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View Full Version : A different aqua regia; ways to correctly prepare/dissolve gold



theFool
02-14-2014, 09:13 PM
In this thread we will try to demistify the correct dissolution/prepareation of gold. I will cite first some of my sources in order to set the general guidlines of the discussion.

Sources:

The idea for this thread started from our discussion here (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3829-Ammonium-chloride-can-make-calx-of-gold). During our discussion about the ability of ammonium chloride to dissolve gold, two interesting references were presented:
- (1) One from the book "Alkymiens Mysterier" (thanks to lwowl)
- (2) And one from the magazine "Astrologer of fate ..", (thanks to JDP)

In brief, those two references speak of a different "aqua regia" to dissolve gold. They want us to distill together potassium nitrate and ammonium chloride and obtain the aqua regia that will dissolve gold. In the book "Alkymiens Mysterier" we are told that the fumes of such a mixture will dissolve gold in a special way. First it will turn "white, as a skeleton", then orange and finaly red.

I have looked for similar operations in RAMS and found two more sources describing the manufacture of a red gold. One (3) comes from the book "The Book of Formulas" from John Hazelrigg. In brief, he tells us that common aqua regia of apothecaries will not dissolve gold properly. There are four preparations of aqua regia that will prepare it correctly. In one of them he distills potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride and pebbles..

Finally, there is the testimony of Agricola, in his book "Treatise on Gold" (4), where he prepares a red gold by calcining it with antlers. Antlers contain ammonium salts; I don't know if they contain nitrate salts also, I hope we could verify it experimentally.
He speaks also of calcining gold with the salt found in dew.

I am sure there are more similar references to be found about this issue and you are invited to add what you find, if interested to do so.

Here are the interesting quotes from the above references.

(1)

When ammonium chloride was distilled together with potassium nitrate- salpeter, sal petri,
or sal nitre- as it was called, on 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.

(2)

Take one part of saltpetre, well purified, and grind with it the like quantity of sal-ammoniac, and half as much of pebbles, very well cleansed and washed. Mingle all these ingredients together, and put them into an earthen retort, that the spirits may not come through, and put the same into a distilling furnace; the retort must have a pipe behind, and attach as large a receiver as you can obtain to the retort. The receiver must lie in a vessel full of cold water, and a wet cloth must be wrapped round it, which you must continually touch with another wet cloth; then again evaporate so much matter into your retort until all is gone into it, and the water is prepared.

(3)
http://i56.servimg.com/u/f56/13/27/64/97/formu110.png

(4)

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.

[...]

Some assert that gold can be calcined with the salt of rainwater,
May dew, or hail. If it is put in it while in flux, it is supposed
to tunn into a delicate powder, which can aftenwards melt in any
kind of liquid.
If that were so, it would indeed be a Fine thing,
and of would myself think highly of it as it would be quite a handy
means, However ...

We should also mention what is this red gold used for. In the two last references the red gold is used in order to draw a red tincure out of it. I don't know if this red tincture comes from the dissolution of the gold itself or something different is happening. In the book "Alkymiens Mysterier", the red gold is sealed up hermetically in a flask, a small heat is sustained under it and it continues its evolution. Something similar might happen when a tincture is drawn by the lengthy digestion.

Theories:

All our sources require us to use the ammonium ion. From a chemical viewpoint, we know that ammonia can dissolve metals in a special way .. not chemically but forming complexes with them.
Our first reference, make the dissolving fumes by heating ammonium chloride with potassium nitrate salt together. Again, chemistry tells us that ammonium nitrate and potassium chloride can form. Ammonium nitrate will decompose on high heat, thus shifting the equilibrium of the reaction towards the formation of more ammonium nitrate. Upon decomposition it gives water, nitrous oxide and small quantities of other nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2). Nitrous oxide in water may form a corresponding acid. Keep in mind that Merelle in the book "Alkymiens Mysterier" says that also dew contains this salt and that it can interact with gold in a special way.

