By Cirdan's beard!
#1
Why does Cirdan, seemingly alone among the Eldar, have a beard?

Note:  For the purpose of this question, the answer "because he can" (while valid among Men, lol), is pre-emptively deemed insufficient by the questioner.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#2
If I'm not mistaken Cirdan was a sailor. Sailors are often partial to beards...at least in song and story.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
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#3
"The questioner"?

Not the one Grishnákh was describing to the hobbits, I hope!

Well, there's that "third cycle of Elven life" thing, and Círdan does appear to be the oldest of the Quendi we actually encounter in LotR. He was born and full-grown well before the Great Journey ended; very likely he was an adult (and already experimenting with building watercraft to use on Cuivénen?) when the Journey commenced. The Great Journey took place some 10,000 yrs, give or take a few fortnights, before the War of the Ring.

What's harder to explain is that Feänor's pappy-in-law Mahtan the smith was also supposed to be bearded, way back in the ages of the Trees when Feänor married his daughter.
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#4
Quote:Why does Cirdan, seemingly alone among the Eldar, have a beard?

Because he is so old. All male elves grow beards in "their third cycle of life". Cirdan was one of the most ancient elves in Middle-earth.

Gandalf's name means "elf of the wand" so he was thought to be a very old elf by northern men.

Feanor's father-in-law, Mahtan, was considered exceptional for growing a beard in his "second cycle of life".

Tolkien never explained what these cycles were, but presumably they fall into [childhood and adolescence], adulthood, and agedness prior to fading.
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