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"If that's what I think it is — they're really rare, and really valuable."
—Ron Weasley, commenting on Harry's Christmas present[src]

An invisibility cloak is a magical garment which renders whomever or whatever it covers unseeable. These are common items that are massed produced in the wizarding world. The first known cloak was made by Death for Ignotus Peverell in the 13th century and it is one of a kind.

The other cloaks were made later by various manufacturers using different materials and do not possess the same longevity. They may be made from hair of Demiguise, a magical creature that possesses the power to become invisible. This property is used to make the wearer of the cloak invisible. However, as Xenophilius Lovegood tells Harry, Ron, and Hermione, such a cloak will gradually lose its effectiveness as the hair becomes more and more opaque.

The cloaks can also be formed from an ordinary travelling cloak, enchanted with an exceptionally strong disillusionment charm or a bedazzling hex. In addition to its eternal lifetime, the cloak made by Death is also notable for its ability to resist all summoning charms.

There are other ways of making something or someone invisible by using magic other than invisibility cloaks. An example is the Disillusionment Charm. Dumbledore once remarked to Harry that he didn't need a cloak to become invisible.

History

The Tale of the Three Brothers, a wizarding legend, speaks of a Cloak of Invisibility which (shortly after Christmas 1997) Xenophilius Lovegood characterises as one which "endures eternally, giving constant and impenetrable concealment, no matter what spells are cast at it."  Ignotus Peverell was given the cloak by Death in the 13th century as a reward for having beaten him. The cloak became a family heirloom and was inherited by Ignotus' descendents, including James Potter and eventually his son, Harry Potter who given it as a gift on Christmas day 1991.

Ron Weasley was the first to speculate that Harry's cloak was one of the Deathly Hallows, since it was at least two generations old. The other invisibility cloaks wear out after that time, or at least lose some effectiveness and yet Harry's remained as good as new, which raised suspicion. The other invisibility cloaks should have become opaque with age, rip, have the charms placed upon them wear off, or have them countered with charms of revealment.

It is unknown when other invisibility cloaks started being made, but only two people have been confirmed to have owned one. One is Mad Eye Moody who actually owned two and lent them to Mundungus Fletcher and Sturgis Podmore. The other was Barty Crouch Snr who hid Barty Crouch Jr under one when helping him escape Azkaban. It is also known that Arthur Weasley hid under one while on guard duty at the Ministry of Magic who probably gave it to him since Arthur never mentions owning one himself.

Invisibility cloak usage

Wizard(s) Notes
Ignotus Peverell used the Cloak of Invisibility to hide from Death.
Ignotus Peverell's son was given the Cloak of Invisibility by Ignotus Peverell.
James Potter owned an invisibility cloak (actually one of the fabled Deathly Hallows) that he and his friends often used during their days at Hogwarts to assist them in their mischief. Albus Dumbledore had James's cloak at the time of the latter's death, having wished to inspect it further. He kept the cloak in his possession until Harry began school at Hogwarts in 1991.
Harry Potter used his father's cloak many times throughout his years at Hogwarts. He received it from Albus Dumbledore anonymously in 1991 as a Christmas present.
Hermione Granger also used Harry Potter's invisibility cloak.
Ron Weasley
Severus Snape
Luna Lovegood
Barty Crouch, Jr, having escaped from Azkaban prison, was kept hidden by his father under an invisibility cloak at their home. He also watched the Quidditch World Cup in 1994 while under an invisibility cloak.
Mundungus Fletcher was loaned an invisibility cloak by Mad-Eye Moody for Order of the Phoenix business. It is likely that Mundungus used the cloak for other, less reputable purposes.
Mad-Eye Moody lent Sturgis Podmore his best invisibility cloak in 1995 to assist in guarding the Prophecy in the Department of Mysteries. He mentioned that Podmore had not had the manners to return it in a timely fashion and forced Moody to use his second best cloak. This was because Podmore had been placed under the Imperius Curse by Death Eaters.
Arthur Weasley was wearing an invisibility cloak while on guard duty at the Ministry of Magic; he fell asleep at his post and it fell off before he was attacked by Nagini on Voldemort's orders.

Appearances

Cloak Sign

The Cloak of Invisibility owned by Harry is one of the Deathly Hallows, denoted by the triangle

Notes and references