A second reaction that takes place in parallel is the sublimation of ammonium chloride. It is extremely corrosive and some sources say that it can carry the sulfur of a metal with it. This could explain also the formation of the red gold. In that case the nitrate salt is not needed. Chemically speaking, the ammonium ion will make a complex with gold under the conditions of high heat (operation similar to the dissolution of copper in ammonia). Mention also that when a metal is dissolved into an ammonia complex, it loses its metallic bonds and becomes monoatomic, attached to the ammonia molecule.

Practice.
I thought of some experiments which should not be carried out (except for the second (2) one which seems to be safe enough) because they are dangerous:

(Working with fumes)
1) Heat ammonium chloride and potassium nitrate in a flask and let the fumes interact with gold leaf. Add more as the process goes on. It will turn transparent-white, then orange-red.
2) Do the same using only ammonium chloride. Will the leaf be transformed in the same way?

(Extraction)
3) How does the calcined leaf interact with a) water, b) store bought ethanol, c) distilled alcohol from wine d) GW spirit. Will it acquire a rosy-red color?
4) Perform the above experiments with "live" ammonium chloride. Will it give the same results? Maybe it perform better in the extraction.

(Liquid AR)
5) Is it true that distilling together ammonium chloride and potassium nitrate can give a liquid aqua regia?
6) What is the role of pebbles? We could say that pebbles are used at the distillation in order to protect the mixture from exploding. But their role could be more vital. Who knows if something important is extracted out of them by the ammonium chloride. Also, note that in "the dissolvent of Tentzelius" recipe, the caput mortem of pebbles is extracted and used ...

(ammonium nitrate)
7) Melt ammonium nitrate (this can ingite, explode and emmit poisonous fumes). with a gold leaf in it. The leaf should be calcined into a white dust. Extract it.
8) Distill ammonium nitrate (this can surely ingite or explode. Besides, it will give off N2O, a gas that is not allowed exist in some countries). Will it give the same result as experiment (5)?

Needless to say that heating ammonium nitrate alone or other nitrate sources will easily lead to ignition and flask shattering. Expect it to happen and use small quantities. Anyway, those experiments are inherently dangerous and are not meant to be actually carried out. Neither they are endorsed by me. They are exposed here as a mental excercise only! :)

Hellin Hermetist
02-15-2014, 05:39 PM
Your second solvent, the one described in "Astrologer of Fate", has been described with great details at earlier texts, such as "Last Will and Testament", supposedly by B.V., and "Traite de Chymie Philosophique et Hermetique, enrichi des Operations les plus Curious de Art". The authors of both those treatises, after giving the manual operation which will allow you to produce the regis aqua using an earthen coated retort, niter, ammonium chloride and peebles, dont forget to say:

" Nevertheless I assure you, that the spirit of salt gives exactly the same result as the water of the two champions, and its preparation is not so dangerous and demanding. Take then three parts of that spirit of common salt, add one part spirit of niter, and in this way you will get an excellent aqua regia, which dissolves gold better than the spirit made by sal ammoniac, and by repeated distillations makes the gold ascend and pass through the beak of the retort in the receiver."

Ps: Gold is very expensive in our days. Do you have some good quantity of this metal to try those experiments?

horticult
02-15-2014, 08:31 PM
> theFool, Hellin Hermetist
very well done, thx!

theFool
02-15-2014, 09:12 PM
Thanks for your input Hellin Hermetist.



" Nevertheless I assure you, that the spirit of salt gives exactly the same result as the water of the two champions, and its preparation is not so dangerous and demanding. Take then three parts of that spirit of common salt, add one part spirit of niter, and in this way you will get an excellent aqua regia, which dissolves gold better than the spirit made by sal ammoniac, and by repeated distillations makes the gold ascend and pass through the beak of the retort in the receiver." Do you think this spirit of salt is the same as the common hydrochloric acid we use today? If it is made from clay and salt probably it is different.



Ps: Gold is very expensive in our days. Do you have some good quantity of this metal to try those experiments? If someone is going to use the thinnest gold leaf, I think it will be very cheap.

theFool
02-16-2014, 01:26 PM
The similar recipe of B.V. in the book "Last Will and Testament" can be found under the title "The preparation of the water" p.336 (or p.363 in RAMS document). This recipe seems to be an addition after the end of the book, probably not written by B.V. himself.
I haven't found yet where exactly he speaks of using common aqua regia for the same purpose.

