Celebrimbor forges the Three Elven Rings of Power
Event Type: Artifacts
Age: 2nd Age - Rings
The Three Rings are completed in Eregion.
The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Second Age
[The] Seven and the Nine were made with Sauron's aid, whereas the Three were made by Celebrimbor alone, with a different power and purpose.
Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn
Now the Elves made many rings....
But... As soon as Sauron set the One Ring upon his finger they were aware of him.... Then in anger and fear they took off their rings.... [The] Elves fled from him; and three of their rings they saved, and bore them away, and hid them.
Now these were the Three that had last been made, and they possessed the greatest powers. Narya, Nenya, and Vilya, they were named, the Rings of Fire, and of Water, and of Air, set with ruby and adamant and sapphire; and of all the Elven-rings Sauron most desired to possess them, for those who had them in their keeping could ward off the decays of time and postpone the weariness of the world. But Sauron could not discover them, for they were given into the hands of the Wise, who concealed them and never again used them openly while Sauron kept the Ruling Ring. Therefore the Three remained unsullied, for they were forged by Celebrimbor alone, and the hand of Sauron had never touched them; yet they also were subject to the One.
The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
But at Eregion great work began — and the Elves came their nearest to falling to 'magic' and machinery. With the aid of Sauron's lore they made Rings of Power ('power' is an ominous and sinister word in all these tales, except as applied to the gods).
The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay (i.e. 'change' viewed as a regrettable thing), the preservation of what is desired or loved, or its semblance — this is more or less an Elvish motive. But also they enhanced the natural powers of a possessor — thus approaching 'magic', a motive easily corruptible into evil, a lust for domination. And finally they had other powers, more directly derived from Sauron..., such as rendering invisible the material body, and making things of the invisible world visible.
The Elves of Eregion made Three supremely beautiful and powerful rings, almost solely of their own imagination, and directed to the preservation of beauty: they did not confer invisibility. But secretly..., Sauron made One Ring, the Ruling Ring that contained the powers of all the others, and controlled them, so that its wearer could see the thoughts of all those that used the lesser rings, could govern all that they did, and in the end could utterly enslave them. He reckoned, however, without the wisdom and subtle perceptions of the Elves. The moment he assumed the One, they were aware of it, and of his secret purpose, and were afraid. They hid the Three Rings, so that not even Sauron ever discovered where they were and they remained unsullied.
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 131 to Milton Waldman, late 1951?
Elena Tiriel 16Feb06, 23Feb06, 17Sep10