Elfstone

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Elfstone
Jewel
John Howe - Elessar (Elfstone).jpg
Elessar (Elfstone) by John Howe
Other namesElessar (Q)
LocationGondolin, Havens of Sirion, Valinor/Eregion, Lothlórien, Rivendell Gondor
OwnerEnerdhil/Celebrimbor, Idril, Eärendil, Galadriel, Celebrían, Arwen, Aragorn
AppearanceA green gem set on a silver eagle-shaped brooch
CreatorEnerdhil/Celebrimbor
Gondolin, First Age
GalleryImages of the Elessar of Eärendil

The Elfstone (Q. Elessar), also known as the Stone of Eärendil, was one, or possibly two, great green jewel(s) of healing power whose legends of creation are conflicting and complex.

History[edit]

Origin[edit]

The Elfstone, or at least the first of them, was made in Gondolin during the First Age. Some name Enerdhil the jewel-smith as its maker, but others say that it was his friend, Celebrimbor son of Curufin.[1] After the completion of the jewel, many Elves, including the other Noldor, were astonished by it, for the stone was green as the leaves but had the clear light of the Sun imprisoned within it. It was said that any who looked upon the stone would see withered and aged things as whole and young again. It was also claimed that it granted any who wore the gem the power to heal any hurts of anyone that they touched.[1]:249

The Elfstone was eventually given to Idril Celebrindal, who wore it upon her breast, and as such, it was saved from perishing during the Fall of Gondolin. Eventually, Idril passed it on to her son Eärendil, whose first memory was of Idril wearing the gem while singing to him. At Sirion's Haven, Eärendil used the Elfstone to heal the hurts of many of the Men, Elves, and beasts that dwelled there. Eventually, Eärendil carried it with him on his voyages across the Great Sea to the Blessed Realm.[1]:249

A legend says that when the Wizards were sent from Valinor to Middle-earth in the Third Age, Olórin brought back Eärendil's jewel as a token from Yavanna that the Valar had not forsaken them; as Gandalf, he gave it to Galadriel, and remarked prophetically that she would only hold it for a little while, before she passed it to another, who will also be called Elessar.[1]:250

Galadriel wearing the Elessar by Tatyafinwe

However, another legend says that Celebrimbor, who was in love with Galadriel, remade another version of the lost jewel during the Second Age and placed it within a great brooch of silver. It was said that this Elfstone was "more subtle and clear" yet had less power than the original. It was made at Galadriel's behest, pained at the state of Middle-earth. When she wore it, "all things grew fair" around her.[1]:251

Third Age[edit]

Whatever the origins of Galadriel's Elfstone were, she gave it to her daughter Celebrían, who in turn gave it to Arwen.[1]:251

Bilbo Baggins, during his stay in Rivendell, was urged by Aragorn to include a green jewel in his Song of Eärendil, possibly anticipating the symbolic importance that the gem would have in his life. Bilbo Baggins, obeying Aragorn, but seemingly unaware of the Elfstone's story, included an inaccurate reference to an emerald.[2]

When the Fellowship of the Ring visited the wood of Lothlórien, the Elfstone was again under Galadriel's possession. When the Fellowship departed and Galadriel offered them her gifts, the Elfstone was the gift for Aragorn.[3] This giving held the function of a wedding gift from the family of the bride to the groom, foretelling his marriage to Arwen.[4]

The Elfstone was worn by Aragorn ever after, and as foretold, he took the name of Elessar, the Elfstone of the House of Elendil.[3] Thus, when he manifested his royal blood at Minas Tirith, he used Elessar, the Quenya word for Elfstone, as one of his royal names,[5] being crowned as King Elessar.[6]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

An early concept for the Elfstone was the Green Stone of Fëanor. This stone was given from Fëanor to his eldest son Maidros on his deathbed, and then later given from Maidros to Fingon.[7] Christopher Tolkien noted that this was likely his father "pondering the previous history of the Elessar", though this version of the story was not further expanded upon and likely dismissed in favor of the histories present in Unfinished Tales.

At one point during the development of "The Lord of the Rings", King Eärnur, was named King Elessar in an abandoned draft and manuscript.[8]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

The Elfstone is worn by Aragorn on his cloak. Although it is never identified in film, it matches the books description.

References

Gifts of Galadriel
Andúril's sheath · Elfstone · Boromir's belt · Merry and Pippin's belts · Sam's garden box · Hair of Galadriel · Bow of the Galadhrim · Phial of Galadriel