Three Rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the land of Mordor where shadows lie.

The Rings of Power were made by the Gwaith-i-Mírdain in Eregion. Their leader was Celebrimbor, son of Curufin, son of Fëanor. They were famous throughout Middle-earth for their craftsmanship.

In the Second Age a stranger called Annatar came to them. He helped them learn more, and make finer things. Elrond and Gil-galad warned against him, but the Mírdain paid no attention.

Three hundred years later, one of the first Rings of Power was made. Through the next few years, the elves and Annatar made sixteen rings.

Celebrimbor used his new knowledge to make three rings with no help from Annatar. These rings were Narya, Nenya and Vilya. Annatar also had a secret: he was really the Dark Lord Sauron, and he too had made a ring with no help from anyone else.

In the fires of Mount Doom he made the One Ring, the Ruling Ring. He put much of his own strength and power into it, and with it he could control all the others wearing Rings of Power. He did not know that Celebrimbor had made more though, and when he put on the Ruling Ring, the Elves were aware of him, and took off their rings, foiling his plan.

Sauron then waged a terrible war on Eregion and Celebrimbor was tortured and killed. Sauron found the Nine Rings of Men and the Seven Rings of Dwarves. The Nine he gave to kings of men, and they became Ringwraiths. He gave the Dwarves their rings for the same purpose, but they were far more resistant to his magic.

At the end of the Second Age, Sauron was defeated, and Isildur cut the One Ring off the Dark Lord's finger with the shards of his father's sword, Narsil. He chose to keep it, and it later betrayed him, and he was killed in the River Anduin. At that time the One Ring was lost and forgotten.

While the Ring was lost, the Elves could use theirs freely, and their lands prospered.

After the One Ring was destroyed in the War of the Ring, all the other Rings of Power lost their potency, and the Elves (who used them most) faded.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by Hathaldir