"In his hand was a white rod with a golden knob."
Since the earliest days of Númenor, it had been the tradition for royalty and nobility among the Dúnedain to bear a rod or wand as a mark of office. The Kings and Queens of Númenor bore a royal Sceptre, while lesser nobles carried various rods according to their rank. In Gondor, the Stewards bore a rod that was white in colour, but with a knob of gold. Exactly when this tradition began is unknown: the first mention of the white wand is in the hand of Steward Cirion, who held it aloft when he swore an Oath in the year III 2510.
The rod was destroyed1 more than five hundred years later, during the War of the Ring, when Denethor broke it and burned the fragments in his death pyre. After Denethor's death, a similar wand was taken up by his son Faramir, and after Aragorn's coronation Faramir surrendered that wand to the new King. Aragorn immediately returned it, thus confirming Faramir as his royal Steward. So the white wand continued as a symbol of the Stewardship into the Fourth Age.
It is not established with certainty that the same particular rod was in use continuously for these five centuries, and it is quite conceivable that the ceremonial wand was replaced any number of times during this period. Indeed, the fact that Faramir was able to find a new staff of office so soon after his father destroyed his own rod suggests that a replacement was kept ready, or at least could be made with little effort.
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