Forging of the Rings beginsForging of the Rings begins - Having gained the Elves' trust as Annatar, Sauron went to work executing his master scheme of dominating Middle Earth.  He planned to do this through the forging of a series of rings by which he could control its bearers.


"It was in Eregion that the counsels of Sauron were most gladly received, for in that land the Noldor desired ever to increase the skill and subtlety of their works.  Moreover, they were not at peace in their hearts, since they refused to return into the West, and they desired both to stay in Middle-earth, which indeed they loved, and yet to enjoy the bliss of those that had departed.  Therefore they hearkened to Sauron, and they learned of him many things, for his knowledge was great.  In those days the smiths of Ost-in-Edhil surpassed all that they had contrived before; and they took thought, and they made Rings of Power.  But Sauron guided their labours, and he was aware of all that they did; for his desire was to set a bond upon the Elves and to bring them under his vigilance." ~The Silmarillion (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age)


And when they were done, a total of 20 rings were forged.


"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." ~The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, chap. 2 (The Shadow of the Past)