The lesser rings were forged by the elves as essays in the craft of ring making. These rings were made sometime between S.A. 1200, when Sauron came in disguise to Eregion, and 1500, when they began crafting the greater Rings of Power.

Tolkien's essay "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" in The Silmarillion gives the background of the making of the rings. Midway through the Second Age Sauron came in disguise as Annatar ("Lord of Gifts") to the Elven smiths of Eregion, who were led by Celebrimbor, and taught them the craft of forging magic rings. Tolkien writes that the Elves made many lesser rings as essays in the craft, but eventually with Sauron's assistance they forged the Seven and the Nine. The Three were made by Celebrimbor himself without Sauron's assistance; they remained unsullied by his touch.

What became of these lesser 'essay' rings?


  • What about Narya? Nevermind Narya is one of the three great rings. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 1:01
  • @JimmyShelter -Nope. These rings I'm asking about are the 'essay' rings made before the Rings of Power. That's why the question clearly states, "Beside the 20 Rings of Power". Before the 9,7,3 and 1 were constructed, there were 'essay' or 'practice' rings made while learning the craft. They were learning how to make the major rings and though these practice pieces did contained some magic they were only prototypes and not counted among the Rings of Power.
    – Morgan
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 23:41
  • @Morgan - from the other question: 'There is a clear distinction here between the 20 Rings of Power in the Ring Rhyme (the 7,9,3,and 1) and these other rings. What happened to the "lesser rings"?' - it is asking about the other rings.
    – user8719
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 23:51
  • @JimmyShelter -I stand corrected. That question does ask about the lesser essay rings.
    – Morgan
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


Apparently some/many of the essay rings were kept in Eregion for whatever reason. Maybe as templates or just sitting in a box at the back of a work bench.

Here's what happened to the lesser rings left in Eregion:

As soon as Sauron put on The One Ring, the bearers of the Three became aware of him and took them off in fear and anger. They defied Sauron and refused to use the Rings. Seeing this, Sauron attempted to claim the Rings to distribute them to other peoples; he waged War against the Elves, and although the Elves fought valiantly, Eregion was destroyed. Celembribor however managed to salvage the Three he created himself and secretly gave them to Gil-galad and Galadriel. During the Sack of Eregion, Sauron took Nine Rings and other lesser works from them; but he could not find the rest. Then Celebrimbor was put to torment, and he revealed about the Seven of them.

During the Third Age, four of the Seven were destroyed during the Dwarves' conflicts with Dragons, and after Sauron's return he recaptured the remaining three, the last from Thráin II. The Nine he took back from his Ringwraiths, and they were still in his possession at the time of the War of the Ring.

Nothing is known of the fate of the lesser rings, made as essays to the craft, but, according to Gandalf, still dangerous for mortals that might have found them.


This tells us that Sauron did seized some but not all of the essay/practice rings; At least a few of these 'low level magic' rings escaped his clutches and were still floating about under the radar so to speak.

  • The first quoted paragraph here was sourced from Unfinished Tales, History of Galadriel and Celeborn, section headed "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn".
    – user8719
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 11:53
  • @JimmyShelter -Is that good or bad? I'm just trying to find the correct answer as close to 'A' canon as possible.
    – Morgan
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 16:32
  • 1
    Just citing an authorial reference to support your answer. I think UT is the best you're going to get; the info in LotR is very scant, and Rings of Power doesn't have the division into nine that Sauron took first, then seven that he tortured out of Celebrimbor: UT is the only source for that, and I for one consider it good enough. :)
    – user8719
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 18:10
  • 3
    You know what sucks is that a lot of these don't really have canon answers, except for the fact that Gandalf says they are dangerous to mortals if they found them... Which is to say there are some around in existence most likely. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 18:29

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