The magical rings made by Celebrimbor and the Mírdain of Eregion in the middle years of the Second Age, made unwittingly under the secret guidance and tutelage of Sauron. Most famous among them were the Three Rings of the Elves, Narya, Nenya and Vilya, the Rings of Fire, Water and Air. These were the only three made outside the influence of Sauron, though they too fell under the power of his One Ring.
After Sauron made his Ring, he invaded the lands of the Mírdain for the recovery of the Elven-rings. His armies overwhelmed Eregion, and he gathered most of the rings to himself, but four of the Great Rings were lost to him. One (later known as the Ring of Thrór) was held by Durin III, King of the impregnable Dwarf-city of Khazad-dûm in the Misty Mountains. Nenya the Ring of Water was carried eastward from Eregion by Galadriel, who crossed the mountains and settled in the land of Lórien. Narya and Vilya had already been sent into the north by Celebrimbor, and were in the safekeeping of High King Gil-galad.
Galadriel kept her Elven-ring throughout the later years of the Second Age, and the duration of the Third. Gil-galad gave his rings to lords in his service - Narya to Círdan at the Grey Havens, and Vilya to Elrond, who used it to found a haven of his own against Sauron in the midst of Eriador - Imladris, that Men came to call Rivendell. Círdan, too, passed on his Ring, to a Grey stranger who sailed into his havens out of the West, who would come to be known in later legends as Mithrandir, or Gandalf.
With the destruction of Sauron's One Ring in the last years of the Third Age, all the other Elven-rings lost their power, including the Three. Those who had borne their power through the ages since their forging left Middle-earth together on the White Ship: Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf, the Keepers of the Three Rings.
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