Among all the rings of power, the 3 rings possessed by Elves are special in that they (unlike Men's and Dwarves' and The one) were made by Elves and not Sauron.


As in,

  • Were they made before Sauron conceived of the idea of making the Rings and controlling them with the One?

  • Were they made before Sauron knew HOW to make Rings of power, by Elves on his request so that he could learn the process?

  • Were they made because Elves didn't trust him and preferred to roll their own modules instead of downloading from CPAN?

  • Other?

Canon supported answers only, please.

  • 2
    I'm pretty sure it's the roll-your-own option, but I'll look into it now that I've found a copy of The Silmarillion
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 2:34

3 Answers 3


Looking at the LotR wikia article on Celebrimbor, it appears he made all the rings, the sixteen under the guidance of Sauron, and the Three in secret, on his own.

During the Second Age, [Celebrimbor] lived in the Elvish realm of Eregion. Under the guidance and instruction of the Dark Lord Sauron, who feigned good intentions, calling himself Annatar, the "Lord of Gifts" — Celebrimbor openly made sixteen rings: seven for the dwarves, and nine for men. But secretly, without Annatar's knowledge, Celebrimbor created the three Rings of the Elves, the greatest and fairest of the Rings of Power. These rings were thus free of Annatar's corrupting influence.

So, it basically was that Celebrimbor wanted to roll his own kernel rings.

  • 3
    Doesn't this contradict LotR, when someone (Galadriel?) says that by destroying the One Ring, all that was good that was made with the Three would also be diminished? Or am I misremembering this part? I think the Three are also affected by the One Ring.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 17:23
  • 2
    The 3 rings were still linked to the One Ring, just not in the same way or to the same degree as the other 16. This is why the elves took off their rings as soon as their figured out what Sauron was doing.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 14:36
  • 4
    @AndresF. The three rings had the same blueprints, only Sauron wasn't on the site to oversee their production and poke around with his corrupting mojo. I guess Celebrimbor should've audited the blueprints too... Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 8:21
  • 6
    Celebrimbor forked the kernel, but the original kernel still came from Linus^H^H^H^H^HSauron.
    – user8719
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 16:06
  • 11
    'I cannot read the fiery letters.' I gasped, gazing at the disc, from whose inner ring shone a series of tiny digits, piercing and yet remote. 'There are few who can,' he said. 'The letters are in Hex, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Microsoft, which I shall not utter here...' Gandalf withdrew it from the microwave. 'It is part of a longer licensing agreement long known to the cyber-elves: 19 copies, shared private key, I-C-U-NO-SA (invisible, closed-source, Nazgul-operated, do not share alike, all derivative works subject to the domination and control of the original wearer)
    – Ber
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 8:38

As far as I can tell in canon, the Three were created without Sauron's influence more because of an accident of timing rather than any conscious decision on Celebrimbor's behalf.

We definitely know that the Three were the last to be made:

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. (Of Rings of Power, Silmarillion)

We also know that Sauron parted company from Celembrimbor and the Elven smiths, during which time he forged the One Ring:

Sauron himself departed from Eregion about the year 1500, after the Mírdain had begun the making of the Rings of Power. Now Celebrimbor was not corrupted in heart or faith, but had accepted Sauron as what he posed to be; and when at length he discovered the existence of the One Ring he revolted against Sauron, and went to Lórinand to take counsel once more with Galadriel. They should have destroyed all the Rings of Power at this time, "but they failed to find the strength." Galadriel counselled him that the Three Rings of the Elves should be hidden, never used, and dispersed, far from Eregion where Sauron believed them to be. (Concerning Galadriel and Celembrimbor, Unfinished Tales)

Given these two facts, I think we can deduce that Celembrimbor crafted the Three after Sauron had left, in conjunction with Sauron's crafting of the One Ring. As a result Sauron had no influence on their crafting. Prior to Sauron's use of the One (although possibly after the crafting), Celembrimbor discovered the truth and helped disperse the Three amongst the Elves.


Sauron as others have said, had nothing to do in the actual forging of the three rings, but their power and capabilities are intertwined with the one ring. The elves took off their rings while Sauron possessed the One.

This is my understanding -

  • All of the rings were made, in part, with Sauron's knowledge and techniques, incorporating his desire to control and dominate
  • A great deal of Sauron's knowledge and power was incorporated into the One Ring
  • Certain types of knowledge are in themselves corrupting, hence why Saruman's great study and desire to emulate the creation of rings led him to fall under the influence of Sauron and the One Ring

Some part of the "power" of the rings is blended with Sauron's actual or desired "power". Although Celebrimbor remained true, he used the techniques of the enemy, so establishing the hold of the One over the Three.

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