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Thread: Fate of the silmarils?

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I'm reading through The Hobbit with my 8 year old daughter at the moment (taking it in turns to read paragraphs). And a thought occurred to me... Could the Arkenstone be Maedhros' Silmaril? Correct me if i'm wrong, but it's never explicitly stated where exactly he threw himself into that fiery chasm, only that he threw himself into one. So knowing the affect that the Silmarils have on people who behold them, it sounds plausible in the least that the Arkenstone could be this Silmaril, having been carried through magma channels until finally settling and being set into the stone beneath Erebor. Certainly the elves seem very keen to recover it as well, this could be another hint as to its true nature?

Personally I don't think there's any doubt it is. It makes perfect sense.

However I think there's already an extensive thread on this. I suggest posting in that one to bring it back up, it's a great topic!

I think the proof that the Armenstone is not a Silmaril is the fact that the Dwarves were able to cut and polish the raw stone into a faceted globe. PJ has changed it into a lossenge shape, different to Tolkien's description. The Silmarils were harder than Ademant or Diamond and no power on Earth was capable of harming them.

Thinking of this fact. I wonder what would have happened to Ungolient if she had eaten them? I think that they would have destroyed her from within and consumed the great consumer.

While this is true, there is compelling evidence either way.

You are absolutely right Brego, however I see it a little differently. For one, what else could it have been? Over 13,000-15,000 years, there are no other records of shiny gems that radiate light other than the Silmarils. We also know one is buried in the earth. On that note, dwarves have crafting skills beyond any of the other children thanks to Aule. Is it not impossible that over all those years they had developed a way to shape the stone? You can curb a gem and still be unable to crack it. You can do the same with teeth. For instance some people have a "jagged" tooth for whatever reason that can cause various problems. So even though a dentist can't chisel away at it to cut it in half, they can curb the edges just slightly to make it more rounded.

So I don't think it's too improbable the dwarves were capable of this, particularly if they found something like the Arkenstone and put all their effort into mastering its form.

But you also have one of the best arguments as to why it's not a silmaril, so it could go either way.

Oh and with Ungoliant, I think it would have. After all it destroyed Carcharoth when he swallowed it. But Carcharoth probably would've stared at the Two Trees in awe, whereas Ungoliant couldn't wait to gobble them up. So we know that she can in fact consume light. However since it was basically unbreakable, maybe it would've worked differently in this case and she'd have it.

The Arkenstone is also too big to be a silmaril.

Glorfindel do you know where it mentions the size of either the silmarils or the arkenstone?


I highly suggest reading this thread on another Tolkien forum. Since we can't post links, google search New evidence for the Arkenstone-Silmaril case. It's on the barrowdowns forum. Some interesting points brought up for both sides. I think the "for" evidence outweighs the "against" evidence though...

Descriptions in the Silmarillion state that the Silmarils were worn by Freanor on his brow at great occasions. Given this description I would expect that they could not have been bigger than an inch or two in diameter as if they were bigger they would have been too large and heavy for this purpose. Also Earendil wore a Silmaril on his brow on board Vingilot and Beren was able to enclose one in his hand after rescuing one from Melkor's crown.

The Arkenstone is described by Tolkien as being as big a Bilbo's hand. I can't imagine having one of these let alone three mounted on my brow.

It's a noble and romantic idea that the Arkenstone is a Silmaril, however I think it's a natural Gem, perhaps left by Aule for his Children to find beneath Erebor.

which part of bilbo's hand? the palm? or his hand span? if it's his palm then it's likely only 3 inches across at most, being a halfling after all.


so if a fully grown man were able to hold a silmaril in an enclosed fist, surely they could also hold a stone that's as big as a hobbits hand? bearing in mind i (a fully grown man) can wrap my hand completely around all 3 of my kids hands (their age ranges from 8, to 11, and 13).

I think for his Hobbit tale Tolkien needed a gem that stood out, but I agree with Brego and Glorfindel that the Arkenstone is not a Silmaril.

The Arkenstone began its literary life as the Gem of Girion, a gem given by Girion to the Dwarves who then (as I interpret the description anyway) further fashioned it so that if reflected light as well, or 'better' reflected light at least, but I think notably, in this initial version the gem still shone with an inner light.

I think Tolkien was fond of this notion although he used it sparingly enough: the 'Feanorean lamps' shone with their own light (although possibly made by Feanor too, given this name in The Children of Hurin. In the updated Fall of Gondolin they are said to be made in Aman but not who made them).

And in my opinion the Elendilmir (Isildur's) possibly shone of its own light as well, as the Orcs still feared it upon Isildur's brow after night had fallen; and when Isildur put on the One it was said that its light could not be 'quenched' and it then shone like a red star (I note also the shining flower in Smith of Wootton Major for example).

Also the Silmarils were hallowed by Varda so that I don't think Smaug would have been able to lie on a Silmaril without suffering torment. The argument for the case has often enough been the name 'Arkenstone' itself, but yet I think that is explained easily enough; and anyway I see no great literary purpose here for (in my opinion) undermining the following:

'And thus it came to pass that the Silmarils found their long homes: one in the airs of heaven, and one in the fires of the heart of the world, and one in the deep waters.'

'[...] And the Vanyar returned beneath their white banners, and were borne in triumph to Valinor; but their joy in victory was diminished, for they returned without the Silmarils from Morgoth's crown, and they knew that those jewels could not be found or brought together again unless the world be broken and remade.'
With respect to the size of the Arkenstone: 'His [Bilbo's] small hand would not close about it, for it was a large and heavy gem; but he lifted it, shut his eyes, and put it in his pocket.'
I also see no reason for a Silmaril to be 'cut and fashioned' by Dwarves, which is why, if I recall correctly, the person in the mentioned thread (at Barrow Downs) suggests that maybe the Dwarves cut stuff around the Silmaril to reveal it, which is a somewhat strained argument in my opinion.
I think the easy interpretation is that the Dwarves made this gem, and for me a Silmaril did not need more fashioning even if it was possible.

The fate of the silmarils were in the air, water and fire, three of the four elements of Arda. The Arkenstone may have represented the element earth. This is similar to the rings of power. Three elven rings represented air, water and fire. Durin's ring may have been the ring of earth. (it's pure speculation) It would fit with the Dwarves in relation to the earth element.

Also as I recall, the Dwarves found the stone and shaped it into a jewel. The silmarils were already made into jewels by Feanor.

Ah, but think about it. The Silmaril of Mahedros was cast into a 'Chasm filled with Fire'. now this could refer to a volcano. what if Eribor was said volcano, but was, by the time the dwarves discovered the Arkenstone, extinct. with all the magma cooled, it would basically be rock, e.g. basalt or granite, and the Silmaril/ Arkenstone would be trapped inside.
Ah but what if by a 'Chasm filled with Fire', Tolkien meant a volcano. If Eribor was originally a volcano, and the Silmaril of Mahedros was thrown in, then for the dwarves to be able to build a kingdom in/ under the mountain, it would have to be extinct. With the magma cooled, the Silmaril would simply be trapped inside. Its fate would technically be classed as fire, as it was thrown into a volcano, yet it would be recoverable by chance, mining in the correct spot, yet not be found again, technically as it was not known to be a Silmaril.