The Silmarils (originally called Silmarilli in Quenya), also known as the Jewels of Fëanor, were gems crafted by Fëanor from some essence of the Two Trees of Valinor, Laurelin and Telperion, before the First Age. They were among the most prized of all the wonders crafted by the Elves and were coveted by many. It was said that the fate of Arda was woven about the Silmarils.
Fëanor created the Silmarils in the Years of the Trees during the Noontide of Valinor. They were named after and crafted of a crystalline substance named silima, and contained some of the light from the Two Trees of Valinor themselves (made by Yavanna and Nienna, and named Telperion the Silver and Laurelin the Gold). While it was said that no violence within the kingdom of Arda could mar or harm the Silmarils, they could still evidently be destroyed, as the Valar were implied to have the ability to break them open to release the light within. Recognizing their immense beauty, they were hallowed by Varda, Queen of Arda, so that no hands unclean, or anything evil, could touch them. Before Melkor began stirring up trouble amongst the Ñoldor, Fëanor would often wear them blazing on his brow at feasts and would allow others to see them, but as he began to suspect his kin he no longer displayed them openly, allowing only his father and sons to view them. After Fëanor was exiled to Formenos, the Silmarils were stored in a chamber of iron.
Together with Ungoliant, Melkor destroyed the Two Trees. The Silmarils now contained all the remaining light of the Two Trees. Therefore, the Valar entreated Fëanor to give up the Silmarils so they could restore the Trees, but he refused. Then news came: Melkor had killed Fëanor's father Finwë, the High King of the Ñoldor, and stolen all the gems, including the Silmarils. After this deed, Melkor fled to the northlands of Middle-earth, to his ancient fortress of Angband. Melkor, now named Morgoth by Fëanor, set the Silmarils in his Iron Crown.
Fëanor was furious at Melkor and at the Valar's perceived desire to take the gems for their own purposes. He and his seven sons swore that they would wage war against any being that withheld a Silmaril from them.
Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean
Brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
Dread nor danger, not Doom itself
Shall defend him from Fëanáro, and Fëanáro's kin,
Whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
Finding keepeth or afar casteth
A Silmaril. This swear we all...
Death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
Woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
Darkness doom us if our deed faileth...
On the holy mountain hear in witness
and our vow remember,
Manwë and Varda!
-Oath of the Sons of Fëanor
Fëanor, as well as the greater part of the Ñoldor, traveled back to Middle-earth in pursuit of Morgoth. His flight, which began the First Age of Middle-earth, led to great grief for the Elves and eventually for the Men of Middle-earth. Five major battles were fought in Beleriand, but ultimately the Ñoldor failed.
One of the Silmarils was recovered by Beren (son of Barahir and Emeldir) and Lúthien (daughter of Thingol and Melian the Maiar Queen of Doriath) through great peril and loss. This stone was later taken by Eärendil, the husband of their granddaughter Elwing, to the Valar in the West as a token of repentance. The Valar then set this Silmaril in the sky as a star called The Star of Eärendil. The other two gems remained in Morgoth's hands, and were taken from him only at the end of the War of Wrath. However, soon afterwards, they were stolen by Fëanor's two sons Maedhros and Maglor. The jewels burned their hands, in refusal of their rights of possession, as they had burned Morgoth's hands many years before. In agony, Maedhros threw himself and his Silmaril into a fiery pit, and Maglor cast his into the sea. Thus, the Silmarils remained in all three realms of Arda — in the sky, beneath the earth, and within the sea.
In most versions of the texts, following Melkor's final return and defeat in the Dagor Dagorath, the world (Arda) will be changed and the three Silmarilli will be recovered by the Valar. Fёanor will break them open and with their light Yavanna will revive the Two Trees, the Pelóri Mountains will be flattened, and the light of the Two Trees will fill Arda again in a new age of eternal bliss.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Сільмарил (Singular) Сільмарылы (Plural)|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||精靈寶鑽|
|Croatian||Silmaril (Singular) Silmarili (Plural)|
|Hebrew||סילמריל (Singular) סילמרילים (Plural)|
|Kazakh||Сілмаріл (Cyrillic) Silmaril (Latin)|
|Russian||Сильмарили (Plural) Сильмариль (Singular)|
|Serbian||Силмарил (Cyrillic) Silmaril (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Силмарил (Cyrillic) Silmaril (Latin)|