I would be surprised if the distillation of sal ammoniac and potassium nitrate can give common aqua regia (HCl, HNO3). From a chemical viewpoint we start with NH4Cl and KNO3. Is it possible to reach to HCl and HNO3 by distillation?

And a similar recipe from the "Art of Distillation":


AQUA REGIA OR STYGIA OR A STRONG SPIRIT THAT WILL DISSOLVE GOLD IS MADE THUS
Take of nitre two parts, salt armoniac one part, and the powder of flints three parts. Put them into a glass retort coated or earthen retort that will endure the fire. Distill them by degrees over a naked fire for the space of 24 hours. Take it out and rectify it. This water will dissolve gold.

Hellin Hermetist
02-16-2014, 02:18 PM
The similar recipe of B.V. in the book "Last Will and Testament" can be found under the title "The preparation of the water" p.336 (or p.363 in RAMS document). This recipe seems to be an addition after the end of the book, probably not written by B.V. himself.
I haven't found yet where exactly he speaks of using common aqua regia for the same purpose.

Valentine describes the preperation of those waters at the 4th part of his Will and Testament, in the chapter of the Sulfur of Sol. That is what he says after speaking about the water of the two champions.

"Note that the spirit of common salt effects the same, if drawn in that manner which I will speak afterward. If three parts of this salt's spirit is taken, and one part of spiritus nitri, your water will be stronger than the sal ammoniac water. And it is better because it is not so corrosive, dissolve the gold sooner, carries it over the helmet, makes it volatitle and fit to parts its soul. You have your choice then to use what water you think best".

I havent yet found where he gives the instructions for the preparation of what he calls a good spirit of salt.


[/I]I would be surprised if the distillation of sal ammoniac and potassium nitrate can give common aqua regia (HCl, HNO3). From a chemical viewpoint we start with NH4Cl and KNO3. Is it possible to reach to HCl and HNO3 by distillation?

I have read in some olders manuals of chemistry that the distillation of niter with powdered clay was quite a common practice for the production of nitric acid and the acid produced in this way was quite pure. I dont know if the same process can be used with salmica for the production of hydrochloric acid.

My suggestion to you is the following: Prepare a common aqua regis using nitric and hydrochloric acid bought from a Chemical store. Dissolve your gold leaf in it. Distill your water and after that bring it back to the chloroauric acid and distill again. Repeat that solution and distillation nine or ten times, and see if you can make your all your solution pass in the receiver flask.

theFool
02-16-2014, 03:37 PM
Valentine describes the preperation of those waters at the 4th part of his Will and Testament, in the chapter of the Sulfur of Sol. That is what he says after speaking about the water of the two champions.


Ok, found it on page 153/179. You are right. He speaks that the 'common' aqua regia performs in the same way. So probably those two are the same.

theFool
03-07-2014, 02:58 PM
Some interesting links from John French, The Art of Distillation, "THE SPAGYRICAL ANATOMY OF GOLD...":
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/jfren_6.html

He describes an interesting recipe of "DR. ANTHONY'S FAMOUS AURUM POTABILE.." The extractor of the gold calx here, is urine salt (ammonium carbonate) charged by rainwater.
Some other recipes, require us to precipitate gold with oil of sand (which comes from pebbles)..
One of them wants us to make aurum fulminans and detonate it to produce a purple calx that is "extractable" (by spirit of wine tartarizated).

My dilemma is: is there any special ingredient in the pebbles, rainwater or the spirit of salt OR the correct opening of gold relies only upon the lengthy preparation/dissection of his body with common chemicals?

More simply: If one tries to make calx of gold and extracts it, he should obtain a red tincture. However, it seems that it is not an easy achievement if one uses common aqua regia common K2CO3 and common alcohol. What is missing? Is it an unknown natural ingrdient or a finer/lengthier preparation of the gold calx is needed..

