The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Known to have been made in Eregion (II 750 - II 1697)1
Used prominently on the West-gate of Moria
Other names


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  • Updated 25 June 2013
  • This entry is complete


Shimmering ithildin

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A substance with extraordinary properties, created from mithril. It was only visible in reflected starlight or moonlight, and even then would only appear when brought to life by one who knew the appropriate invocation. It was used, for example, to trace the secret characters and images on the West-gate of Moria.

'Starmoon' is an approximately literal translation of the Elvish word ithildin (where ithil means 'moon', and 'din' means 'small, faint star'). The translation, however, loses some of the subtlety of the original name, because the root-word behind Elvish din can also refer to faint silver beams, and glinting, sparkling light, and these shades of meaning also clearly have a bearing on the name chosen for this magical material.



Nothing we know of this substance would restrict it to the Elves of Eregion, and so its secret was perhaps known to other Elves at other times. Nonetheless, the friendship between Eregion and Khazad-dûm (which provided the vital ingredient of mithril) suggests at least a strong association with the Elves of that land.

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