Aulë, the smith, is one of the greatest of the Valar in Tolkien’s mythology. He was the steward over the earth, the gems and ores within it. He was especially fond of the Noldor and taught them much of his skill and craftmanship.
Another thing he did was create the dwarves, in imitation of Ilúvatar’s creation of the elves and men. However, they were simply minions and had no free will of their own until Ilúvatar saw his creation and blessed it. It is not known what happens to the dwarves after they die, as they are not Iluvatar’s children of choice, but only by adoption. Some say that Aulë has hallowed a place for them in the Halls of Mandos, where they will receive the same honor as the first and secondborn.