Quenya: palan + tir ... far and wide + watch, see, rendered to far-seer
Also called the SeeingStones or the SevenStones.
Crystal globes, made in Aman by Fëanor, they showed scenes far away in space (and eventually back in time), but especially things near to another Palantír, thus they could be used for visual communication (between two stones in accord thought was transferred and perceived as speech).
See also: The Palantíri, Of the Palantíri
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When Gandalf wishes aloud that he could use the Palantír (of Orthanc) to see back into time, and see "the unimaginable mind and hand of Fëanor at work", he reveals a curious detail. Gandalf is the Maia Olórin, but using a real body on the mission of the Istari. Maiar are co-eval with Valar. But, because Ilúvatar can create new things into the world unexpected by the Great Song, Gandalf himself is not "technically superior" to Fëanor. A Maiar can "look up to" an Eldar.
Now recall that wearing a physical body limits Gandalf's abilities.
It seems that the Palantíri had not been conceived by Tolkien until late 1942 (or maybe 1943), whereas the story of the exodus of the Noldoli had been first developed some 20 years earlier.Therefor it appears to me that assigning the Palantíri to Feanor's craftsmanship was an afterthought of the Prof. -- ChW