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theFool
12-27-2013, 08:11 PM
You can dissolve some amount of ammonium chloride salt in 95% alcohol (digest them together). This reminds the Kerkring menstruum. In this solution, if one puts thin gold leaves and let it to digest, they will be dissolved within days. Upon evaporation and calcination of the solution you will be left with a purple residue. This seems to be a metalic calx of gold, because the gold was not dissolved by an acid but by making some kind of complex with the HCl.

The remaining calx should resemble more the calx made by mercury amalgamation and sublimation and not the calx made by aqua regia.

amoodikh
01-04-2014, 06:22 PM
You can dissolve some amount of ammonium chloride salt in 95% alcohol (digest them together). This reminds the Kerkring menstruum. In this solution, if one puts thin gold leaves and let it to digest, they will be dissolved within days. Upon evaporation and calcination of the solution you will be left with a purple residue. This seems to be a metalic calx of gold, because the gold was not dissolved by an acid but by making some kind of complex with the HCl.

The remaining calx should resemble more the calx made by mercury amalgamation and sublimation and not the calx made by aqua regia.

Hi,

Based on my experience I have to agree with you but once you have this gold calx in red or purple color what would you use it for?

theFool
01-04-2014, 08:27 PM
Hi,

Based on my experience I have to agree with you but once you have this gold calx in red or purple color what would you use it for?

Hello,
you can try to extract from it a tincture with a proper menstruum, but this is not so easy, I have failed many times to do so. The interesting thing about this calx made by ammonium chloride, is that it is metallic and not ionic (it is not gold chloride, it is gold metal like colloidal gold). This is not toxic as gold chloride. Some authors of alchemy, advocate the usage of this gold calx for medicinal reasons. Other methods that produce this kind of gold calx are:
- The amalgamation of gold with mercury and subsequent evaporation of mercury, which leaves a white calx
- The addition of gold into molten salt (NaCl). It creates a purple calx. This operation, repeated, may create a white calx.
- A procedure of citric acid on gold. We have a detailed thread (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3539-Seth-Ra-s-Oil-of-Gold&p=31213#post31213) on this.
-Heating gold leaves together with ammonium chloride in closed crucible..

I'm sure there other methods too. I posted those in order to show the difference between this calx and the ionic one, made by dissolution of gold in common aqua regia.

JDP
01-05-2014, 01:02 PM
Hello,
you can try to extract from it a tincture with a proper menstruum, but this is not so easy, I have failed many times to do so.

Have you tried using the "menstruum" recommended by the author of an article published in the first volume of "The Astrologer and Oracle of Destiny"? He makes a purplish calx of gold by what seems to me an over-complicated process of making amalgams and solutions/digestions of gold in a specially prepared "aqua regia" (similar to Basil Valentine's "Water of the Fighters".) Then for a "particular" process which he claims makes an ounce of gold out of half an ounce of gold, he digests that purplish calx of gold with a solvent made by mixing spirit of wine and spirit of salt (though he does not mention in what proportions) and distilling it until it becomes "sweetish". He claims that by means of this solvent the "soul" or "sulfur" of the gold calx will be extracted, without "touching the body" (of the gold.) The "body" of gold is not dissolved but left at the bottom of the flask, it just loses its color and becomes "white". He then says that this "sulfur" of the gold "graduates" silver into gold (though he does not explain how is this supposed to be applied to silver), but only in the same amount as the gold from which it was extracted. So where is the gain in gold he promised from his process? Well, he also says that the "white body" of gold left behind in the extraction can be converted back to normal gold simply by cupelling it with lead and some copper. It regains all the characteristics of the original gold. Thus the alleged gain in gold from the process:

"Sulfur" extracted from half an ounce of gold -----------> Converts half an ounce of silver into gold

Whitened "body" from the extracted half an ounce of gold -----------> Turns back into gold by a simple cupellation with lead and copper

Total gold obtained: 1 full ounce of gold from just half an ounce of starting gold.

lwowl
01-05-2014, 04:11 PM
You can dissolve some amount of ammonium chloride salt in 95% alcohol (digest them together). This reminds the Kerkring menstruum. In this solution, if one puts thin gold leaves and let it to digest, they will be dissolved within days. Upon evaporation and calcination of the solution you will be left with a purple residue. This seems to be a metalic calx of gold, because the gold was not dissolved by an acid but by making some kind of complex with the HCl.

The remaining calx should resemble more the calx made by mercury amalgamation and sublimation and not the calx made by aqua regia.

Hello,

"The Arabic alchemists had at an early stage in history found out how the mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acid was to be made. One got the ingredients from the dung of camels and goats. This was full of ammonia and sodium chloride, common salt. When the dung was dried and then ignited, it gave off ammonium chloride, and it collected on the lid of the oven in big cakes.

This matter was so highly esteemed, that there was special god, Ammon, for it. He symbolized the value of this ammonium chloride, or Sal Ammoniacum, as it was called in former days. By the way, it was this matter that we in the chapter about sliver used to bring forth the bright red soul of silver.

When ammonium chloride was distilled together with potassium nitrate- salpeter, sal petri, or sal nitre, as it was called, one got a strong solvent for gold and silver.

Now if one lets the vapours from this solvent act on pure gold over a long time, the gold will little by little absorb something from the solvent, which also contains some water. The gold gradually grows heavier. It changes colour and becomes white as a skeleton, then yellow, and finally orange red as poppy flowers. Some alchemists compare the colour of gold with the red-yellow ring in the narcissus flower."

From, Mysteries of Alchemy by Merelle.

lwowl

theFool
01-05-2014, 05:06 PM
Thanks for your input JDP.

Have you tried using the "menstruum" recommended by the author of an article published in the first volume of "The Astrologer and Oracle of Destiny"? He makes a purplish calx of gold by what seems to me an over-complicated process of making amalgams and solutions/digestions of gold in a specially prepared "aqua regia" (similar to Basil Valentine's "Water of the Fighters".) Where is this article located? I have found the book online here: The Astrologer and Oracle of Destiny (http://books.google.gr/books?id=-S0SAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA41&hl=el&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false) but I have some difficulty to locate the article. Various authors talk about special "aqua regia" needed to dissolve gold properly and also propose repeated dissolutions of the calx.


Then for a "particular" process which he claims makes an ounce of gold out of half an ounce of gold, he digests that purplish calx of gold with a solvent made by mixing spirit of wine and spirit of salt (though he does not mention in what proportions) and distilling it until it becomes "sweetish". I know of this "menstruum", I have found it described in other books too. Also have experimented with it but not so thoroughly as to be sure of its usefulness or not. My current opinion is that "spirit of salt" he uses is different from common hydrochloric acid. You have to make it in the old ways, using sea salt and water, not a small feat to perform. This "detail" is keeping me from experimenting with this "menstruum".
From a chemical perspective, this process will create gold chloride which is soluble in alcohol.

About the rest of your post, which revolves around chrysopoeia, the process may be explained by the possibility of the silver reducing the gold chloride and precipitating it out of solution. That's why the amount of gold at the end is the same. Also, lead, copper and the white "body" (?what's that) may form an amalgam that resembles gold that could pass some tests of the old times. Of course, it could be some kind of 'archemical' transmutation, we will never know. To be honest, I have totaly lost my interest in those kind 'archemical' recipes.
I believe it is important to find out how gold can be extracted because we will understand something important about the workings of nature. Plus, the extract is rumored to be a potent medicine which could further evolve our senses and intellect in order to serve the art more efficiently.

theFool
01-05-2014, 05:42 PM
Hello Iwowl


"When ammonium chloride was distilled together with potassium nitrate- salpeter, sal petri, or sal nitre, as it was called, one got a strong solvent for gold and silver." Do you think that the ammonium chloride needs to come from camel's dung in order for this solvent to work? If chemical ammonium chloride is used in this distillation, most probably, it will produce ammonium nitrate at the distillate and potasium chloride left behind. My hypothesis is backed up because the solvent is said to dissolve silver (no chloride ion) and by the fact that ammonium nitrate evaporates at lower temperature than ammonium chloride. Now, ammonium nitrate is a common salt .. has anyone tried to dissolve gold in it? I guess it will not work or we would know it. The ammonium nitrate that can dissolve gold has something special in it. It should be produced from some live matter (urine, dew, rainwater ..), just my speculation.



"Now if one lets the vapours from this solvent act on pure gold over a long time, the gold will little by little absorb something from the solvent, which also contains some water. The gold gradually grows heavier. It changes colour and becomes white as a skeleton, then yellow, and finally orange red as poppy flowers. Some alchemists compare the colour of gold with the red-yellow ring in the narcissus flower." It is said that ammonium chloride fumes can calcine gold into a red calx (no purple, neither white). Again my question is wether common ammonium chloride can do that.

We need volunteers to check these hypotheses :)

JDP
01-05-2014, 06:33 PM
Thanks for your input JDP.
Where is this article located? I have found the book online here: The Astrologer and Oracle of Destiny (http://books.google.gr/books?id=-S0SAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA41&hl=el&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false) but I have some difficulty to locate the article.

