Do you dream of exploring Middle Earth? Have you read the works of J.R.R Tolkein front to back? Can you speak Elvish? Have you seen every movie ten times over? Then this post is for you. We’ve compiled a guide to the famous 20 rings (including the one ring to rule them all) from the even more famous trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings. But first, a crash course for those who don’t know what the hell we’re talking about (because this article will make no sense otherwise…)
Why are there so many books and movies about some ring?
Because the story is awesome! The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkein and later brought to life on the silver screen by Peter Jackson. It details the perilous journey of Frodo Baggins and his entourage as they try to destroy a ring belonging to the dark lord Sauron, which he needs to fully harness his evil power and conquer Middle Earth (the land where everyone lives). But there’s a little more to it than that.
Basically in the LOTR universe there are three main races; Men, Dwarves and Elves. There are also hobbits and many others, but let’s not confuse things. Years before the story begins, Sauron created 20 ‘Rings of Power’; three were to be worn by Elves, seven by Dwarves, and nine by Men. The final ring was for Sauron himself, and was intended to control the other rings and subvert their wearers to his power. You may know this famous line from a verse in the book;
‘One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them. One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.’
Very long story short, Sauron’s finger and his ring was cut off during a battle. He lost his physical form, and the ring went astray. After thousands of years Frodo’s uncle Bilbo found it, and it was later entrusted to Frodo to destroy – that’s where the books and movies we all know start off.
What do the rings look like?
There doesn’t seem to be any indication of what the nine rings of the men and the seven rings of the dwarves looked like. The men’s rings were the only ones that worked according to Sauron’s plan; the nine men who wore them fell under his power and became scary creatures called Nazguls. Once that happened, it’s assumed that Sauron kept their nine rings in his possession. The seven rings of the Dwarves had no such effect. Four ended up being destroyed by dragons, and Sauron got a hold of the remaining three after the dwarves showed no signs of submitting to his power… The One Rings and the three rings belonging to the Elves, however, are given a little more elaboration.
The One Ring
It is specifically stated in the books that the One Ring was the only one of the Rings of Power that was completely plain and unadorned. It’s a thick, heavy, plain yellow gold ring. BUT. As you’ll know all too well if you’ve watched the movies, it reveals an invisible elvish inscription of the above verse when heated up. While the other rings could be destroyed with dragon fire, the only way to destroy the One Ring by throwing it into the fires of the volcano Mount Doom, where it was forged by Sauron. So if you were thinking of a plain gold band for an engagement or wedding ring, you’re already rocking the LOTR look. However, such is the huge fanbase of the movie that there are a wealth of inscribed rings available – including exact replicas of the one used in the movies.
The first of the Elf rings, Narya is described as the Ring of Fire and is a yellow gold band set with a large ruby. In the movies, it’s presented as an oval ruby in a rose-cut style, set in a diamond shaped setting. The yellow gold band has a scroll motif along its centre. Narya and the other Elf rings were not created or touched by Sauron but by an apprentice of his. When the Elves found out about Sauron’s intentions they hid them from him, so they were never truly ‘evil’ rings. The elves then eventually gave Narya to Gandalf in the hopes that its power would help him in his mission to get Frodo to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. An exquisite choice for brides to be seeking a touch of drama and power in their ring.
Nenya, also known as The White Ring, the Ring of Adamant, or the Ring of Water, is described in the books as ‘made of mithril and set with a white stone of adamant’. In the real world, we reckon that translates to platinum and diamond. It’s worn by the elf woman Galadriel, who sometimes struggles with the evil power it could wield. It has a large, intricate design typical of the elves’ style and is presented in a star or floral shape, with the ‘adamant’ underneath emitting a beautiful ethereal glow. The metal winds around to create petals and stunning floral-inspired details. In the books, Galadriel uses the rings powers of concealment and protection to build and sustain her refuge, Lothlorien. Perfect for brides in search of an engagement ring with a romantic, otherworldly vibe.
Known as the Blue Ring, the Ring of Sapphire or the Ring of Air, Vilya was the third and final of the three Elf Rings of Power. Although considered the most powerful of the three, Vilya is also the smallest. It features an oval shaped dark blue sapphire in a yellow gold band, which features a wavy inlay of a matching dark blue colour. Vilya is worn by Elrond, who presides over the Elf realm of Rivendell. Since Elrond is a male elf, this makes an admirable choice for men looking for engagement rings, but is also perfectly styled to suit women too. Vilya’s powers are not specifically mentioned, but it’s hinted that it can help heal the wounded and may have some control over the elements.
The Ring of Aragorn
It’s not one of the Rings of Power, but it’s a seriously beautiful piece that we get a good look at in the movies. Aragorn’s ring is known as the Ring of Barahir, and was given to him by Elrond after he learned of his true lineage (i.e that he was in fact heir to the throne of Gondor). Aragorn later gave the ring to Elrond’s daughter Arwen, his true love, making them betrothed to one another. The centre of the ring features a marquise shaped emerald, but it’s the setting that’s really outstanding. It’s intricately worked to depict two serpents with emerald eyes, one devouring the other and both supporting a crown of golden flowers. Aragorn can be seen wearing it throughout the movies. If your man wants a wedding band that’s different to anything else around, this is the perfect choice.