit a highly toxic dust.

The only way to process those shells was in an outside well, in a ventilated setting where the fumes and particulate could disperse without incident.

As for the rest, in some cases, the inset detail was done in paint. When the now-defunct Icons Authentic Replicas recreated their replica Chakram props for collectors, the inlays were were electrically powder coated. Wise move.

Consider this a heads up for any devoted cosplayers looking to make an authentic Xena Chakram at home.