For Valentine's Day, we offer a series of Dice Vaults inspired by various types of elves drawn from all avenues of fantasy; elves have a rich and varied history, and with their timeless beauty and elegance, have come to be associated with romance and eternity, two qualities inextricably linked to the spirit of Valentine's Day.
Of course, Valentine's Day is a polarizing holiday, and there are those that abhor it. Interestingly, elves can represent this duality, too – while the most popular elves are seen as creatures of light… dark elves exist, and are associated with death, vengeance and darkness.
Therefore, we're proud to offer options for fans of both this February.
For those seeking to celebrate romance and beauty, the engraving or inlay will feature a flowing, elegant Elvish script on your chosen Dice Vault:
- The Wood Elf, in Cherry with Elvish Engraving
- The High Elf, in Bolivian Rosewood with Brass Inlay
- The Grey Elf, in Purpleheart with Silver Inlay
No matter your choice, the Dice Vault will include an engraving or inlays of a message of your choice, translated into Quenya Elvish (technically, Neo-Quenya – see below). These translations are being carried out by none other than Fiona Jallings, Linguist & Tolkien-language scholar. Her website contains valuable resources for those seeking to know more about the languages and translations.
Below is some information Fiona wanted to pass along for those seeking more specific details on our promotion and the translations themselves.
What is Quenya?
Quenya is the language of the Noldorin Elves from the Holy Land, who valued learning and knowledge above all else (except the Silmarilli. (Don’t mention having a Silmaril to a Noldorin Elf, it’s a great way to have another Kinslaying on your hands.)
What is Neo-Elvish? What's the difference between Quenya and Neo-Quenya?
A translation labeled “Neo-Elvish” just means that Tolkien didn’t do the translation, someone else did. That means that ANYTHING not directly attested by Tolkien is Neo-Elvish. All of the Elvish in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies is Neo-Elvish, and so are the translations on this website. If you want translations in Tolkien’s languages, there’s no way to get them without using Neo-Elvish. Unless, of course, you're a very high level Cleric.
What is Tehtar-Tengwar?
Tehtar-Tengwar is a very flexible writing system that Tolkien devised for his Noldorin Elves. It’s an Abugida with the consonants as letters (called Tengwar) and the vowels as marks over the letters (called Tehtar). Since the Tengwar are based on phonetic charts, they can be used with almost any language, just by reassigning the phonetic values of the columns and rows. Tolkien was a linguist, and it really shows here.
What is translation? What is transliteration? What's the difference?
Translating is for languages, while transliterating is for the writing systems – typesetting. A translation is how you say something in another language. A transliteration is how you write something in another language's alphabet. Some languages do not have their own alphabet, but many do – this is the case with Elvish.
Why will names be transliterated instead of translated?
Translation concerns the transfer of meanings from one language to another. Names often have meanings lost to time and cannot, therefore, be translated. They could be elaborate puns that similarly cannot be translated, or reference real places or sacred deities that can’t be translated. Sometimes the problem is the exact opposite: they have dozens of meanings and translations, and there are too many to make translation possible. Due to all of these complications, names will be transliterated for consistency.
Can I see a preview of my translation before I order, or before my piece is engraved?
No, unfortunately – we apologize for any inconvenience. There's only one way to see how a translation will appear – actually going through the two-step process of translating into Quenya, then transliterating it into the appropriate font. Due to the time and work involved with this process, it is not feasible for us to offer previews of desired engravings prior to creating them if we're to deliver your order on time. However, you can consult the photos for examples. We're confident that you'll love the results, and whatever your message, it will look beautiful – perhaps even more so since it will be a surprise. Thank you for understanding.