Look at page 235 for the particular process that doubles the amount of gold, and some earlier pages as well, where he explains how to make the gold calx and other things.


I know of this "menstruum", I have found it described in other books too. Also have experimented with it but not so thoroughly as to be sure of its usefulness or not. My current opinion is that "spirit of salt" he uses is different from common hydrochloric acid. You have to make it in the old ways, using sea salt and water, not a small feat to perform. This "detail" is keeping me from experimenting with this "menstruum".

Before going through the trouble of having to make "spirit of salt" the old fashioned way, one could experiment with just regular hydrochloric acid to see if there is any glimmer of veracity at all to the claim.


From a chemical perspective, this process will create gold chloride which is soluble in alcohol.

Not sure about this, since there is also an organic material involved (the alcohol), so maybe something more complex forms. The author however sees it as merely an extraction of one of the "principles" of gold. Supposing that what he is describing is real and not just a lie he made up, obviously this solvent does not dissolve the whole mass of the gold calx, just some part of it, leaving the rest behind.


About the rest of your post, which revolves around chrysopoeia, the process may be explained by the possibility of the silver reducing the gold chloride and precipitating it out of solution. That's why the amount of gold at the end is the same.

That interpretation is simply not possible since the author is well aware and keeps track of the amounts of gold originally employed (half an ounce) and obtained at the end (a full ounce.) He is either telling the truth or lying about the results, there is no room for such a simplistic error as confusing a mere precipitation of the gold originally used for a "transmutation". If the author was so ignorant or clumsy to mistake a simple precipitation for a transmutation, he would have already been fooled at the earlier stages of the process, when he dissolved the gold in the special aqua regia and, after some digestions, precipitated it back with mercury. He certainly was not fooled by the precipitation of the dissolved gold then, so obviously he would not be fooled by another simple precipitation later on either.


Also, lead, copper and the white "body" (?what's that) may form an amalgam that resembles gold that could pass some tests of the old times. Of course, it could be some kind of 'archemical' transmutation, we will never know. To be honest, I have totaly lost my interest in those kind 'archemical' recipes.

The "white body" is the gold deprived of its "sulfur". You see, the author does not consider this a simple solution of gold, like that made in aqua regia, but as a true extraction of "something" in the gold which is responsible for its characteristics; the so-called sulfur of the metal. What remains after the extraction is a metal deprived of one of the most readily perceived characteristics of gold: its color. There is no possibility of confusing any amalgams here since there is no mercury involved in this stage of the process (it was only employed to make the purplish calx of gold, where the mercury was all driven off by heat), plus also amalgams did not really fool anyone into thinking they were really gold or silver, since they are all easily decomposed by strong heat alone (in fact our author is well aware of this since he uses such amalgams himself to prepare the purplish gold calx, and he was certainly not fooled into thinking he had made gold by such simple operations), no need for any more complex tests to easily distinguish them from the genuine article. Even a simple hammer blow would show an amalgam is not gold or silver. Amalgams are brittle, unlike gold and silver, which are very malleable. So again, most of the people who wrote such transmutation processes were either lying or telling the truth. I have never been convinced by the easy "explanations" offered by some modern chemists and the anachronistic ignorance that they want to attribute to those older writers to try to "explain" their claims (Vladimir Karpenko is an excellent example of this type of modern chemist who keep trying to come up with such "explanations" that most often than not are simply absurd and anachronistic and would not have fooled any alchemist or chymist worth his salt.) An examination of alchemical and chymical literature clearly shows they generally were way more savvy and experienced than the modern chemists want to give them credit for. Some modern historians of science, like Newman and Principe, are becoming more well-aware of this and are trying to give these old-timers the credit that they deserve, much to chemistry's dislike.

theFool
01-05-2014, 09:33 PM
Before going through the trouble of having to make "spirit of salt" the old fashioned way, one could experiment with just regular hydrochloric acid to see if there is any glimmer of veracity at all to the claim. Well, it shouldn't be difficult to do a small test since we can easily create the purple gold calx without the usage of mercury.



Not sure about this, since there is also an organic material involved (the alcohol), so maybe something more complex forms. The author however sees it as merely an extraction of one of the "principles" of gold. Supposing that what he is describing is real and not just a lie he made up, obviously this solvent does not dissolve the whole mass of the gold calx, just some part of it, leaving the rest behind. In one experiment 95% alcohol and azeotropic HCl acid were mixed (half -half volume) and left to digest on a gold leaf (not calx). The solution got a greenish color. The leaf was not altered visibly after 3 days.


...
when he dissolved the gold in the special aqua regia and, after some digestions, precipitated it back with mercury.... Do you think that the mercury he used to precipitate it was common mercury (Hg)? I doubt it; maybe there is another kind of mercury used for this kind of precipitation from AR and it produces a different kind of purple calx because he mixes with it. Without being able to replicate exactly this calx, extraction using his "menstruum" later, may yield nothing.
I am not writing this to say that the writer was ignorant or lying. My feeling is that the writer is genuine.

Just finished reading from the original how the purple calx is prepared (thanks for pointing to this document). I notice that besides the fact that the author passes his gold through many "tribulations" (antimony etc..) before it reaches to the calx, he speaks of two kind of mercuries! Even if we suppose that the "tribulations" are unnecessary, we cannot avoid the fact that he speaks of mercury/ live mercury and quicksilver/ common quicksilver. Those two probably are different entities. I believe that some hints on their nature can be found in some of Glauber's works.
Probably, if you don't have this special purple calx precipitated by mercury, the extraction with the "menstruum" of alcohol and spirit of salt will not work.

lwowl
01-06-2014, 01:19 AM
Do you think that the ammonium chloride needs to come from camel's dung in order for this solvent to work?

I don't think the ammonium chloride necessarily has to come from camel's dung. It can come from other ways of making it. Merelle mentions several different sources including bull or ram horns. What she has to say about using gold to make the Philosopher's Stone is quite revealing. Her take on "royal water" and the use of potash to get gold nanoparticles is something I want to try. However I have not worked the "metal path" for nearly a decade.

The interesting part to me is that when the gold is exposed to the fumes of distillate, the gold will absorb something from the vapors and become heavier. She proposes there is something in water that is carried along, speculating that it is neutrons as in heavy water, and something else like unidentified gasses that are in the water as well. She earlier says that the water should come from dew or rain.

I don't know if any of this works as I've not tried it yet. My experience of late is sublimating organic ammonium complexes through calcined ash made into a kind of "dough." This produces a "running mercury." Now the subject of Running Mercuries is a mind field of possibilities:-)

I can agree about the "live" or organic matter handling of the nitrogen compounds, azoth. She has a lot to say about that too. I've been working with the organic aspect of the "Mercury" and see how it might work but I'm in the middle of experiments to clarify this point.

Merelle contends that "mercury" is a solvent, the hermaphrodite, made of two things, spirit of salt and spirit of niter, and that it can act symbolically as either male: Mercury/Hermes or Artemis: the female warrior and hunter.

I'm also working again on the English edition of Mysteries of Alchemy. Ole Jensen did a rough translation into English and we published the first two chapters in the old Hermetic Foundation Journal, Elias. Then Ole vanished from the scene. It's been a long time since:( I should have it finished in a week or two and will make an announcement here with the link to it. It will be free for everyone to study.

Also, there is a great deal of useful information on "running mercuries" in Philosophical Principles of a Universal Chemistry. I'm in the process of transcribing it.

There is another element that should be addressed. That is the contention of a quantum entanglement involving the observer doing the work, and the sensitivity of the materials: the mercury and sulfur to respond in the flux at the moment of observation. Merelle hits upon this as does Shaw in Philosophical Principles.


We need volunteers to check these hypotheses:)

We surely do need more volunteers experimenting to put these hypothesis to the test.

lwowl

Illen A. Cluf
01-06-2014, 02:37 AM
Also, there is a great deal of useful information on "running mercuries" in Philosophical Principles of a Universal Chemistry. I'm in the process of transcribing it.


That one by Stahl (1730) is of the clearest and most revealing Alchemy/Chymical books that I have come across. It wil be worth transcribing the sections on "running mercuries".

Illen

Weidenfeld
01-06-2014, 11:56 AM
A very interesting article was written about this salt of ammon by the arabist Julius Ruska. The Arabs called that salt 'Nusadir'.

http://juliusruska.digilibrary.de/q120/q120.pdf

JDP
01-06-2014, 12:03 PM
Well, it shouldn't be difficult to do a small test since we can easily create the purple gold calx without the usage of mercury.

In one experiment 95% alcohol and azeotropic HCl acid were mixed (half -half volume) and left to digest on a gold leaf (not calx). The solution got a greenish color. The leaf was not altered visibly after 3 days.

Were the quoted results one of your own experiments? Did the gold left behind lose any color at all during the formation of the green color of the solvent?


