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I was reading through the Silmarillion and came up with this question:

Exactly how big were the Silmarils?

I don't see even a single reference to their exact size. The references that I do see say an elf could carry and throw one easily, which is pretty vague.

Another reference says that Morgoth carried all three in his hand and put all three in his Iron Crown. However, as a Valar he may have been much larger than human when incorporated on Arda.

For some reason, I'd always thought each of them was fist sized, but I can't say why.

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    The size of Morgoth seemed to vary a lot, sometimes within the same passage such as the duel of Fingolfin with Morgoth. where Morgoth seems to be about twelve feet and 180 feet tall within a few paragraphs. In one version the Iron Crown falls from Morgoth's head and lies on it's side. Beren uses all his strength to roll the crown until one of the Silmarils is low enough for him to reach and pry off. This implies the Iron Crown is at least twelve feet in diameter!. Dec 17, 2015 at 3:49
  • I'll re-read the duel again, where is the version with the huge crown?
    – SteveED
    Dec 18, 2015 at 1:21

2 Answers 2

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Feanor, the creator, wore them bound to his forehead. I could see them as pear-shaped, suitable for wearing in a necklace as was done later, or mounted on a headband. Consider the Taylor-Burton diamond; 3 of those would fit easily in a large man's hand and since the Silmarils emitted their own light, they would be quite spectacular.

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  • I give you extra points for a great visual reference in the Taylor-Burton diamond necklace.
    – SteveED
    Mar 9, 2012 at 23:15
  • Can you give us a text reference to Feanor wearing them on his forehead?
    – MadTux
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:36
  • Let me get back to you on that.
    – ohmi
    May 3, 2013 at 16:23
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They are small enough for a man to completely enclose in their hand, as Beren did after he prised one from Morgoth's crown:

As [Beren] closed it in his hand, the radiance welled through his living flesh, and his hand became as a shining lamp

The Silmarillion - Of Beren and Luthien

As for the text where Feanor wears them on his forhead:

But These [Melkor] was not suffered to approach; for though at great feasts Feanor would wear them, blazing on his brow, at other times they were guarded close, locked in the deep chambers of his hoard in Tirion.

The Silmarillion - Of the Silmarils

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  • Thanks for looking that up. The two quotes together make me wonder about heat dissipation; "blazing" and "radiance" probably does not imply "hot". But isn't there is another quote much later when last kids of Feanor finally get to hold them they get burned?
    – ohmi
    May 9, 2013 at 16:24
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    The scorching is a virtue that Varda gave them: "And Varda hallowed the Silmarills, so that thereafter no mortal flesh,no hands unclean,nor anything of evil will might touch them,but it was scorched and withered..."
    – S. Albano
    May 11, 2013 at 6:42

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