Jesse Brauner

Device representing the Silmarils, three objects from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

Known primarily as the author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien also created a number of original illustrations for his works. Among these illustrations were heraldic devices for several of his characters. According to the website Tolkien Gateway, these images appeared on calendars and book jackets in the 1970's, shortly after the author's death. Although the full symbolism behind many of them is unknown, certain details can be speculated upon: This particular device does not, in fact, represent an individual, but rather a series of objects that played crucial roles in early days of Middle Earth.

The three white stars enclosed within circles represent the Silmarils, three immensely beautiful and magical jewels forged by the legendary elvish craftsman Fëanor, and which glowed with brilliant light. The creation of these jewels was partly inspired by the Two Trees of Valinor; these enormous trees were created by the Valar – angelic beings roughly corresponding to gods or angels in Tolkien’s mythology – and, glowing with gold and silver light, were the precursors to the sun and moon. The trees are represented visually in the background of this device.