The light of the Silmarils came from the two trees made by Yavanna: Telperion the Silver Tree, and Laurelin the Gold tree. Feanor fashioned the Silmarils in order to capture the light of the two Trees. My question is two-fold: First, why did Feanor create 3 Silmarils? It seems more natural to make 2 since that is number of the trees. Secondly, is there any reference in canon as to what color of light each of the three Silmarils emitted?

  • 1
    There was probably a mythological reason for having three silmarils. All I can find about colour is "mingling of the light", so maybe a very gold-tinted silver? Silver-tinted gold? I'm not aware of anything else in the book Nov 13, 2014 at 7:18
  • Probably the main reason for three Silmarils was their ultimate fate. One was retaken by Luthien, deemed worthy and ended up in the Sky. Feanor's suns, bound by their oath, got the other two and were burned by them. These two were thrown into the Earth, and the Ocean. One for Air, one for Water, one for Earth.
    – Oldcat
    Mar 17, 2016 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


A lot of things in Tolkien come in threes.

Three kindreds of the Elves, three houses of the Edain, three Hobbit subtypes, three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, three times that Huan was allowed to speak, three joinings of Elves and Men, three Ages of the Sun, and so on.

I'm not aware of any particular reason why there are three Silmarils and not two or four, but I'm also not aware of any need for such a reason. Perhaps Feanor only had enough raw materials to make three? It could be as simple as that.

Each Silmaril contained the blended light of both Trees, so trying to make a "one Silmaril per Tree" connection is a flawed approach to begin with.

This also answers your question about their colour; as the chapter Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor notes:

And the inner fire of the Silmarils Feanor made of the blended light of the Trees of Valinor...

When we jump back to Of the Beginning of Days we learn what colour this blended light was:

Thus in Valinor twice every day there came a gentle hour of softer light when both trees were faint and their gold and silver beams were mingled.

So therefore the light emitted by the Silmarils was blended gold and silver.

  • 5
    You should also note, from Of the Silmarils..., the following passage: "they rejoiced in light and received it and gave it back in hues more marvellous than before" - so if you shone (e.g) red light on a Silmaril you would get red light reflected back "in hues more marvellous than before".
    – user8719
    Nov 13, 2014 at 7:59
  • 6
    And also the following from the Galadriel material in Unfinished Tales: "the Eldar said that the light of the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, had been snared in her tresses. Many thought that this saying first gave to Fëanor the thought of imprisoning and blending the light of the Trees that later took shape in his hands as the Silmarils".
    – user8719
    Nov 13, 2014 at 8:11
  • 2
    I always thought that the 1st silmaril captured the light when the 1st tree's light was at its brightest, the 2nd silmaril captured the light when the 2nd tree was at its brightest and the 3rd silmaril captured the light when the blended light of both trees was at its brightest. (During that short period of time each day when they were both shining)
    – Dennis_E
    Nov 13, 2014 at 13:10
  • 6
    @Dennis_E - it's a nice theory but there's no support for it in the texts.
    – user8719
    Nov 13, 2014 at 13:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.