Do you think that the mercury he used to precipitate it was common mercury (Hg)? I doubt it; maybe there is another kind of mercury used for this kind of precipitation from AR and it produces a different kind of purple calx because he mixes with it. Without being able to replicate exactly this calx, extraction using his "menstruum" later, may yield nothing.

I am quite convinced he means nothing else other than common mercury. Why? A couple of good reasons:

1- The operation to reduce gold to powder by means of mercury is a common one, going straight back to the Middle Ages. It can already be found well described in alchemical treatises and recipes of "puffers" and "multipliers" of those times

2- The author himself does not give any indication that there is secrecy in this part of the operation, he describes everything in plain words at this stage. However, later on, when it comes to what to do with the extracted "sulfur" of gold, he adopts a somewhat more vague style (hinting at: "find out for yourselves how the extracted sulfur of gold is applied to the silver to transmute it into gold".) Usually when such authors want to be enigmatic about the identity of a substance being used in the operations they describe they say things like "our mercury", "our sulfur", etc. or use full-blown "decknamen" to make things more difficult to follow, like "The Dragon", "The Red Lion", and so forth.


Just finished reading from the original how the purple calx is prepared (thanks for pointing to this document). I notice that besides the fact that the author passes his gold through many "tribulations" (antimony etc..) before it reaches to the calx, he speaks of two kind of mercuries! Even if we suppose that the "tribulations" are unnecessary, we cannot avoid the fact that he speaks of mercury/ live mercury and quicksilver/ common quicksilver. Those two probably are different entities. I believe that some hints on their nature can be found in some of Glauber's works.
Probably, if you don't have this special purple calx precipitated by mercury, the extraction with the "menstruum" of alcohol and spirit of salt will not work.

Maybe, but the likelihood that all those operations he passes the gold through do "something" to it other than purify and reduce it to a fine state of division is very slim. All the operations he describes to purify and reduce the gold to that state of division were totally standard and common back then, with the only exception of the solution in the aqua regia, which he says leave some faeces behind after the solution becomes cold, and then after the first digestion more of faeces form, and which he separates from the gold that remains in solution (this does not seem to happen in normal aqua regia solutions. Maybe the "key" in the process is the special aqua regia which might do something "unusual" to the dissolved gold?)

JDP
01-06-2014, 12:05 PM
A very interesting article was written about this salt of ammon by the arabist Julius Ruska. The Arabs called that salt 'Nusadir'.

http://juliusruska.digilibrary.de/q120/q120.pdf

Interesting indeed, probably the most thorough article written so far on the history of this substance. But unfortunately it is all in German. Could benefit from a translation into English so that many more interested people could read it.

JDP
01-06-2014, 12:15 PM
That one by Stahl (1730) is of the clearest and most revealing Alchemy/Chymical books that I have come across. It wil be worth transcribing the sections on "running mercuries".

Illen

It should be noted that Stahl later on rejected most of these claims himself. Back when he wrote "Philosophical Principles" (1680s; 1730 is the publication date of the English translation), Stahl was a full-blown follower of Becher, who was an advocate for the alleged reality of these "animated" mercury claims. Later on Stahl became not as sympathetic toward alchemy and transmutation, keeping some of the theoretical principles (like the "Phlogiston" theory) of his master, while largely rejecting his transmutation claims.

theFool
01-06-2014, 02:51 PM
Were the quoted results one of your own experiments? Did the gold left behind lose any color at all during the formation of the green color of the solvent?
Yes. The gold had the same color. Besides, already tried another similar experiment using the purple calx (made in my first post) instead of the gold leaf. This time, the purple calx was totally dissolved and the solution took greenish color. No white body left behind. This experiment is easy to replicate. One could try various alcohol to HCl acid ratios but I doubt he will ever see the white body.


1- The operation to reduce gold to powder by means of mercury is a common one, going straight back to the Middle Ages. It can already be found well described in alchemical treatises and recipes of "puffers" and "multipliers" of those times The usual operation I know of, is to amalgamate gold with mercury and then distill the mercury off. This would leave a white calx as they say (me never tried it of course). In the document, the author precipitates gold out of solution using his mercury. I am not aware of other book that this operation is performed. I admit, I have not read enough alchemy books yet, so I would like to see at least one source where this precipitation using mercury is described. It would help me understand its nature. I think the operation of precipitating gold out of AR using mercury, is different than the usual amalgamation - evaporation method. In that method the gold is not dissolved first in AR.
In the document, he says to add rainwater in the solution of gold in AR. The mercury is in the rainwater, that is my opinion.




Maybe, but the likelihood that all those operations he passes the gold through do "something" to it other than purify and reduce it to a fine state of division is very slim. All the operations he describes to purify and reduce the gold to that state of division were totally standard and common back then, with the only exception of the solution in the aqua regia, which he says leave some faeces behind after the solution becomes cold, and then after the first digestion more of faeces form, and which he separates from the gold that remains in solution (this does not seem to happen in normal aqua regia solutions. Maybe the "key" in the process is the special aqua regia which might do something "unusual" to the dissolved gold?)

I woundn't disagree that many of those operations are probably unnecessary.
However,yes, there may be a special AR that dissolves gold better, in a more efficient way than common AR. They use sal ammoniac in it. My opinion is that ammonia can form complexes with gold and thus operate on it in a different manner (maybe it can reduce the size of metallic clusters even more). In general, many interesting things happen when you dissolve metals using substances that can form complexes (eg. ammonia on copper, tartar on iron, citric acid ...)

Also, if we pay attention to this special AR, we may see it is no AR at all. He distills sal-ammoniac (ammonium chloride) with saltpetre (potassium nitrate) and pebbles!. No acid at all.. ? From a chemical viewpoint, is this thing able to dissolve gold? Also this is the same water that is described by Merelle according to Iwowl's previous post:

"When ammonium chloride was distilled together with potassium nitrate- salpeter, sal petri, or sal nitre, as it was called, one got a strong solvent for gold and silver."

theFool
01-06-2014, 03:14 PM
I don't think the ammonium chloride necessarily has to come from camel's dung. It can come from other ways of making it. Merelle mentions several different sources including bull or ram horns. :) I was kind of joking. I meant that it comes from live matter, maybe different from store bought ammonium chloride.


My experience of late is sublimating organic ammonium complexes through calcined ash made into a kind of "dough." This produces a "running mercury." Now the subject of Running Mercuries is a mind field of possibilities:-)
You mean like distill the residue of putrefied urine through wood ash? Maybe the potassium carbonate in the ash transforms into liquid?


I'm also working again on the English edition of Mysteries of Alchemy. Ole Jensen did a rough translation into English and we published the first two chapters in the old Hermetic Foundation Journal, Elias. Then Ole vanished from the scene. It's been a long time since I should have it finished in a week or two and will make an announcement here with the link to it. It will be free for everyone to study. It seems an important book. It would be nice to have it and learn from its study. What I could find online is this, on scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/47671238/Alkymiens-Mysterier which needs someone to have a subscription in order to download.

JDP
01-06-2014, 05:21 PM
Yes. The gold had the same color. Besides, already tried another similar experiment using the purple calx (made in my first post) instead of the gold leaf. This time, the purple calx was totally dissolved and the solution took greenish color. No white body left behind. This experiment is easy to replicate. One could try various alcohol to HCl acid ratios but I doubt he will ever see the white body.

Let us remember here that the mixture of alcohol and "spirit of salt" should be distilled several times first, until it becomes "sweet", before applying it to the gold calx. Some reaction between the two solvents seems to happen and a new solvent is made this way.


The usual operation I know of, is to amalgamate gold with mercury and then distill the mercury off. This would leave a white calx as they say (me never tried it of course). In the document, the author precipitates gold out of solution using his mercury. I am not aware of other book that this operation is performed. I admit, I have not read enough alchemy books yet, so I would like to see at least one source where this precipitation using mercury is described. It would help me understand its nature. I think the operation of precipitating gold out of AR using mercury, is different than the usual amalgamation - evaporation method. In that method the gold is not dissolved first in AR.

Before he dissolves the gold in the special aqua regia, he already turns it into calx by making an amalgam and evaporating the mercury off.

Precipitating some metals out of their solutions with mercury was already a common practice in the 17th century (remember the fascination some people back then had with "Diana's Tree", which was made by dissolving silver in nitric acid and then adding mercury to the solution; the silver precipitates making branch-like formations.)


In the document, he says to add rainwater in the solution of gold in AR. The mercury is in the rainwater, that is my opinion.

To me this just seems to be for weakening the acid and diluting the solution to make it easier to precipitate.


I woundn't disagree that many of those operations are probably unnecessary.
However,yes, there may be a special AR that dissolves gold better, in a more efficient way than common AR. They use sal ammoniac in it. My opinion is that ammonia can form complexes with gold and thus operate on it in a different manner (maybe it can reduce the size of metallic clusters even more). In general, many interesting things happen when you dissolve metals using substances that can form complexes (eg. ammonia on copper, tartar on iron, citric acid ...)