JDP
03-10-2014, 02:20 PM
Some interesting links from John French, The Art of Distillation, "THE SPAGYRICAL ANATOMY OF GOLD...":
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/jfren_6.html

He describes an interesting recipe of "DR. ANTHONY'S FAMOUS AURUM POTABILE.." The extractor of the gold calx here, is urine salt (ammonium carbonate) charged by rainwater.
Some other recipes, require us to precipitate gold with oil of sand (which comes from pebbles)..
One of them wants us to make aurum fulminans and detonate it to produce a purple calx that is "extractable" (by spirit of wine tartarizated).

My dilemma is: is there any special ingredient in the pebbles, rainwater or the spirit of salt OR the correct opening of gold relies only upon the lengthy preparation/dissection of his body with common chemicals?

More simply: If one tries to make calx of gold and extracts it, he should obtain a red tincture. However, it seems that it is not an easy achievement if one uses common aqua regia common K2CO3 and common alcohol. What is missing? Is it an unknown natural ingrdient or a finer/lengthier preparation of the gold calx is needed..

The "oil of pebbles" was made by fusing an alkali with powdered pebbles (sand can also be used.) What results are alkaline silicates. It does not really have anything "special". In this case it works well as a reducer for the gold chloride solution:

http://books.google.com/books?id=GCLOAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=%22potassium+silicate%22+reduces+gold+chloride&source=bl&ots=i0duzA806e&sig=Qhcw23QPrq_f7fS8dKCU0Vbg3HI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=h8kdU-mKLY-I2gXV-oDwCA&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22potassium%20silicate%22%20reduces%20gold%20ch loride&f=false

theFool
03-18-2014, 06:49 PM
5) Is it true that distilling together ammonium chloride and potassium nitrate can give a liquid aqua regia? This experiment (http://www.labyrinthdesigners.org/alchemy-ancient-chemistry/aqua-regia-fulminating-gold/) can help answering the question. It seems that KNO3 can oxidize ammonium chloride to a peculiar compound and chlorine (!) which can further react with KNO2 to give NO2 and water. At the distilate HNO3 forms due to NO2 dissolution and the presence of some sublimed ammonium chloride makes aqua regia. Here is the explanatiry quote:

Potassium Nitrate (saltpeter), which is one of the reactants, loses monatomic Oxygen (O) at 400 C and forms Potassium Nitrite (KNO2). Monatomic oxygen is a highly reactive species and oxidizes the Ammonium Chloride (sal ammoniacum) into a Hydrogen-Nitrogen-Oxygen compound and Chlorine. The Chlorine combines with the Potassium Nitrite forming Potassium Chloride and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). The Nitrogen Dioxide and the Hydrogen-Oxygen-Nitrogen compound form Nitric Acid (HNO3) and water (H2O). Excess Ammonium Chloride sublimes into the acid. I have my doubts on this explanation, mainly on wether we have HNO3 or some other oxidizing acid in the distillate (hyponitrous ... ?). The author does not perform any experiment to differentiate between various possible acids. His chemical explanation also seems to be far fetched to me. Free chlorine oxidizing the KNO2?
Anyway, the experiment shows that indeed, an AR can be produced from this distillation!

It seems also that he author has detected potassium in the distilate too.

theFool
03-24-2014, 05:57 PM
1) Heat ammonium chloride and potassium nitrate in a flask and let the fumes interact with gold leaf. Add more as the process goes on. It will turn transparent-white, then orange-red. Ok, already tried a crude version of this. The leaf dissintegrated into something red (passing through colors of white and orange in 3 hours).

http://i56.servimg.com/u/f56/13/27/64/97/au110.png

Another experiment needs to be done with the leaf hanging above the salts. An attempt to "extract" it with alcohol gave no visible result. This can be attributed to the crudeness of the experiment (and other reasons).



2) Do the same using only ammonium chloride. Will the leaf be transformed in the same way?
Performed this one too. It gave no result. The leaf was left intact. Hmm. "Live" or "charged" (volatile, over the helm) ammonium chloride should be used.



