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Nerdanel was the daughter of the Ñoldorin smith Mahtan and the wife of Fëanor.

She bore Fëanor seven sons: Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod and Amras (see Sons of Fëanor). Nerdanel, unlike her husband, was of a peaceful nature and sought to moderate his fiery temper and pride with wisdom. For a time, she was the only one able to influence him. Called "the Wise", Nerdanel refused to follow her husband to Middle-earth, and is apparently still living in Aman.

Nerdanel was a noted sculptor. She is said to have made statues so lifelike that people thought them real.

On a minor note, Nerdanel's family is interesting to fans of Tolkien's Elves because they are the only attested examples of Elves with red hair. Nerdanel's father Mahtan and three of her sons (Maedhros, Amrod, and Amras) are described by Tolkien as having red hair (actually a reddish brown) and this is described as a trait "of Nerdanel's kin". Nerdanel's own hair color is never specifically stated; although it is said that she possessed a ruddy complexion and it may be assumed that Tolkien did indeed intend Nerdanel to have red hair.