When Sauron's making of the One Ring was revealed, Celebrimbor sent two of the Three Rings - Vilya and Narya - north to Gil-galad for safekeeping. Gil-galad in turn gave Narya the Red Ring, also called the Third Ring, to Círdan the Shipwright, and so it is to Círdan that the title 'Guardian of the Third Ring' is given in records. Círdan held the Ring for nearly three thousand years, but when the ships carrying the Istari arrived out of the West, he chose to pass the Ring on to one of the Wizards, whom he perceived as being wiser and more far-seeing than the others. Thus Mithrandir, also called Gandalf, became the Guardian of the Third Ring for the latter part of the Third Age.
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