EDIT: The red salt in the first experiment seems to be soluble in water. Most probably, it is red chloroauric acid crystals.

theFool
03-24-2014, 06:47 PM
The "oil of pebbles" was made by fusing an alkali with powdered pebbles (sand can also be used.) What results are alkaline silicates. It does not really have anything "special". In this case it works well as a reducer for the gold chloride solution JDP, the question is wether the reduced calx can be "extracted" by alcohol. Potassium carbonate reduces gold too, but the resulting calx is white and cannot be extracted by alcohol.
I have seen once a volatile alcaline water which was distilled from a natural source to be able to precipitate the dissolved gold into a purple calx, without changing the pH of the AR. Same alcaline water, made chemically, would not perform the same. It would precipitate the gold only after neutralizing all the AR (much much more quantity of this water needed).

I could be wrong (I'm just hypothesizing) that in order to produce an "alchemical" gold calx (which could be worked alchemically later), an invisible, unknown ingredient is needed which must come from a natural source.

So, if for example potassium carbonate is used to precipitate the calx, it has to be "loaded" with this unknown ingredient in order to produce the correct calx. "Unloaded" K2CO3 will give the inferior calx. A bit far fetched, i know, but that is what i can come up with.

Dendritic Xylem
03-24-2014, 08:00 PM
I could be wrong (I'm just hypothesizing) that in order to produce an "alchemical" gold calx (which could be worked alchemically later), an invisible, unknown ingredient is needed which must come from a natural source.

A few days ago I read an old article in google books which talked about turning gold metal into a purple glass using only concentrated solar rays. Chemistry might say it's a simple oxidation of gold, but I feel there is more to it.
http://books.google.com/books?id=wntBAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA6&dq=gold+burning+glass+purple+calx&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Ho0wU_XHPKfA2QXa5oDwBQ&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=gold%20burning%20glass%20purple%20calx&f=false

theFool
03-25-2014, 06:13 PM
A few days ago I read an old article in google books which talked about turning gold metal into a purple glass using only concentrated solar rays. We could try to concentrate solar rays on gold calx and check for color change.

JDP
03-25-2014, 06:36 PM
JDP, the question is wether the reduced calx can be "extracted" by alcohol. Potassium carbonate reduces gold too, but the resulting calx is white and cannot be extracted by alcohol.
I have seen once a volatile alcaline water which was distilled from a natural source to be able to precipitate the dissolved gold into a purple calx, without changing the pH of the AR. Same alcaline water, made chemically, would not perform the same. It would precipitate the gold only after neutralizing all the AR (much much more quantity of this water needed).

I could be wrong (I'm just hypothesizing) that in order to produce an "alchemical" gold calx (which could be worked alchemically later), an invisible, unknown ingredient is needed which must come from a natural source.

So, if for example potassium carbonate is used to precipitate the calx, it has to be "loaded" with this unknown ingredient in order to produce the correct calx. "Unloaded" K2CO3 will give the inferior calx. A bit far fetched, i know, but that is what i can come up with.

Perhaps the "volatile alcaline water" made from a natural source contains another substance (sulfur dioxide, maybe?) that is causing the gold to be precipitated without having to actually fully neutralize the aqua regia solution.

By melting K2CO3 with pebbles/sand you would be converting it into a silicate of potassium.

theFool
03-25-2014, 08:36 PM
Perhaps the "volatile alcaline water" made from a natural source contains another substance (sulfur dioxide, maybe?) that is causing the gold to be precipitated without having to actually fully neutralize the aqua regia solution. Since a "natural source" is included in the ingredients, it could be anything, yes.

theFool
04-16-2014, 03:20 PM
(ammonium nitrate)
7) Melt ammonium nitrate (this can ingite, explode and emmit poisonous fumes). with a gold leaf in it. The leaf should be calcined into a white dust. Extract it.
Started experimenting with this salt.

- At fairly low temperature, it melts and becomes transparent. When left alone to solidify, it forms needle-shaped crystals. They are completely soluble in water.
- When heated at higher temperature and left to solidify, it forms a non-transparent white solid. This solid is not water soluble! Neither dissolves in HCl acid. I wonder why :confused:
Probably this question is for a chemistry forum but maybe someone more experienced here (JDP?) has an idea.
According to my knowledge this shouldn't happen.

