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Made as early as the First Age; for the Longbeards, much knowledge of its making was lost after the fall of Erebor in III 27701
Known to have been made by the Longbeards (Durin's Folk) as well as the earlier Dwarves of the Blue Mountains
Made in Nogrod and Belegost during the First Age, and Erebor during the Third2


About this entry:

  • Updated 22 January 2024
  • This entry is complete


The extraordinary armour of the Dwarves

The mail created by the Dwarves to armour themselves and their allies. Historically this was made with great art and skill to be both strong and light. In battle, the Dwarves would wear their mail with fearsome masks, which afforded them great protection against their enemies. During the great battle of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Dwarves were the only warriors able to withstand the flames of the Dragon Glaurung, and they succeeded in driving him from the field.

Some years later, a suit of Dwarf-mail was given to Túrin while he fought for Nargothrond in his guise as the Mormegil, and he wore this with a gilded Dwarf-mask when he went to war against the Orcs. Much later in history, the Dwarves of Erebor created many coats of mail, described as being gilded and silvered, and considered to be impenetrable. Among these works was small piece of mail originally made for an Elf-prince, which went on to become the most famous of all pieces of Dwarf-mail. This mithril corslet was given to Bilbo Baggins, who returned with it to the Shire, and it was later worn by Frodo Baggins during the Quest of Mount Doom.

By the end of the Third Age, the skill and knowledge to make true Dwarf-mail had been greatly diminished, at least among the Dwarves of Durin's Folk. The survivors of Smaug's attack on Erebor were still skilful armourers, but the extraordinary arts of their forefathers were lost when the Dragon destroyed the Kingdom under the Mountain and decimated its smiths.



Thorin noted that the skill of his people, the Longbeards, to make Dwarf-mail was greatly diminished after the loss of Erebor. We know, however, that there were other clans of Dwarves in Middle-earth (it was made by the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains during the First Age, for instance). The knowledge of its making was therefore presumably not entirely lost, and Dwarves dwelling beyond the northwestern regions of Middle-earth could likely still produce true Dwarf-mail. Indeed, after the reestablishment of the Kingdom under the Mountain, it may be that the Longbeards were also able to regain this lost skill.


As the main city of Durin's Folk, and a place fabled for its smithwork in general, we can probably presume that Dwarf-mail was also produced in Khazad-dûm. Indeed, it would seem likely that great Dwarf-city was one of its major sources in the West of Middle-earth, but we have no specific record of mail being created there.


About this entry:

  • Updated 22 January 2024
  • This entry is complete

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