Also, if we pay attention to this special AR, we may see it is no AR at all. He distills sal-ammoniac (ammonium chloride) with saltpetre (potassium nitrate) and pebbles!. No acid at all.. ? From a chemical viewpoint, is this thing able to dissolve gold? Also this is the same water that is described by Merelle according to Iwowl's previous post:

The preparation belongs under the general class of "aqua regias". This particular method of preparing it was suggested to some 17th century seekers who interpreted the second "key" of Basil Valentine as meaning a distillation of saltpeter ("the Icy Dragon") and sal ammoniac ("the Eagle".) Commentators of that text often gave this preparation the name of "Water of the Two Fighters". Some experimenters, like the author of that article, would add some inert materials, like silica (the powdered pebbles), in order to control the reaction between the two salts and make it less prone to be violent (distilling the two salts by themselves can be dangerous if too much heat is suddenly employed, since the saltpeter might violently oxidize the ammonia, it could end up bursting the distilling apparatus.) The modern chemist/historian of science Lawrence Principe actually prepared a sample of it, and he confirms that it indeed does dissolve gold (see his "Secrets of Alchemy", pages 147 to 149.) I myself many years ago made some experiments along these lines using other nitrates, just to see what might happen. The one using lead nitrate scared the pants out of me when I saw a blue flame appear all of a sudden inside the distilling flask! I immediately stopped heating the mixture, afraid that pushing it further might cause an explosion of the vessel due to violent expanding gases.

lwowl
01-06-2014, 05:26 PM
That one by Stahl (1730) is of the clearest and most revealing Alchemy/Chymical books that I have come across. It wil be worth transcribing the sections on "running mercuries".

Illen

Illen,

Yes, Shaw presents a full course in alchemy in the book. There is some little confusion about the author. Peter Shaw wrote the book based upon Stahl's lectures:

"The Original of this Work being scarce known in England, 'tis necessary to observe that it was first drawn up, some Years since, by one of the greatest Masters in all the Parts of Chemistry that Europe ever produced, in order to its being deliver'd by him in the way of College or Lecture, to the Students in the University of Jene: Whence it soon got a broad in several Manuscript Copies; but at length a more authentic Latin Edition was published, with the Author's Connivance, under the following Title.

Georg. Ernest. Stahlij Consiliar. Aulic. & Archiatri Regij; Fundamenta Chymie...

From this edition the present Piece is principally taken, and employ'd as Preparatory to a Set of Essays, design'd for the farther application and advancement of Genuine Chemistry in England; with regard to Science, Arts, Trades, and Commerce; or the establishing of a practical, effective, and Artificial Philosophy.

The general Purpose of the Work is to extend the Business of Chemistry, and render it applicable to the improvement of Philosophy and Arts. With this View it is concise in the Theory, but copious in the Practice; so as to give a kind of Summary or present State of all chemical Knowledge; the defects whereof it every where attempts to supply, by the addition of new and useful Particulars, not to be met with any other Author: The whole being deliver'd in an instructive and philosophical manner, or in the didactick Way of Elements, that contain and lead to many important Discoveries; as we hope more fully to manifest in the Course of our Essays upon Philosophical, Technical, Commercial, and Oeconomical Chemistry."

The Supplement section at the end of the book concerning Mercurification and the Philosopher's Stone is by Peter Shaw.


lwowl

JDP
01-06-2014, 05:44 PM
Illen,

Yes, Shaw presents a full course in alchemy in the book. There is some little confusion about the author. Peter Shaw wrote the book based upon Stahl's lectures:

"The Original of this Work being scarce known in England, 'tis necessary to observe that it was first drawn up, some Years since, by one of the greatest Masters in all the Parts of Chemistry that Europe ever produced, in order to its being deliver'd by him in the way of College or Lecture, to the Students in the University of Jene: Whence it soon got a broad in several Manuscript Copies; but at length a more authentic Latin Edition was published, with the Author's Connivance, under the following Title.

Georg. Ernest. Stahlij Consiliar. Aulic. & Archiatri Regij; Fundamenta Chymie...

From this edition the present Piece is principally taken, and employ'd as Preparatory to a Set of Essays, design'd for the farther application and advancement of Genuine Chemistry in England; with regard to Science, Arts, Trades, and Commerce; or the establishing of a practical, effective, and Artificial Philosophy.

The general Purpose of the Work is to extend the Business of Chemistry, and render it applicable to the improvement of Philosophy and Arts. With this View it is concise in the Theory, but copious in the Practice; so as to give a kind of Summary or present State of all chemical Knowledge; the defects whereof it every where attempts to supply, by the addition of new and useful Particulars, not to be met with any other Author: The whole being deliver'd in an instructive and philosophical manner, or in the didactick Way of Elements, that contain and lead to many important Discoveries; as we hope more fully to manifest in the Course of our Essays upon Philosophical, Technical, Commercial, and Oeconomical Chemistry."

The Supplement section at the end of the book concerning Mercurification and the Philosopher's Stone is by Peter Shaw.


lwowl

The section on "mercurification", "mercuries of metals", "animated mercuries" and the Philosopher's Stone is also in the original Latin text by Stahl (this section starts on page 210 of the 1723 Latin edition of "Fundamenta Chymiae") from which Shaw took almost the entire content.

Illen A. Cluf
01-06-2014, 09:28 PM
It should be noted that Stahl later on rejected most of these claims himself. Back when he wrote "Philosophical Principles" (1680s; 1730 is the publication date of the English translation), Stahl was a full-blown follower of Becher, who was an advocate for the alleged reality of these "animated" mercury claims. Later on Stahl became not as sympathetic toward alchemy and transmutation, keeping some of the theoretical principles (like the "Phlogiston" theory) of his master, while largely rejecting his transmutation claims.

Hello JDP, when Stahl reversed his position, did he provide any details on his new position?

Hellin Hermetist
01-06-2014, 09:45 PM
Have you tried using the "menstruum" recommended by the author of an article published in the first volume of "The Astrologer and Oracle of Destiny"? He makes a purplish calx of gold by what seems to me an over-complicated process of making amalgams and solutions/digestions of gold in a specially prepared "aqua regia" (similar to Basil Valentine's "Water of the Fighters".) Then for a "particular" process which he claims makes an ounce of gold out of half an ounce of gold, he digests that purplish calx of gold with a solvent made by mixing spirit of wine and spirit of salt (though he does not mention in what proportions) and distilling it until it becomes "sweetish". He claims that by means of this solvent the "soul" or "sulfur" of the gold calx will be extracted, without "touching the body" (of the gold.) The "body" of gold is not dissolved but left at the bottom of the flask, it just loses its color and becomes "white". He then says that this "sulfur" of the gold "graduates" silver into gold (though he does not explain how is this supposed to be applied to silver), but only in the same amount as the gold from which it was extracted. So where is the gain in gold he promised from his process? Well, he also says that the "white body" of gold left behind in the extraction can be converted back to normal gold simply by cupelling it with lead and some copper. It regains all the characteristics of the original gold. Thus the alleged gain in gold from the process:

"Sulfur" extracted from half an ounce of gold -----------> Converts half an ounce of silver into gold

Whitened "body" from the extracted half an ounce of gold -----------> Turns back into gold by a simple cupellation with lead and copper

Total gold obtained: 1 full ounce of gold from just half an ounce of starting gold.

Quite obviously the author has copied his process from Basil's Valentine Last Wish and Testament. In the first part of the process Valentine dissolves pure metallic gold in the Water of the two combatants or in common Regis Aqua made from one part spirit of niter mixed with three parts spirit of salt. Valentine affirms that boths solvents gives exactly the same results and he is quite right in that point. His Regis Aqua is the same Regis Aqua you will prepare by using common chemicals bought from a chemical store.

In the second part Valentine cohobates his solvent (Aqua Regis) at the oily substance which has remained at the bottom of his retort, and after many repetitions of the process, he volatilize his gold and makes it to pass through the beak with the solvent. Modern chemist Lawrence Principe has succeeded in performing this volatilization of gold, working under the instructions of Valentine, and was quite astonished, as the results of the process didnt agree with the theories of modern chemistry.

So far so good. After that point Valentine evaporate his liquid solvent to get a red crystal or salt. He extracts the color of this salt with his second solvent. One part of spirit of salt to half a part spirit of wine is the right proportion. You have to distill thrice. After the solvent has extracted all the color he evaporates it to get his golden sulfur. He says that this transmutes Luna to Sun without given further instructions. The white body which remains at the bottom of the vessel he says that can be revived to metallic gold by melting with common copper.

As your author gives only Valentine's instructions without any details of his own, I guess that he copied the process from Valentine without working it.