(The salt used in this experiment, had absorbed lots of atmospheric humidity.)

JDP
04-16-2014, 08:35 PM
Started experimenting with this salt.

- At fairly low temperature, it melts and becomes transparent. When left alone to solidify, it forms needle-shaped crystals. They are completely soluble in water.
- When heated at higher temperature and left to solidify, it forms a non-transparent white solid. This solid is not water soluble! Neither dissolves in HCl acid. I wonder why :confused:
Probably this question is for a chemistry forum but maybe someone more experienced here (JDP?) has an idea.
According to my knowledge this shouldn't happen.

(The salt used in this experiment, had absorbed lots of atmospheric humidity.)

Was the ammonium nitrate very pure? Was it heated alone by itself or mixed with something else (like the gold leaf in your above quoted proposed experiment)?

theFool
04-16-2014, 09:36 PM
Was the ammonium nitrate very pure? It came from cold packs. It can dissolve completely in water.


Was it heated alone by itself or mixed with something else. It was heated alone in glass flask.

JDP
04-17-2014, 01:11 AM
It came from cold packs. It can dissolve completely in water.

It was heated alone in glass flask.

Maybe it's not really ammonium nitrate but some substitute. Have you tried heating an iron plate red hot and then carefully throw small (notice the emphasis here) spoonfuls of the substance claimed to be ammonium nitrate on it? If it is really ammonium nitrate, it should completely decompose or deflagrate at such high heat and leave little or no residue. This is an old test known since Glauber's days, and used by people who handle explosive materials to assess whether a substance is really ammonium nitrate:

"Heating pure, unconfined ammonium nitrate produces a more or less rapid decomposition accompanied by a flash and a hissing sound but no explosions. If a crystal or a piece of cast ammonium nitrate is thrown upon a hot plate at a temperature of about 500 C, the material immediately catches fire and burns rapidly with a yellowish flame and a crackling or hissing sound, but leaves no residue. If a large piece of cast ammonium nitrate is thrown upon a red hot plate, the decomposition proceeds quickly enough to resemble an explosion."

https://archive.org/stream/TM_9_1300_214_Military_Explosives_/Ia_tm9-1300-214MilitaryExplosives#page/n181/mode/2up

theFool
04-17-2014, 06:30 AM
Thanks for your input.


Have you tried heating an iron plate red hot and then carefully throw small spoonfuls Tried it. It decomposes quickly producing thick smoke. It leaves little residue, white. When heated this residue "burns" like coal. I don't know if it is an original impurity or some kind of oxidized iron, formed by the heat. The amount is trully small compared to the original amount of substance tested.

Also, mixing the original substance with NaOH, gives off the strong smell of ammonia.

Could it be urea?

Ghislain
04-17-2014, 08:06 AM
TF when you dissolve ammonium nitrate and leave it, it forms needle crystals.

When ammonium nitrate is mixed with sodium hydroxide it has a violent reaction
produces a lot of heat and kicks of the ammonia to form sodium nitrate.

Have you tried the same experiments with just the ammonium nitrate?

Ghislain

JDP
04-17-2014, 10:05 AM
Thanks for your input.

Tried it. It decomposes quickly producing thick smoke. It leaves little residue, white. When heated this residue "burns" like coal. I don't know if it is an original impurity or some kind of oxidized iron, formed by the heat. The amount is trully small compared to the original amount of substance tested.

Also, mixing the original substance with NaOH, gives off the strong smell of ammonia.

Could it be urea?

I was thinking about that possibility, but I think urea alone does not deflagrate in the same violent way that ammonium nitrate does. I think that the ammonium nitrate in those cold packs might not be entirely pure and contains some additives. It would not surprise me if ammonium nitrate not destined for the explosives industry is being mixed with other things to make it more difficult to be used as such in these days of widespread paranoia about anything that might potentially be used by terrorists.

theFool
04-17-2014, 10:08 AM
Ok guys, I think the mystery is solved. I was able to dissolve the white mass in water with strong heating for long time. I got confused because the usual ammonium nitrate I had, will dissolve very easily in water with no heating.
The most probable explanation is that the white insoluble mass is dehydrated ammonium nitrate. I thought it would dissolve like the hydrated form but it seems not.

