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Dates
Completed c.II 1590. Passed into the West with Galadriel 29 September III 3021
Origins
Made by Celebrimbor and the Mírdain of Eregion
Race
Meaning
'Adamant', in this context, means 'diamond'
Other Names

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  • Updated 5 March 2018
  • This entry is complete

Ring of Adamant

A name for Galadriel’s Ring, Nenya

One of the Three Rings of the Elves, the Ring of Adamant was the last of the Three to be forged and, at least according to some sources,1 the greatest of the Elven-rings. It took the name 'Ring of Adamant' from the gemstone it bore ('adamant' being an old word for 'diamond'): in the same mode, the other two Rings were the Ring of Sapphire and the Ring of Ruby (though the latter term is not in fact recorded). The Elvish name of the Ring of Adamant was Nenya, the Ring of Water, and it was also known as the White Ring.

The Ring of Adamant was formed as a band of mithril,2 set with a single diamond that was said to shine like the Evening Star. It was made by the Mírdain of Eregion at the height of their powers, using knowledge they had gained from Sauron but untouched by him. When Sauron's plot to use the Rings of Power against the Elves was revealed, each of the Three Rings was sent into hiding. The Ring of Adamant was passed to Galadriel, who was dwelling in Lórien beyond the Misty Mountains. From that time - dated II 1693 in the Tale of Years - Galadriel bore the Ring of Adamant in secret until the end of the Third Age.

While Sauron held the One Ring, the Three Rings could not be used, but when he fell in the War of the Last Alliance, Galadriel was able to employ the powers of the Ring of Adamant. One of the chief among these was the power to delay the passing of time, and so Galadriel's land of Lórien became a place that held the glory of ancient times before the onset of the Fading Years of the Elves. The Ring also had some ability to ward off the creatures of the Enemy, though the nature of this ability is unclear. It is also unclear whether, like the One Ring, the Ring of Adamant granted invisibility to its wearer. The Ring itself could not normally be seen, but we have no accounts of Galadriel using her Ring to become invisible.

By the power of the Ring of Adamant, Galadriel was able to protect the land of Lórien and preserve its beauty, so that it lasted through to the end of the War of the Ring. In that War, the One Ring was destroyed, and the Ring of Adamant also lost its power. At that time Galadriel had borne the Ring for nearly five thousand years, and it is said that her use of it over the centuries had increased her longing for the Sea. At the end of the Third Age she joined the other Keepers of the Three Rings, Elrond and Gandalf, and boarded a ship into the West. Thus the Ring of Adamant, with the other two Rings of the Elves, was carried away from Middle-earth forever.


Notes

1

The Ring of Adamant is described as the 'chief' of the Three Rings, (Unfinished Tales Part Two IV, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn) but its status is not absolutely clear. Elsewhere (The Return of the King VI 9) Elrond's Ring of Sapphire, Vilya, is called the 'mightiest' of the Three Rings, apparently contradicting the status of the Ring of Adamant. These two statements need not necessarily be in conflict: perhaps the Ring of Adamant held some kind of authority over the others (and hence was the 'chief' Ring) while the Ring of Sapphire had the most intrinsic power (and hence was the 'mightiest').

2

The fact that the Ring was made of mithril is spelled out explicitly in The Lord of the Rings, which says directly that it was '...wrought of mithril...' (The Return of the King VI 9, The Grey Havens). When Frodo sees the Ring in Lórien, however, it is described as glittering '...like polished gold overlaid with silver light...' (The Fellowship of the Ring II 7, The Mirror of Galadriel). Mithril is not usually associated with a golden colour, so this reference to 'polished gold' is curious. It may have been no more than a trick of the light, or it may just possibly suggest that the Ring was not made of pure mithril, but perhaps of an alloy of mithril and gold. No such alloy is ever mentioned specifically, but since gold can be alloyed with mundane silver to form electrum, perhaps an alloy of gold and truesilver could also be made by the Jewel-smiths of Eregion.

See also...

Galadriel, Nenya, Three Rings

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About this entry:

  • Updated 5 March 2018
  • This entry is complete

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