Hellin Hermetist
01-06-2014, 10:02 PM
It should be noted that Stahl later on rejected most of these claims himself. Back when he wrote "Philosophical Principles" (1680s; 1730 is the publication date of the English translation), Stahl was a full-blown follower of Becher, who was an advocate for the alleged reality of these "animated" mercury claims. Later on Stahl became not as sympathetic toward alchemy and transmutation, keeping some of the theoretical principles (like the "Phlogiston" theory) of his master, while largely rejecting his transmutation claims.

Which are the process which Becher and Stahl proposed to animate the mercury? Sublimation from vitriol, niter and salt, and revivification of running mercury from the corrosive sublimate, as do Rusenstein, Lambspring, Piemontese and some others, or amalgamation of mercury with Luna and stellated martian regulus, washing and distillation of the mercury, as do Von Suchten, Cramer, Eirineaus, Yardley and others? Have you ever tried any of those experiments with common mercury?

Hellin Hermetist
01-06-2014, 10:38 PM
In one experiment 95% alcohol and azeotropic HCl acid were mixed (half -half volume) and left to digest on a gold leaf (not calx). The solution got a greenish color. The leaf was not altered visibly after 3 days.



Valentine also mentions sth about that when he speaks about the preparation of his second menstruum (spirit of salt distilled thrice with wine spirit). He writes:

"Be very careful in that preparation, as it requires a sublime technique and an experienced artist. Cause if your spirit is not rightly prepared, it shall attract only a weak green color instead of the red one".

In general Valentine seems to be much trustworthy.

lwowl
01-07-2014, 01:43 AM
:) I was kind of joking. I meant that it comes from live matter, maybe different from store bought ammonium chloride.

I think it is different from the store bought variety because the "Philosophical impurities" are absent in the commercial stuff. One would have to put them back in.


You mean like distill the residue of putrefied urine through wood ash? Maybe the potassium carbonate in the ash transforms into liquid?

I think it is the same idea behind the process. I've digested urine in wood soot then distilled it. The distillate was clear yellow and smelled of almonds and vanilla.

The experiment I mentioned was with the stinking red oil of grape wine purified through calcination on whitened grape wine tartar. After several sublimations the oil lost the stinking ammonia and cigar smoke smell. It was as clear as water with droplets of light yellow oil floating on it.


It seems an important book. It would be nice to have it and learn from its study. What I could find online is this, on scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/47671238/Alkymiens-Mysterier which needs someone to have a subscription in order to download.

I think it is the best alchemy treatise of the late 20th Century. That copy you found on scribd.com is Ole Jensen's rough translation that we were working on. It was not intended for general release. It was our working draft. It was only when I started to work again editing our draft that I saw someone had leaked the working copy onto the net.

Merelle's perspective is unique and profound. I'll redouble my efforts to get the edition he imagined done now.

JDP
01-07-2014, 02:42 AM
Hello JDP, when Stahl reversed his position, did he provide any details on his new position?

He did not explain exactly why he ended up rejecting his earlier position, if I remember correctly. Modern historians of science seem to think that he was just following the arising 18th century fashion of lashing out against "alchemy" and "gold-making".

JDP
01-07-2014, 02:51 AM
Quite obviously the author has copied his process from Basil's Valentine Last Wish and Testament. In the first part of the process Valentine dissolves pure metallic gold in the Water of the two combatants or in common Regis Aqua made from one part spirit of niter mixed with three parts spirit of salt. Valentine affirms that boths solvents gives exactly the same results and he is quite right in that point. His Regis Aqua is the same Regis Aqua you will prepare by using common chemicals bought from a chemical store.

In the second part Valentine cohobates his solvent (Aqua Regis) at the oily substance which has remained at the bottom of his retort, and after many repetitions of the process, he volatilize his gold and makes it to pass through the beak with the solvent. Modern chemist Lawrence Principe has succeeded in performing this volatilization of gold, working under the instructions of Valentine, and was quite astonished, as the results of the process didnt agree with the theories of modern chemistry.

So far so good. After that point Valentine evaporate his liquid solvent to get a red crystal or salt. He extracts the color of this salt with his second solvent. One part of spirit of salt to half a part spirit of wine is the right proportion. You have to distill thrice. After the solvent has extracted all the color he evaporates it to get his golden sulfur. He says that this transmutes Luna to Sun without given further instructions. The white body which remains at the bottom of the vessel he says that can be revived to metallic gold by melting with common copper.

As your author gives only Valentine's instructions without any details of his own, I guess that he copied the process from Valentine without working it.

Does that text attributed to Valentine mention the previous reduction of the gold into powder by means of mercury? The precipitation of the gold from its solution by means of mercury? It seems that the Valentine text does not mention the cupellation of the "whitened" gold + copper alloy, judging by your account of it. There might be variations between both texts.

Also: the production of faeces from the aqua regia solution by simple cooling to room temperature and also a simple digestion should not happen (is this in that text attributed to Valentine too?) Obviously there is something unusual here. Either the author is lying about this or covering up something that causes the gold to leave some precipitates behind, because normal aqua regia does not do this to gold.

JDP
01-07-2014, 03:08 AM
Which are the process which Becher and Stahl proposed to animate the mercury? Sublimation from vitriol, niter and salt, and revivification of running mercury from the corrosive sublimate, as do Rusenstein, Lambspring, Piemontese and some others, or amalgamation of mercury with Luna and stellated martian regulus, washing and distillation of the mercury, as do Von Suchten, Cramer, Eirineaus, Yardley and others? Have you ever tried any of those experiments with common mercury?

Becher approves of several processes regarding mercury. In the case of the "animated" one, he is talking about the one involving regulus of antimony.

Yes, I have tried several experiments in this regard, including the alleged "proof" of transmutation that von Suchten describes in his treatise on antimony, which involves "animating" the mercury from antimony-silver amalgams, and then treating copper and silver with it. I found it to be total and absolute nonsense. There was no gold found anywhere at the end. I find all these processes with "animated" mercury to be nothing but a lie. And so did Boyle, Newton, Wilson, Boerhaave, etc. who after long tests of these claims found absolutely nothing either. Starkey was the chief perpetrator of this myth. Von Suchten, the originator of this idea, never claimed that you could make the Philosophers' Stone with these methods, the most he ever claimed you could achieve with them was that particular process (which does not work either) that only serves to supposedly prove the reality of transmutation, and he says that you will gain no profit out of it, as the amount of gold supposedly produced cannot even pay for the expenses of making it. So in the end he actually ended up rejecting his own proposed methods. It was Starkey who later on took Suchten's claims and transplanted them onto the quest for the Stone, pretending that they would work (his surviving lab notebooks, however, show a very different picture than Starkey's public claims: he reaped nothing but failures with such methods.)

Illen A. Cluf
01-07-2014, 04:14 AM
He did not explain exactly why he ended up rejecting his earlier position, if I remember correctly. Modern historians of science seem to think that he was just following the arising 18th century fashion of lashing out against "alchemy" and "gold-making".

It's possible that, like so many, he had his teaching profession to protect, and that this was more important than airing his personal beliefs. But then again, perhaps he was filled with hope and "wanted" to believe, but after repeated experimentation realized that perhaps there was nothing to alchemy after all. Irregardless, I find much value in his book.

Hellin Hermetist
01-07-2014, 10:36 AM
Does that text attributed to Valentine mention the previous reduction of the gold into powder by means of mercury?

Yes it does. At the beginning of his process Valentine makes an amalgam with gold and mercury and after that he evaporates the mercury to reduce his gold to a metallic calx. But thats point isnt crucial. Any other procedure which will reduce the Metal to the state of a thin calx is also accepted.


The precipitation of the gold from its solution by means of mercury? It seems that the Valentine text does not mention the cupellation of the "whitened" gold + copper alloy, judging by your account of it. There might be variations between both texts.

No Valentine's texet doesnt make any reference to precipitation of the dissolved gold with mercury or to cuppelation.


Also: the production of faeces from the aqua regia solution by simple cooling to room temperature and also a simple digestion should not happen (is this in that text attributed to Valentine too?) Obviously there is something unusual here. Either the author is lying about this or covering up something that causes the gold to leave some precipitates behind, because normal aqua regia does not do this to gold.

Valentine also says that if you find any feces after the solution you have to separate them. I suppose that those feces must result from some impurity at his sal ammoniac ,as he says that if you use spirit of salt instead of sal ammoniac to prepare your solvent you shall have a better and clearer solution.

theFool
01-07-2014, 10:52 AM
The preparation belongs under the general class of "aqua regias". This particular method of preparing it was suggested to some 17th century seekers who interpreted the second "key" of Basil Valentine as meaning a distillation of saltpeter ("the Icy Dragon") and sal ammoniac ("the Eagle".) Commentators of that text often gave this preparation the name of "Water of the Two Fighters". [...] The modern chemist/historian of science Lawrence Principe actually prepared a sample of it, and he confirms that it indeed does dissolve gold (see his "Secrets of Alchemy", pages 147 to 149.) I myself many years ago made some experiments along these lines using other nitrates, just to see what might happen. The one using lead nitrate scared the pants out of me when I saw a blue flame appear all of a sudden inside the distilling flask! I immediately stopped heating the mixture, afraid that pushing it further might cause an explosion of the vessel due to violent expanding gases. This definately requires confirmation and further research. The author of the book you refer to, seems credible, it would be interesting to research this special aqua regia by experiment.



