The Silmarillion, Theory Regarding the Composition of the Silmarils and Much More

The creation of everything in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical world, including the earliest beings, the elements, the stars, and Middle Earth itself, is the central theme of the Silmarillion. The Silmarils are one of the most valuable items among all the great things that have been made in the cosmos throughout the years, long before the events of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.

The Simarils are extremely precious jewels; in fact, there were only three of them ever created, and many wars were waged over who would get to own them. According to legend, they are even more coveted than the Arkenstone among the dwarves of Erebor. They were made by an ancient elf by the name of Feanor, who was born with artistic and technical prowess far beyond anything before witnessed. 

Yavana, an Ainur who loved living things and helped create the earth, gave birth to two magnificent trees that gave forth a silver and gold brilliance. These were the Trees of Valinor, and the light emanating from them was so pure that it cheered the hearts of those who saw it. The trees, however, were destroyed and their light extinguished when Melkor turned dark and evil. Because he incorporated the light of the trees into his creations, perhaps Feanor had a peculiar sensation that this horrible thing would happen, as in the aforementioned quotation. However, does not specifically reveal to readers what kind of material the Silmarils were constructed of. The text informs readers that the information will remain secret.

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The fact that the diamonds’ material composition is unknown, giving them an attractive air of mystery, is also part of the reason why they are so sought-after. The Silmarils do, however, undoubtedly contain part of the trees’ final light before they perished, as Feanor tried to capture that beauty in the crystals:

Of course, the Silmarils’ power and other qualities make them desirable to others in addition to their beauty. The Ainur want to utilize the Silmarils to heal the trees’ injuries and give them a new life, but doing so would cause the jewels to be destroyed. Because of his destructive nature, Melkor only wants the Silmarils to destroy and take away all the other Ainur values.

Last but not least, Feanor wants the Silmarils back because he is aware that all of his creative energies went into making them. Even though he is the only one who is aware of their exact composition, he is aware that he will never again be able to produce such diamonds, especially given that the Trees are no longer there. They were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and once lost, they are permanently lost.

Melkor and Ungoliant decimated the Two Trees. All of the Two Trees’ remaining light was now confined in the Silmarils. To restore the Trees, the Valar, therefore, begged Fanor to give up the Silmarils, but he refused. Then word spread that Melkor had assassinated Fine, the Older High King and father of Feanor, and had taken all the gems, including the Silmarils. Melkor then escaped to his ancient castle of Angband in the northlands of Middle-earth. The Silmarils were placed in Melkor’s Iron Crown, which Fanor has since renamed Morgoth.

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