High elves (also known as Sun Elves or Golden elves in D&D) are distinguished from other fantasy elves by their place of living, as they usually dwell in stone cities, instead of woods, like wood-elves. High elves could never be evil. Typically high elves consider themselves the most purely good race of all, and view all other races beneath them, especially lower elves, and they are usually the most magically developed of all elves. Elves are immortal, and they do not suffer the illness of mankind, however, they can die in battle and other martial means. When they grow tired of Middle Earth, they go to the Grey Havens. The Elves, particularly the Noldor, preoccupy themselves with various things, such as smith work, sculpture, music and other arts, and of course, what to eat. Males and females can do almost everything equally; however, the females often specialize in the arts of healing while the men go to war. This is because they believe that taking life interferes with the ability to preserve life. However, Elves are not stuck in rigid roles; females can defend themselves at need as well as males, and many males are skilled healers as well.

Like all of the Tel-quessir, the High elves are close to the height of humans, but with notable differences. Sun elves have bronze-colored skin and hair most often of copper, golden blond, and black, with red more uncommon but heard of. High elves, like other eladrin, typically have green eyes, though golden ones are also common, often with a liquid appearance, and silver, black, hazel, or copper hues have also been heard of. Like their moon elven brethren, male high elves are typically taller and heavier than females, sometimes by as much as five inches or twenty pounds.

High elves have a reputation for being stronger but less durable than other eladrin. This is not necessarily the case for all sun elves, however.