I think it is the same idea behind the process. I've digested urine in wood soot then distilled it. The distillate was clear yellow and smelled of almonds and vanilla.
That's a pleasant "transmutation" of smells and a bit surprising to observe because "digested urine" usually will not bring forth any of those aromas (on the contrary.. :) )


I think it is the best alchemy treatise of the late 20th Century. That copy you found on scribd.com is Ole Jensen's rough translation that we were working on. It was not intended for general release. It was our working draft. It was only when I started to work again editing our draft that I saw someone had leaked the working copy onto the net.

Merelle's perspective is unique and profound. I'll redouble my efforts to get the edition he imagined done now. Thanks for your efforts and valuable sharing.

theFool
01-07-2014, 11:17 AM
All of the books discussed in this thread, have their corresponding thread in the "Alchemical Texts" section of the forum.

The Astrologer and Oracle of Destiny, Vol1 (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3856-The-Astrologer-and-Oracle-of-Destiny-Vol1)
The Secrets of Alchemy (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3855-Book-The-Secrets-of-Alchemy)
Philosphical Principles of Universal Chemistry (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3853-Book-quot-Philosphical-Principles-of-Universal-Chemistry-quot)
Mysteries of Alchemy, Merelle (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3852-Book-quot-Alkymiens-Mysterier-quot)
Sal ammoniacus, nusadir und salmiak (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3851-Book-quot-Sal-ammoniacus-nusadir-und-salmiak-quot)

Thank you for sharing those resources with the forum!

Also, please check if your future discussion of various processes described in those books could be posted in the corresponding thread so we could keep things tidy :)

Hellin Hermetist
01-07-2014, 11:21 AM
Becher approves of several processes regarding mercury. In the case of the "animated" one, he is talking about the one involving regulus of antimony.

Yes, I have tried several experiments in this regard, including the alleged "proof" of transmutation that von Suchten describes in his treatise on antimony, which involves "animating" the mercury from antimony-silver amalgams, and then treating copper and silver with it. I found it to be total and absolute nonsense. There was no gold found anywhere at the end. I find all these processes with "animated" mercury to be nothing but a lie.

Thanks for those infos. Did you observe any curious phenomena during those researches, like the decrease of the weight of your mercury while you extracted the blackness by the washings of your amalgam? Did the amalgam impart any blackness to the water at all?



And so did Boyle, Newton, Wilson, Boerhaave, etc. who after long tests of these claims found absolutely nothing either. Starkey was the chief perpetrator of this myth. Von Suchten, the originator of this idea, never claimed that you could make the Philosophers' Stone with these methods, the most he ever claimed you could achieve with them was that particular process (which does not work either) that only serves to supposedly prove the reality of transmutation, and he says that you will gain no profit out of it, as the amount of gold supposedly produced cannot even pay for the expenses of making it. So in the end he actually ended up rejecting his own proposed methods. It was Starkey who later on took Suchten's claims and transplanted them onto the quest for the Stone, pretending that they would work (his surviving lab notebooks, however, show a very different picture than Starkey's public claims: he reaped nothing but failures with such methods.)

Even Valentine rejects the work with the martian regulus in his Chariot of Antimony, but Newton in his Clavis says that he had got some interesting results following this method. The other common method of the medieval chemists to purify metallic mercury was either by sublimation from niter, vitriol and salt, or by dissolution in nitric acid and precipitation with common salt or spirit of salt.

Rusenstein writes about that:

"If I dissolve Silver, which may contain some atoms of Copper, in pure Aqua Fortis, and precipitate the solution with sea salt, the Silver alone and pure is precipitated like a milk or a white cloud, while the Copper remains in the solution.
If you follow the same process using mercury instead of Silver, you will find that mercury contains crudities which it disposes in the water. These crudities dont precipitate anymore than those of Luna. Revive your mercury and weight it, and you will see that it has lost 1/4 of its weight, sometimes even more. That happens because any impurity there was in the mercury, even in a virgin running mercury, remains in the water and can not precipitated.
But to prove that this is true, evaprorate the water which you decant from your mercury precipitate, and you will find a sentiment as black as ink. If you put this in a glowing coal, it flies off like lighting. This poisonous sulfur hinders the operation as well as the fixation of mercury. But if you purify your mercury following my instructions your mercury will be fit for all operations and really a master over all metals."

Thats simple process with solution of mercury in nitric acid and precipitation with common salt is the purification of Rusenstein, and I believe that it shall not give the interesting results about which he is speaking.

JDP
01-07-2014, 12:15 PM
Thanks for those infos. Did you observe any curious phenomena during those researches, like the decrease of the weight of your mercury while you extracted the blackness by the washings of your amalgam? Did the amalgam impart any blackness to the water at all?

When you grind the amalgam with water, or with salt and water, it does expel a black powder, but this is nothing else other than the antimony. Antimony amalgams are easily decomposed by water. There is nothing "strange" here.

The only thing somewhat different I noticed is that the "animated" mercury seems to amalgamate more readily, even with metals like copper. But that's about it. There is nothing I would call "extraordinary" in any of these operations.


Even Valentine rejects the work with the martian regulus in his Chariot of Antimony, but Newton in his Clavis says that he had got some interesting results following this method. The other common method of the medieval chemists to purify metallic mercury was either by sublimation from niter, vitriol and salt, or by dissolution in nitric acid and precipitation with common salt or spirit of salt.

Newton's "Clavis" was really by Starkey (Boyle was in contact with Starkey and from Boyle this document reached Newton.) Newton was fooled, like countless others, into wasting lots of time and money trying to make the Philosophers' Stone with these operations because of Starkey's assurances that they supposedly worked. None of them, not Newton, not Boyle, not Wilson, not Boerhaave, not anyone who put Starkey's "animated mercury" claims to the test found anything with such methods. Furthermore, Principe and Newman discovered and published some surviving lab notebooks of Starkey, and they also show that he himself reaped nothing but failures with such methods. To me it's amazing to see that there's still people in this day and age who have faith in these claims, when not even their very own originator got anywhere with them.


Rusenstein writes about that:

"If I dissolve Silver, which may contain some atoms of Copper, in pure Aqua Fortis, and precipitate the solution with sea salt, the Silver alone and pure is precipitated like a milk or a white cloud, while the Copper remains in the solution.
If you follow the same process using mercury instead of Silver, you will find that mercury contains crudities which it disposes in the water. These crudities dont precipitate anymore than those of Luna. Revive your mercury and weight it, and you will see that it has lost 1/4 of its weight, sometimes even more. That happens because any impurity there was in the mercury, even in a virgin running mercury, remains in the water and can not precipitated.
But to prove that this is true, evaprorate the water which you decant from your mercury precipitate, and you will find a sentiment as black as ink. If you put this in a glowing coal, it flies off like lighting. This poisonous sulfur hinders the operation as well as the fixation of mercury. But if you purify your mercury following my instructions your mercury will be fit for all operations and really a master over all metals."

That simple process with solution of mercury in nitric acid and precipitation with common salt is the purification of Rusenstein, and I believe that it shall not give the interesting results about which he is speaking.

Yes, this is a simple purification of the mercury. Some of the mercury they were working with was contaminated with other metals, so such methods would get rid of most of impurities and leave a better, purer mercury. But that's as far as it goes. None of these solutions and precipitations does anything else to the mercury, it still remains the same mercury it always was.

theFool
01-07-2014, 06:24 PM
Back to the subject of this thread, let me post one more "recipie" involving sal ammoniac and gold. It comes from the book "Treatise on Gold" by Agricola.
He makes gold into leaves first and...

The gold will become quite soft and can be pounded and rubbed. Now mix it with calcined antlers and reverberate it on a cupel but not too strongly, for a whole day. The gold will turn almost the color of bricks. Then it is correctly and well calcined, and you may be sure that you cannot get a better calcination. It will become so subtle that it can easily be used in medicines for several sicknesses without further preparation,
for this calx is sweet and not contaminated by any corrosive.
A calx of gold is made here which is red, sweet and medicinal..
Can ammonium chloride perform the same feat as the calcined antlers? It should not be very difficult to test that...

theFool
01-07-2014, 10:39 PM
Valentine also mentions sth about that when he speaks about the preparation of his second menstruum (spirit of salt distilled thrice with wine spirit). He writes:

"Be very careful in that preparation, as it requires a sublime technique and an experienced artist. Cause if your spirit is not rightly prepared, it shall attract only a weak green color instead of the red one".
Why would you think that hydrochloric acid distilled thrice with alcohol will make a better extraction than simply hydrochloric acid and alcohol? For example JDP mentioned before that some reaction might happen between them. I am curious about your opinion. Why the bad one extracts a greeness and the other, the good one, a redness. In what way they differ?

