I'm reading "The Silmarillion" for the first time and I was confused to find out that the Silmarils were so small that all three of them put together can become part of a small necklace or a crown.

If that is true, and (as this answer suggests) they're the size of a diamond, then how could Gandalf:

  1. Find it falling from the Orthanc so easily or

  2. Carry it (at really high speeds of horseback riding) under his armpit without fear of losing it?

Or how could anyone use it to actually see something through it or to communicate with anyone (The Dark Lord)?

This seems to be impossible, a little bit mad (staring into a stone of a size of few fingers to see and talk through it) and a little bit contradictory (use the same stone in the same size both as jewellery and as a magical communicating device).

Exactly where did I go wrong or what am I missing in here?

  • 1
    trejeder - being held in Beren's fist, and fitting on a necklace worn by an elf doe s limit their size. But if we ignore that fitting on the Iron Crown of Morgoth would permit the Silmarils op to be bigger than pumpkins. In one version the Iron Crown fell from Morgoth's head onto its side and Beren had to use all his strength to roll it until a silmarlil was in in position for Beren to reach up and pry it off the crown. Dec 17 '15 at 3:37

He didn't find a Silmaril in Orthanc, he found a palantír:

Will you, Aragorn, take the Orthanc-stone and guard it? It is a dangerous charge.'

'Dangerous indeed, but not to all,' said Aragorn. 'There is one who may claim it by right. For this assuredly is the palantír of Orthanc from the treasury of Elendil, set here by the Kings of Gondor. Now my hour draws near. I will take it.'

The Two Towers Book IV Chapter 11: "The Palantír"

By the Third Age (when Lord of the Rings takes place), the three Silmarils are lost, considered beyond the reach of Elves, Men, and Orcs:

  • One is flying through the sky, borne by Eärendil
  • One is at the bottom of the sea, thrown there by Fëanor's son Maglor
  • The last is somewhere underground; Fëanor's son Maedhros flung it (and himself) into a crack in the Earth's crust

It's also worth noting that Gandalf himself didn't find it; strictly speaking Pippin did, and he only did that because Wormtongue flung it at Saruman and nearly decapitated Gandalf:

'Saruman, your staff is broken.' There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman's hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf's feet. 'Go!' said Gandalf. With a cry Saruman fell back and crawled away. At that moment a heavy shining thing came hurtling down from above. It glanced off the iron rail, even as Saruman left it, and passing close to Gandalf's head, it smote the stair on which he stood. The rail rang and snapped. The stair cracked and splintered in glittering sparks. But the ball was unharmed: it rolled on down the steps, a globe of crystal, dark, but glowing with a heart of fire. As it bounded away towards a pool Pippin ran after it and picked it up.

The Two Towers Book IV Chapter 10: "The Voice of Saruman"

The palantíri are significantly larger than the Silmarils were; we're told in Unfinished Tales that, at minimum, they were about a foot in diameter:

At smallest they were about a foot in diameter, but some, certainly the Stones of Osgiliath and Amon Sûl, were much larger and could not be lifted by one man.

Unfinished Tales Part 4 Chapter III: "The Palantíri"

If Wormtongue managed to huck it out of the tower with as much accuracy as he did, the Orthanc stone is probably sitting at the low end of that scale; so it's not quite so implausible that Pippin found it as easily as he did.

  • 4
    God, that was the stupidest mistake, I made this days (shame on me). Thank you for a great answer after all. Waiting to accept it.
    – trejder
    Dec 15 '15 at 19:55
  • 1
    @LAK I must have been editing that in while you were commenting; you're off by a few inches though Dec 15 '15 at 20:10
  • 1
    Story of my life :-).
    – LAK
    Dec 15 '15 at 20:11
  • 2
    @trejder It's a fairly understandable mistake: magical gem-like objects, considered super important by the main characters, made by Fëanor. They're very similar, especially if it's not fresh in your mind Dec 15 '15 at 20:13
  • 2
    @NathanK.Campbell That is speculated, but is almost certainly not true Dec 15 '15 at 21:24

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