As of 2014, there is no evidence that gnomes exist. Gnomes are depicted as small humanoid creatures with pointy hats and long beards that live underground. Many homeowners use gnome figurines as yard or garden decorations.
Gnome folklore was popularized through the writings of the 16th century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus. He described them as earth elementals that could swim through rock like a fish through water. In popular culture, gnomes gradually lost their association with alchemy and came to be identified with fairies, pixies, goblins and other mythological creatures. Gnomes have appeared in the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and many other fantasy authors.