Hellin Hermetist
01-08-2014, 03:38 PM
Why would you think that hydrochloric acid distilled thrice with alcohol will make a better extraction than simply hydrochloric acid and alcohol? For example JDP mentioned before that some reaction might happen between them. I am curious about your opinion. Why the bad one extracts a greeness and the other, the good one, a redness. In what way they differ?

I guess that they differ in the proportions, and mainly at the quality of the wine's spirit, which must be fully dephlegmated using tartar or some other way. The triple distillation with wine spirit seems that it was a common practice for the dulcification of the corrosive spirits, but I believe that only one distillation shall give the exactly the same results, as one sublimation of mercury from the salts shall give the same corrosive sublimate with the one which has been sublimed seven successive times. This must be another fault of the older chemists.

Dont forget that in this process you extract the color of the volatilized salt of gold and not of metallic gold.

Hellin Hermetist
01-08-2014, 03:45 PM
This definately requires confirmation and further research. The author of the book you refer to, seems credible, it would be interesting to research this special aqua regia by experiment.

Don't forget that those commentators of Valentine affirms that this Regis Aqua which is produced by the sublimation of niter and salmiac gives exactly the same results with common Regis Aqua produced by a mixture of spirit of salt with spirit of niter, with the only difference that the latter is purer than the former. The interesting part here begins when you volatilize the oily golden solution by reiterated cohobations and distillations of the Aqua Regis.

theFool
01-08-2014, 05:33 PM
I guess that they differ in the proportions, and mainly at the quality of the wine's spirit, which must be fully dephlegmated using tartar or some other way. I understand that the question posed is probably untouchable by our curent level of knowledge and that we can only do is speculations. However I can not but point out a flaw in this explanation as I see it. What is the point of dephlegmating completely the wine spirit if you are going to mix it with spirit of salt? Spirit of salt is mostly common water with a the HCl gas dissolved in it.


The interesting part here begins when you volatilize the oily golden solution by reiterated cohobations and distillations of the Aqua Regis. I have seen a partial volatilization happening in lab when evaporating gold solutions in AR. Some of the green solution was condensed in the top of my flask. I'm sure that some of it can escape into the air.

delphinny
09-22-2014, 12:11 AM
Friends, I have tried mixing equal volumes of hydrochloric acid and everclear alcohol (purest you can get without using potassium carbonate to extract the rest of the alcohol from it), I distilled it 3 times.

Anyways it did not dissolve the gold or change its color, it was bubbling in it when I heated it tho but this does not indicate any reaction taking place. I have experienced a color change by boiling gold foil in hydrochloric acid for several hours (by itself).

if anyone tries this please do not use home depot hydrochloric acid because it is not 100% hydrochloric acid.
I believe the spirit of Salt must be of great strength in order for this to work.

Oh yeah, and when alchemists dont tell you how much to use, ALWAYS first assume equal volumes or masses!

just my 2 cents :)

JDP
09-22-2014, 07:28 AM
if anyone tries this please do not use home depot hydrochloric acid because it is not 100% hydrochloric acid.
I believe the spirit of Salt must be of great strength in order for this to work.

Strange. What brand of hydrochloric acid did you buy there? The one I buy at the local Home Depots is sold under the older name of "muriatic acid" and is the same one used for swimming pools, and it is pure hydrochloric acid, and quite concentrated too, the one that "fumes" when you open the bottle (in older times it was called "fuming hydrochloric acid".)

But if by 100% hydrochloric acid you mean the concentration of HCl, then it simply is impossible to get "100% hydrochloric acid" except in gaseous form. The maximum amount of it that water can dissolve is around 40%. The commercial solutions that you can buy at Home Depot and swimming pool supply stores are around 31%.

theFool
09-22-2014, 07:45 AM
Anyways it did not dissolve the gold or change its color, it was bubbling in it when I heated it tho but this does not indicate any reaction taking place. I have experienced a color change by boiling gold foil in hydrochloric acid for several hours (by itself). Hello,
May I ask, what is your point here? The acid can extract a color from gold leaf without dissolving it (do I guess right)?
What is the color of the extract?

It would be interesting if it does not dissolve the leaf at all, but I think it just dissolves it in very small amounts and gives the yellow color of gold chloride.

Ghislain
09-22-2014, 01:55 PM
Aqua regia dissolves gold, though neither constituent acid will do so alone, because, in combination, each acid performs a different task. Nitric acid is a powerful oxidizer, which will actually dissolve a virtually undetectable amount of gold, forming gold ions (Au3+). The hydrochloric acid provides a ready supply of chloride ions (Cl−), which react with the gold ions to produce tetrachloridoaurate(III) anions, also in solution. The reaction with hydrochloric acid is an equilibrium reaction which favors formation of chloroaurate anions (AuCl4−). This results in a removal of gold ions from solution and allows further oxidation of gold to take place. The gold dissolves to become chloroauric acid. In addition, gold may be dissolved by the free chlorine present in aqua regia

Source:Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_regia)

So the boiling of the gold leaf in HCl could be that there are Au3+ ions present on the gold leaf already and the chloride ions (Cl-) are reacting with this.

It would be interesting if the used gold leaf could be removed and washed from the first solution and the experiment repeated using this gold leaf, if no colour appears on the second run then it could be assumed that this was the case.

Ghislain

JDP
09-23-2014, 06:49 AM
Hello,
May I ask, what is your point here? The acid can extract a color from gold leaf without dissolving it (do I guess right)?
What is the color of the extract?

It would be interesting if it does not dissolve the leaf at all, but I think it just dissolves it in very small amounts and gives the yellow color of gold chloride.

There's several "chymists" who claimed that "spirit of salt" takes away the "sulfur" or "tincture" of gold, which can be found dissolved in the acid liquor, and leaving behind at the bottom of the flask a "white earth" (supposedly gold minus the principle or tincture that gives it its characteristic color.) See, for example, Bauderon & Verny's "Pharmacopée", pp. 910-911, the preparation of "potable gold":

http://books.google.com/books?id=Bi9Pk4Ej4NsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=La+pharmacop%C3%A9e+de+Bauderon+1693&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kBAhVP6kIsGHyASHyoGgBg&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Of course, these claims were made in an age when modern industrial methods of manufacturing hydrochloric acid were not around, the "spirit of salt" they were talking about was made by high temperature distillation of mixtures of common salt with some materials (usually raw clay, due to its cheapness) inside stoneware or luted glass retorts. It would be a matter of actually bothering to distill several of such mixtures and then testing the resulting distillates on gold powder or thin sheets to see whether there is any truth to such claims. But actually preparing these distillates is more difficult than it sounds to people without experience in these matters. First of all, finding already made stoneware retorts nowadays is virtually impossible, you will only see them in museums. So unless you are a skilled potter with access to a workshop where you can shape and fire such vessels, you will have to hire a potter to make them specially for you, if you can actually manage to find one who even wants to take on such jobs, that is (trust me, I have been there before; most of them simply won't be interested in such projects, unless you offer them a good amount of money for their troubles. They just prefer to stay on the beaten path and keep on making decorative pottery, for which they are often handsomely paid.) If not, then you will have to use large glass flasks or bottles and lute them with a thick coating of mixtures of clay and sand so that they don't actually melt inside your furnace and make a complete mess of its bottom. Then you will have to build or buy the furnace to accommodate the flasks/bottles/retorts. It is not something that anyone will be able to do in just a couple of days by "MacGyvering" his way through it with readily available modern distillation flasks and bunsen burners.

theFool
09-23-2014, 03:05 PM
Of course, these claims were made in an age when modern industrial methods of manufacturing hydrochloric acid were not around, the "spirit of salt" they were talking about was made by high temperature distillation of mixtures of common salt with some materials (usually raw clay, due to its cheapness) inside stoneware or luted glass retorts.Yes, spirit of salt is different than hydrochloric acid. It has "something" more in it.
I think that you can make spirit of salt in various ways, there is no need to use clay and high temperature. Even when starting with hydrochloric acid, you can add the "something" into it and use it as a spirit of salt.
What if the hydrochloric acid attracts "something" from the alcohol and becomes able to do the extraction as delphinny has described?

One could test if the extraction went well in this manner: The extracted golden color should not contain any gold atoms in it (negative tin chloride test) and the white body left behind would be chemically non-reactive (insoluble in AR or HCl/H2O2). Working with gold calx (or the thinnest leaf) would accelerate the process.

But the most possible explanation of the yellow coloration is that small amounts of gold are dissolved in the acid. I don't know how they get oxidized in that case, maybe some catalytic process goes on.

Book added in the texts section: http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?4114-Book-quot-La-Pharmacop%E9e-de-Bauderon-quot . Thanks JDP.

theFool
09-24-2014, 07:36 AM
Anyways it did not dissolve the gold or change its color, it was bubbling in it when I heated it tho but this does not indicate any reaction taking place. I have experienced a color change by boiling gold foil in hydrochloric acid for several hours (by itself) Just tried the experiment with gold leaf and HCl azeotropic (store bought). It does extract a yellow color out of the leaf. The leaf does not turn white but it does get thinner. Gold calx behaves similarly. As long as you put fresh HCl, it extracts a color. I can't figure out yet if the gold calx will vanish in the end, but I guess it will.

