[Originally posted on March 8th, 2015]
In the earliest times of the world, there was no Sun and Moon. The Valar first created enormous lamps, which Morgoth subsequently destroyed. They then grew two enormous, luminous trees, named Laurelin and Telperion. These produced their own light as their leaves and sap glowed with gold and silver light (respectively). One of the greatest Elves of that time, Fëanor, took the light from these trees and made three gems unlike any others made before or since; these were called the Silmarils. They too produced their own light and would forever preserve the light of the original Trees of Valinor, because Morgoth soon invaded Aman and destroyed the trees with the help of Ungoliant, the ancient ancestor of Shelob the spider. He also stole the Silmarils at this time and set the stage for the history of Arda to be forever bound to those gems. They were so important that Tolkien refers to the entire epic of his mythology as the story of the Jewels and Rings.