Objects > Mithril
Mithril was a metal that shaped the history of
Khazad-dum. It was
called silver steel, Moria silver, and true silver, and these are all
for a reason. Mithril looked just like silver, yet it never
tarnished and stayed forever shiny. Mithril caused the Noldor,
who were led by Celebrimbor (in some stories these Noldor were led by
Galadriel and Celeborn) to settle in the land called Eregion in the
second age. The mithril vein found in Khazad-dum was buried so
deeply under Barazinbar, that the dwarves released the Balrog who had
been sleeping since the end of the First age when Melkor was thrown
into the Darkness.
The Balrog proceeded to kill Durin IV and his son
Nain. He drove
out the dwarves and no more mithril was mined in the Third Age.
Towards the end of the Third Age mithril became priceless. The
corslet that Thorin had given to Bilbo was worth more than the Shire
and everything in it. This corslet had been made in Erebor for an
elf-prince and was found in Smaug's hoard.
Bilbo gave this corslet to Frodo in Rivendell to use
in the Quest to
Mt. Doom. It saved his life in Khazad-dum, when an orc chieftain
stabbed him with a giant spear. This corslet was stolen from him
in Mordor, where it probably saved his life again due to it causing
such a distraction, giving him enough time to escape the orcs.
The Mouth of Sauron found and gave it to Gandalf, claiming Frodo had
died in Mordor. That was of course not so, and the corslet was
given back to Frodo on his trip back to the Shire, where it saved his
life yet again when Saruman tried to kill him at Bag End.
It was said by Gandalf in Khazad-dum, that Moria was
the only place
mithril could be found. Either Gandalf was hiding something, or
mistaken, or perhaps he just meant Moria was the only place mithril
would be found at that time; that statement was false. In Unfinished Tales it is said
that Tar-Telemmaite (who was the 15th
ruler of Numenor) constantly sent his servents to seek mithril.
This means mithril could have been found in Numenor. Telemmaite's
own name meant 'silver-handed'.
It is not said what became of the mithril corslet
(it probably went
with Frodo to Valinor), or if the dwarves went back and mined for more
References: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Return of the
King, Unfinished Tales