JDP
09-24-2014, 01:32 PM
Just tried the experiment with gold leaf and HCl azeotropic (store bought). It does extract a yellow color out of the leaf. The leaf does not turn white but it does get thinner. Gold calx behaves similarly. As long as you put fresh HCl, it extracts a color. I can't figure out yet if the gold calx will vanish in the end, but I guess it will.

That means some of it is going into solution, it is not really decomposing the gold. You should be able to recover it.

JDP
09-24-2014, 01:37 PM
Yes, spirit of salt is different than hydrochloric acid. It has "something" more in it.
I think that you can make spirit of salt in various ways, there is no need to use clay and high temperature. Even when starting with hydrochloric acid, you can add the "something" into it and use it as a spirit of salt.
What if the hydrochloric acid attracts "something" from the alcohol and becomes able to do the extraction as delphinny has described?

One could test if the extraction went well in this manner: The extracted golden color should not contain any gold atoms in it (negative tin chloride test) and the white body left behind would be chemically non-reactive (insoluble in AR or HCl/H2O2). Working with gold calx (or the thinnest leaf) would accelerate the process.

But the most possible explanation of the yellow coloration is that small amounts of gold are dissolved in the acid. I don't know how they get oxidized in that case, maybe some catalytic process goes on.

Book added in the texts section: http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?4114-Book-quot-La-Pharmacop%E9e-de-Bauderon-quot . Thanks JDP.

I think that if there are any differences between the old "spirit of salt" and modern industrial hydrochloric acid it must be due to the manner of its preparation. Something may happen during those high temperature solid reactions between the common salt and the other materials that were mixed with it that might produce some volatile products that are absent from the modern purer hydrochloric acid manufactured by other methods.

theFool
09-25-2014, 10:17 AM
That means some of it is going into solution, it is not really decomposing the gold. You should be able to recover it. Yes, I can recover a black precipitate out of the yellowish solution. So the mystery is solved I guess. Remains to explain how the HCl alone can oxidize the gold.

JDP
09-25-2014, 02:37 PM
Yes, I can recover a black precipitate out of the yellowish solution. So the mystery is solved I guess. Remains to explain how the HCl alone can oxidize the gold.

Presence of free chlorine in the acid, maybe.

But it does not really fully solve the "mystery" of this claim. To fully confirm it or refute it, samples of "spirit of salt" distilled the old-fashioned way (viz. by strong heating of solid mixtures of common salt with raw clay or alum) should be tested and see if the effects on gold are different than with modern industrial hydrochloric acid.

theFool
09-25-2014, 03:39 PM
But it does not really fully solve the "mystery" of this claim. To fully confirm it or refute it, samples of "spirit of salt" distilled the old-fashioned way (viz. by strong heating of solid mixtures of common salt with raw clay or alum) should be tested and see if the effects on gold are different than with modern industrial hydrochloric acid. I guess that the "spirit of salt" will have hydrochloric acid (HCl) in it because of the way it is manufactured. We know that hydrochloric acid (HCl) can dissolve gold by itself. So, gold chloride will inevitably contaminate the final tincture (it happens that gold chloride is soluble in alcohol too). Just some thoughts.

Hellin Hermetist
09-25-2014, 09:01 PM
It seems that those type of procedures became quite popular at the era of Basil Valentine, who, at the third book of his twelve keys, teaches a particular away to volatilize gold with aqua regia, evaporate the solvent, and extract a red tincture from the remaining gold calx using spirit of salt thrice distilled with spirit of wine. I copy the author's own words.

"The common spirit of salt, which is extracted according to the direction given in my last declaration, if there be added to it a small quantity of the "spirit of the dragon," dissolves, volatilizes, and raises together with itself in the alembic, gold and silver; just as the "eagle," together with the spirit of the dragon (which is found in stony places), before the spirit is separated from its body, is much more powerful in producing fixation than volatility.

This I also say, that if the spirit of common salt be joined to the spirit of wine, and distilled together with it, it becomes sweet, and loses its acidity. This prepared spirit does not dissolve gold bodily, but if it be poured on prepared calx of gold, it extracts the essence of its colour and redness. If this be rightly done, it reduces the white and pure moon to the colour of that body from which it was itself extracted. The old body may also receive back its former colour through the love of alluring Venus, from whose blood it, in the first instance, derived its origin."

You can find more details about the process at the same author's Will and Testament.
It would be interesting to mention here what Joachim Poleman, follower of Van Helmont, has to say about those processes in his NOUVELLE LUMIERE DE MEDECINE DU MYSTERE DU SOUFRE, when he speaks about a similar volatilization of copper. That author says:

C'est pourquoi la susdite dissolution & l'esprit vert volatilisé , & à plus forte raison. les fausses huiles, esprits ou essences métalliques des Chimistes vulgaires , d'Hartman , Penotus, Crollius, Libavius , Agricola , Béguin, Rhennanus, Fabre de Montpellier , Glaubert, Kesler, & de plusieurs autres semblables, dont les livres sont dans les mains de tout le monde, ne sont autre chose , comme nôtre Philosophe appelle ses premières folies sur l'or : Que des fausses liqueurs & fausses essences, qui n'ont que l'apparence des
dissolutions essentielles, & ne sont en effet rien moins, parce qu'on en peut faire le même composé , qu'ils étaient avant leur dissolution , en sorte que le Curieux de rechercher la vérité , n'aurait: que de la confusion de s'amuser à ces sortes de fausses & spécieuses essences

That means:

Τhat's the reason why the aforementioned dissolution and the green volatilized spirit, and even more than that, all the false metallic oils, spirits and essences of the vulgar chemists, of Hartman, Pennot, Crollius, Libavius, Agricola, Beguin, Faber of Mentpellier, Glauber, Kessler and others, whose books are in the hands of all the world, aren't anything else than false liquers and false essences - as our author (he means Helmont) also calls the results of his first vain experiments with gold -, which may have the appearance of an essential metallic dissolution, but they are not, because the dissolved bodies can take again the form they had before their dissolution takes place.

And the same author continues:

Ce que l'experinaenté Chimiâtre & laborieux Scrutateur de la .nature Zvvelsserus confirme dans ses écrits en disant, que toutes les essences & teintures métalliques connues jusqu'à présent , ne sont autre chose qu'une dissolution des corps métalliques , & non pas de vraies séparations des teintures & des âmes de leurs corps.

It is that which the experienced chemiatrus and untired researcher of the natural secrets, Zvelsserus, affirms in his writings, when he says that all the metallic assences and teintures which are known till today, arent any other thing than a dissolution of the metallic bodies, instead of the separation of the teintures and souls from their bodies.

black
09-26-2014, 01:13 AM
Part of the Fifth Gate of Ripley

________________________________________
The Fifth Gate
Putrefaction


Now we begin the chapter of Putrefaction,
Without which pole no seed may multiply,
Which must be done only by continual action,
Of heat in the body, moist not manually.
For bodies else may not be altered naturally,
Since Christ doth witness, unless the grain of wheat die in the ground,
Increase may thou not get.

And likewise unless the matter putrefy,
It may in no way truly be altered,
Neither may thy elements be divided kindly,
Nor the conjunction of them perfectly celebrated,
That thy labour therefore be not frustrated,
The privitie of our putrefying well understand,
Before ever you take this work in hand.

And Putrefaction may thus be defined, after philosophers sayings,
To be the slaying of bodies,
And in our compound a division of things three,
Leading forth into the corruption of killed bodies,
And after enabling them unto regeneration,
For things being in the earth, without doubt,
Be engendered of rotation in the heavens about.

And therefore as I have said before,
Thine elements commixed and wisely coequate,
Thou keep in temperate heat,
Eschewing evermore that they be not incinerate by violent heat,
To dry powder, unprofitably rubificated,
But into powder black as a crow's bill,
With heat of the Bath or else of our dunghill.

Until the time that ninety nights be passed,
In moist heat keep them for any thing,
Soon after by blackness you shall espy,
That they draw close to putrefying,
Which after many colours you shall bring,
With patience easily to perfect whiteness,

And so thy seed in his nature will multiply.

theFool
09-29-2014, 11:49 AM
It seems that those type of procedures became quite popular at the era of Basil Valentine, who, at the third book of his twelve keys, teaches a particular away to volatilize gold with aqua regia, evaporate the solvent, and extract a red tincture from the remaining gold calx using spirit of salt thrice distilled with spirit of wine. I copy the author's own words.
...Interestingly, Glauber talks about this matter too in his "Spagyrical Pharmacopoea". He states that where Valentine mentions distillation, he means to kindle the alcohol with fire:


http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/13/27/64/97/glaub110.png