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The Silmarils (originally called Silmarilli in Quenya), also known as the Jewels of Fëanor, were a set of three gems crafted by Fëanor from essence of the Two Trees of Valinor, Laurelin and Telperion, during the Years of the Trees of the First Age. They were 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.

The "War of the Jewels", the climax of which ended the First Age, refers to these three jewels.

History[]

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Fëanor and a Silmaril

Fëanor created the Silmarils between YT 1449 and 1450 during the Noontide of Valinor.[1] 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.

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Morgoth and his Iron Crown with the three Silmarils

Beren

Beren and a Silmaril, by Anke Eißmann

Fëanor was furious at Melkor and at the Valar's perceived desire to take the gems for their own purposes. In anger, he and his seven sons swore an oath known as the Oath of Fëanor, declaring 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

Star of Earendil 3987

Star of Earendil

Fëanor, as well as the greater part of the Ñoldor, traveled back to Middle-earth in pursuit of Morgoth. His flight, which took place near the end of the First Age of Middle-earth, led to great grief for the Elves, beginning with the Kinslaying at Alqualondë, and eventually for the Men of Middle-earth. Five major battles were fought in Beleriand, but ultimately the Ñoldor failed.

TN-Maedhros casts Himself into a Chasm

Maedhros casts himself and his Silmaril into the earth

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Maglor casts his Silmaril into the sea

One of the Silmarils was recovered from the Iron Crown by Beren (son of Barahir and Emeldir) and Lúthien (daughter of the King and Queen of Doriath, Thingol and Melian, the Maiar) 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 Gil-Orestel. 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 in the earth, and Maglor cast himself and his Silmaril into the sea. Thus, the Silmarils remained in all three realms of Arda — in the sky, beneath the earth, and within the sea.[2]

Powers[]

The Silmarils did not have any inherent power, save containing the light of the Trees, and neither were they able to give any sort of power to their owner. However, they were enchanted by Varda such that, if anyone did not take them rightfully or if anything evil comes into contact, they would burn them upon their touch.

Prophecy[]

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 Silmarils 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.

Translations[]

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ጺልማሪል
Arabic سيلماريل
Armenian Սիլմարիլ
Belarusian Cyrillic Сільмарил (Singular) Сільмарылы (Plural)
Bengali ষিল্মারিল
Bulgarian Cyrillic Силмарил
Chinese (Hong Kong) 精靈寶鑽
Croatian Silmaril (Singular) Silmarili (Plural)
Dutch Silmarillen
Finnish Silmarilit (Plural)
Georgian სილმარილი
Greek Σιλμαρίλ
Gujarati ષિલ્મરિલ
Hebrew סילמריל (Singular) סילמרילים (Plural)
Hindi षिल्मरिल
Hungarian Szilmarilok
Japanese シルマリル
Kannada ಸಿಲ್ಮರಿಲ್
Kazakh Сілмаріл (Cyrillic) Silmaril (Latin)
Korean 실마릴
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Силмарил
Lithuanian Fėanoro brangakmeniai/Silmarilai
Latvian Silmariljons
Macedonian Cyrillic силмарили
Marathi सिलमारल
Mongolian Cyrillic Силмарил
Nepalese षिल्मरिल
Norwegian Silmarill
Persian (Singular) سیلماریل
Polish Silmarile (Plural)
Punjabi ਸਿਲਮਰਿਲ
Russian Сильмарили (Plural) Сильмариль (Singular)
Sanskrit षिल्मरिल्
Sinhalese ෂිල්මරිල්
Serbian Силмарил (Cyrillic) Silmaril (Latin)
Tajik Cyrillic Силмарил
Tamil ஷில்மரில்
Telugu షిల్మరిల
Thai ซิลมาริล
Turkish Silmariller (Plural)
Ukrainian Cyrillic Сильмарили
Urdu سالمآرال
Uzbek Силмарил (Cyrillic) Silmaril (Latin)
Yiddish סילמאַריל

References[]

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