Things of Middle-earth
Other Names: The Elfstone
Description:Tolkien has what his son described as a "very rough manuscript" on the Elessar. It gave alternate versions as to whether there was one Elessar, or two; and made it clear that the true story was unknown.
All information in this entry comes from Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch IV, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, 'The Elessar'.
First Age Origins:
The original Elessar was made in Gondolin.
In Tolkien's first wiriting of the story it was made by "a jewel-smith named Enerdhil, the greatest of that craft among the Noldor after the death of Fëanor. Enerdhil loved all green things that grew, and his greatest joy was to see the sunlight through the leaves of trees."
Christopher Tolkien notes in his commentary "Enerdhil appears in no other writing; and the concluding words of the text show that Celebrimbor was to displace him as the maker of the Elessar in Gondolin."
The Elessar was given by its maker to Idril, and from her went to Eärendil and sailed with him to Valinor.
"And it came into his heart to make a jewel within which the clear light of the sun should be imprisoned, but the jewel should be green as leaves.
In the version where there are two Elessars, the second was "more subtle and clear … than that of Enerdhil, but yet its light had less power," however, "Radiant nonetheless was the Elessar of Celebrimbor." It was set "within a great brooch of silver in the likeness of an eagle rising upon outspread wings."
"... For it is said that those who looked through this stone saw things that were withered or burned healed again or as they were in the grace of their youth, and that the hands of one who held it brought to all that they touched healing from hurt."
Idril left the stone to Eärendil saying: "The Elessar I leave with thee, for there are grievous hurts to Middle-earth which thou maybe shalt heal. But to none other shalt thou deliver it." The narrative goes on "at Sirion's Haven there were many hurts to heal both of Men and Elves, and of beasts that fled thither from the horror of the North; and while Eärendil dwelt there they were healed and prospered, and all things were for a while green and fair."
When Olórin gives the returned stone to Galadriel, he tells her that she may use it and "and for a while you shall make the land of your dwelling the fairest place in Middle-earth."
The stone made in the Third Age has similar properties: "Wielding the Elessar all things grew fair about Galadriel, until the coming of the Shadow to the Forest."
Third Age Origins:
Tolkien writes: "of this two things are said, though which is true only those Wise could say who now are gone."
The first version is that Olórin carried the Elessar back across the sea and gave it to Galadriel as a token of the Valar's care for Middle-earth, telling her that it was from Yavanna. It was made clear to Galadriel that "it is not for you to possess. You shall hand it on when the time comes. For before you grow weary, and at last forsake Middle-earth one shall come who is to receive it, and his name shall be that of the stone: Elessar he shall be called."
The alternate story credits Celebrimbor with the making of a second Elessar specifically for Galadriel, who grieved for "leaves fall and flowers fade that I had loved," and yearned for "trees and grass about me that do not die." Celebrimbor then "made the greatest of his works (save the Three Rings only). And it is said that more subtle and clear was the green gem that he made than that of Enerdhil, but yet its light had less power."
In this version the Elessar comes to Aragorn in a less deliberate fashion: "But afterwards when Nenya, chief of the Three," was sent to her by Celebrimbor, she needed it (as she thought) no more, and she gave it to Celebrían her daughter, and so it came to Arwen and to Aragorn who was called Elessar."
Contributors: Lyllyn 4.24.04; added Elfstone: Elena Tiriel 31Jul04