I expect that many of you have been wondering what ''silmarillion'' means. Well, we come now to that moment in the history of the Eldar which marks the highest achievement of all their arts and lore. For Fëanor bethought him of how he might preserve unsullied the blended Light of the Two Trees of Valinor forever, and he began a secret labour - calling upon all his subtlety of skill, his lore, his extraordinary gifts, and his power, and at last he made the Silmarils, the three ''perfect jewels.'' Tolkien describes them thus:
''Like the crystal of diamonds it [the substance of which they were made] appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda. Yet that crystal was to the Silmarils but as is the body to the Children of Ilúvatar: the house of its inner fire, that is within it and yet in all parts of it, and is its life. And the inner fire of the Silmarils Fëanor made of the blended light of the Trees of Valinor, which lives in them yet...Therefore even in the darkness of the deepest treasury the Silmarils of their own radiance shone like the stars of Varda; and yet, as were they indeed living things, they rejoiced in light and received it and gave it back in hues more marvellous than before.'' (The Silmarillion, Chapter VII).
All in Valinor, Valar, Maiar and Eldar alike, were filled with wonder at this most marvellous work of Fëanor, and Varda hallowed the jewels so that thereafter, nothing evil could touch them; and Mandos foretold that the destiny of Arda, earth, wind and sea, lay locked in the jewels. But Melkor was filled with a fierce lust for the Silmarils, and the very memory of their light was a torment; and therefore he sought in his inner counsels how he might kill Fëanor, destroy the House of Finwë, ruin the Blessed Realm and permanently estrange the Eldar from the Valar. And so with cunning, lies and evil whisperings, Melkor poisoned the peace of Valinor. He would walk among the Eldar, conjuring visions in their minds of the vast realms that they might otherwise have ruled in the Outer Lands, had the Valar not brought them to the narrow land of Valinor. Oft would those that hearkened to his words recall afterwards that the ideas arose fresh and original in their own minds. Melkor told them that the Valar had brought them to Valinor because they feared the Eldar, saying that had they been left in Middle-earth to themselves, the beauty and power of the Quendi would have been too much for them to govern.
In those days the Elves first heard of the Coming of Men. The Valar had told them nothing of the designs of God in this matter, and Melkor used this to his advantage, saying that the silent Valar would have the Elves supplanted of their just-deserves in Middle-earth. Melkor himself knew little of Men, for he was so engrossed in his own obscenities in the Great Music that he gave small heed to the Third Theme of God.
And so, the peace of Valinor was ruined, even before the Valar were aware. The Noldor, those Elves who gave especial heed to Melkor (profitting much from his counsel), indeed began to murmur against them. Fiercest burned the pride of the elder sons of Finwë, Fëanor and Fingolfin, being both jealous of eachothers' rights and honours. Fëanor indeed began the forging of vast armories, and first spoke out openly against the Valar, saying that he would depart from Valinor and deliver the Noldor from thraldom. There was unrest in Tirion, and breaking in upon the King's council, Fëanor drew his sword upon Fingolfin, and Fëanor was brought to the judgement of the Valar. Many were brought to that judgement, and speaking before Mandos, the Noldor told of all that they knew, and at last the root was laid bare and the malice of Melkor was revealed, and straight away Tulkas went to seize him. But since Fëanor had threatened his brother in the courts of the King, he was exiled, and with him went his Seven Sons, and Finwë the High King.
Now Melkor, knowing that he was at last revealed, hid himself and fled invisibly from place to place, until at last he came to Formenos, the fortress built by Fëanor in the north of Valinor, and he came to the doors and spoke long with him. Ever he urged Fëanor to his former thought of flight from the West, and he exerted the fullness of his cunning upon him. But his cunning overeached his aim, and he said: ''Here is a strong place, and well guarded; but think not that the Silmarils will lie safe in any treasury within the realm of the Valar!'' And Fëanor, his mind free at last, perceived Melkor's desire for the Silmarils, and he cursed Melkor saying: ''Get thee gone from my gate thou gangrel, jail-crow of Mandos!'' and he shut the doors of his house in the face of Melkor. And Melkor departed in shame, though in great wrath, for he was in danger. And Finwë was filled with dread, and sent messengers to Manwë on Taniquetil.
But Melkor departed from Valinor and went whither he would, before the Valar were prepared...