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20 Interesting Philosopher’s Stone Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
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20 Interesting Philosophers' Stone Facts

Philosophers' Stone and Alchemy

What if you could convert any base metal into gold or silver? What if you could cure any illness? What if you could revitalize your spirit? What if you could prolong your life? Questions like these have been a focal point of Western alchemy for a very very long time. Western alchemists fixated on the notion that there was something that did exist and it could really convert base metals into gold or silver and, that ‘something’ is what they called Philosopher’s Stone. Let us find out 20 interesting Philosopher’s Stone facts and try to dig out the truth. Shall we begin?

Interesting Philosopher’s Stone Facts: 1-10

1. The Philosopher’s Stone was also sometimes referred to as ‘the powder’ or ‘the tincture’.

2. Western alchemists thought or rather believed that the Philosopher’s Stone can be used to create an elixir of life that could be used for achieving immortality.

3. Philosophers also believed that the Philosopher’s Stone can be used for spiritual revitalization, prolonging life and curing illness.

4. It was often believed that it was actually a very ordinary and common substance that went unnoticed and that it was available almost everywhere.

5. Starting from Middle Ages till the end of 17th century, the quest for Philosopher’s Stone actually led to examination of numerous substances in the laboratories of alchemists.

6. Alchemists actually tried to study the chemical reactions or interactions between these substances.

7. It was the quest and the resulting studies and derived knowledge that led to the development of pharmacology, metallurgy and chemistry.

8. The common metals that alchemists tried to convert to gold were copper, tin, lead and iron.

9. Alchemists would usually heat the metals in a special glass crucible of pear shape. The glass crucible was known as Philosophers’ Egg or Hermes.

10. There were several stages of color change that the alchemists studied carefully. When heating changed the color of the metal to black, it meant that the old metal died and prepped up for revitalization.

Interesting Philosopher’s Stone Facts: 11-20

Philosophers' Stone and Alchemy

11. If color changed to ‘White’, it would mean transformation into silver.

12. If the color changed from ‘Red’, it would mean transformation of the old metal into gold.

13. All efforts that were made to create Philosopher’s Stone using alchemy were known as Magnus Opus.

14. Magnus Opus is the Latin term for ‘The Great Work’. Magnus Opus originally had four stages known as ‘nigredo (blackening)’, ‘albedo (whitening)’, ‘citrinitas (yellowing)’ and ‘rubedo (reddening)’. These four stages originated somewhere back in 1st century but later on these four stages were elaborated with George Ripley giving 12 steps and Samuel Norton giving 14 stages.

15. Philosopher’s Stone had been attributed with many magical and mythical powers of which perpetual burning lamps creation, transmutation of ordinary crystals to diamonds and precious stones, creation of malleable or flexible glass, creation of homunculus or clone and revival of dead plants were some powers.

16. The Philosopher’s Stone also had several synonyms of which, the most important ones were ‘White Stone’, ‘Vitriol’ and ‘Lapis Noster’.

17. There is a legend that the 13th century philosopher-scientist named Albertus Magnus did discover Philosopher’s Stone and had actually passed it on to his pupil named Thomas Aquinas just before Magnus died around 1280 AD.

18. Magnus actually wrote down that he did witness gold creation through transmutation. Magnus however did not write anywhere that he actually discovered the Philosopher’s Stone.

19. Alchemical methods that were used by the alchemists for the creation of Philosopher’s Stone were all written down in cryptic language that led to a high degree of confusion.

20. Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known, was deeply involved in alchemy and actually wrote 169 books on the same but never published any of them because in act 1404, converting base metals in silver or gold was considered felony.

Sources: 1, 2

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