Enchanting objects with magical patterns is a practice that is relatively new compared to the mixing of alchemical concoctions or the fusion of metal. Nevertheless, it is still very ancient, and its origins aren't tied to a specific culture, as enchanted blades were brought from Old Valeria, were present in Silver Elven society before the Valerian landing, were used by Mayarats despite their distrust of magic, and were even brought by the Estridians of the far south.
The idea behind an enchantment is rather simple, it binds a magic spell to an object, and is set with a trigger that causes the spell to be released when the trigger is activated. Generally the trigger is impact, for example: A sword enchanted with fire, possess a fire rune in the blade, one that will release fire to course through the blade when it hits a solid object. The trigger is created so the mana isn't constantly drained, and so the object does not break because of the constant release of mana.
An enchantment can be bound to an object with a ritual, the complexity of said ritual depends of course, on the complexity of the enchantment itself. Weaker enhancements are done with smaller patterns, and can be powered with cloudy, or cracked focusing gems, while powerful enchantments require rare perfectly clear gems and extremely complex patterns.
The ritual requires proper preparation, and enchanting tools, such as engraved candles, infused chalk and other materials commonly found in any mage establishment. The chalk is used to draw the pattern, and the candles feed the pattern so it becomes active. The focusing gems are now placed on the edges of the pattern within the circle, and stabilize the mana being fed by the enchanter and the candles to the infused chalk. The enchanter must then keep the flow stable while the pattern engraves itself in the object, which depending on the object and the pattern, can take either a few minutes, or several hours.
The more common weapon patterns are elemental, as they generally are flashier, and tend to attract warriors based on looks alone. This is of course a cultural preference based on folk legends of heroes wielding great weapons infused with fire to kill legendary beasts, enchantments should not be picked based on that, as anyone with experience will surely tell you. This is not to say that elemental enhancements are useless however, as a matter of fact, in the hands of an attuned anima mage they can be some of the most powerful of them all.
What I mean by that, is what they took to call "Elemental Souls", a known tradeoff that anima mages may perform, giving them the ability to manipulate one element further by sacrificing the ability to use all the others. This effect of course extends to manipulating elements bound to their weapons, which can be viewed as a very advantageous situation, as it gives them an additional weapon in their arsenal, without having to spend their own mana while using them. The power of an elemental enhancement can be used to great effects, but only in the hands of someone with the skillset to take advantage of it.
The main historical theory in regards to enchanting is that elemental patterns were the first to be created, possibly even before people learned how to use anima itself. This theory stems from the ancient use of Elder Magic, which is to this day proof that mortals learned how to bind and use magic in objects before they learned how to manipulate raw energy. It goes without saying that a more primitive society would view something like a forest blaze or a thunderstorm as a much greater manifestation of power than what it truly is, causing them to attempt to harness that energy.
A concept that has been surprisingly underused throughout the ages is the leech, a pattern that saps essence from the target, either life, magical, or physical energy. The thought behind this is of course a feeling of repulse, a false misconception that any diseases or filth present in the target's blood will be ministered directly to the wielders bloodstream via the absorption rune. This is of course false, as the direct transfer of blood is not what this rune deals with, and instead focuses on absorbing a more energetic source, not quite tied to what ails the flesh.
Enchantments bound to weapons are of course not the only patterns present in the market. Because of the less obvious nature of many of these patterns, enchantments that affect the body are slightly less common, exactly because of this more subtle nature, again, of some. The following reason for this is the risk involved with them, often times very present, but not so obvious.
The hazard that these patterns present is not exactly common knowledge, this evidenced by the recorded amount of incidents that still happen to this day. The hazard that I am talking about is of course the risk of a pattern reacting with another present in the same body. Enchantments that are bound to armor, and therefore affect the body, because of this peculiarity have a larger flow of mana that, when released, flows all through the wielder. This wouldn't be a problem in itself, but these patterns tend to have a nasty reaction when paired together.
Take for example an event that happened in the city I live in, just last week as a matter of fact. A crazy fool thought he could attain godlike strength if he bought ten enchanted rings and wore them in each of his fingers. He grabbed his sword and activated the strength enchantments flowing through the rings, and almost instantly had every single one of his fingers chopped clean off, or mangled by the wild flow of mana that coursed through the rings.
Another recorded case in history was one of the first Dwarven experiments concerning the craft, a magnificent suit of armor, with a helmet enchanted with the Mind's Eye, the chest with flight, the boots with speed and the arms with strength and dexterity. The records state that the armor imploded, and mangled the person inside into a fine goop.
Armor enchantments don't work well with each other, but are still useful, if used one at a time. It's not an uncommon sight to witness a warrior carrying multiple enchanted baubles on his person, but switching them mid fight to better suit the current situation.
It is of paramount importance to mention the contributions that the Obsidian Elves had in the art of enchanting, as their Void Magic was used to create many magical constructs. A very known example are the Dwarven Gates, ever open gates of pure energy that connect all the Dwarven cities. Obviously taking from the knowledge of the Obsidian Elves, the Dwarves modified the pattern of their spell and designed many powerful enchantments. The secrets of most of those enchantments are common knowledge already, but some still remain locked up in the Aziat libraries, such as the secret behind how their Gates can remain ever open.
The utilitarian aspects of the spells was a grand contribution in itself concerning new enchanted artifacts. Master Enchanters from across the continent sought out the Obsidian Elf magi, which in itself caused the Warlocks to revel in the idea of bringing the many cultures together in the study of the fine arts. Soon the study of Void Magic became a standard course in any mage school, and the Warlocks acquired various tomes detailing the other spell schools in return.