It also explains why it was melting so easily. It was hydrated. The dehydrated form seems much more difficult to melt.

Thanks for your replies JDP, Ghislain.

theFool
04-19-2014, 02:02 PM
An update. Made some fairly pure ammonium nitrate from nitric acid and ammonium carbonate. This one deflagrates quicker on the iron plate and leaves no residue at all. Seems that JDP was right about the cold packs being contaminated with something else (more probably it is urea). Also, this pure ammonium nitrate dissolves in water very easily, even when it is dry.

theFool
04-23-2014, 11:20 AM
Made some fairly pure ammonium nitrate from nitric acid and ammonium carbonate. An attempt to dissolve thin gold leaf in this ammonium nitrate (molten), resulted in failure (as was most probably expected, no calcination was observed). So we conclude that the dew salt mentioned by Agricola, is different from the common ammonium nitrate.

theFool
04-23-2014, 04:16 PM
5) Is it true that distilling together ammonium chloride and potassium nitrate can give a liquid aqua regia? Decided to perform a first hand experiment for this question. In a previous post, I provide a link for another website where this experiment (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3920-A-different-aqua-regia-ways-to-correctly-prepare-dissolve-gold&p=33970#post33970) has been performed.

So, a test tube was used with NH4Cl and KNO3 as ingredients. Heat gave brown fumes (NO2) and a yellowish residue. I put some water in the receiver to concentrate the brown fumes. The fumes are acidic and the resulting solution is acidic too. The whole experiment was very similar to this (http://www.labyrinthdesigners.org/alchemy-ancient-chemistry/aqua-regia-fulminating-gold/), so I believe now that yes, NH4Cl and KNO3 can give Aqua Regia (nitric acid possibly mixed with sublimed NH4Cl in the receiver). I was not able to dissolve gold with my AR (too much diluted) but in the link provided, the experimenter was able to perform this dissolution, I believe him.

We can now hopefully move to question (6). What is the role of pebbles?

One more experiment was set up, adding this time some brown beach sand into the ingredients. A yellowish water was distilled over, no red fumes were observed. This water had a basic pH (around 9-10), not acidic. I test the pH with pH paper. I suspect it contains ammonia because of the special fumes it can give. I mixed some gold leaf and some drops of nitric acid in it, gave it heat; the leaf became diaphanous until it dissolved. The pH is still basic.

It seems that pebbles can alter the results, but a lot more experiments need to be made with various kind of pebbles (especially with the more inert, "silica based" pebbles)

crestind
08-01-2015, 01:57 AM
Haven't tried the first method, but maybe what's happening is that it's first turning into some form of gold oxide or maybe aurous chloride, before turning into chloroauric acid.
https://books.google.com/books?id=FgfnAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA437&lpg=PA437&dq=fulminating+gold+%22ammonium+carbonate%22&source=bl&ots=4SPmORZUx0&sig=Vf98PDAtyImc3fDJRYlJgCvP-1Y&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p8goU6qrDIrS2wXo2oGQCw&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=fulminating%20gold%20%22ammonium%20carbonate%22&f=false
Because the process relies on the vapor instead, you get to see gold chloride form in a more stepwise fashion.

theFool
08-16-2016, 07:56 PM
There exists a red solution of gold that some alchemical books call it Aurum potabile or potable gold. It is the result of correctly dissolving gold to a white calx and then extracting it with an ammoniacal solvent and is the culmination of the gold calx recipes. "Spirit of gw", "Kerkring's menstruum" or simply ammonium carbonate, all can work to dissolve the calx into a red solution.

But it is not truly alchemical. It is (what chemistry calls it) a coordination complex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordination_complex) of gold with ammonia (more specifically a Metal ammine complex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_ammine_complex)). It has a red color. That's all.

We could rightfully say that it belongs in the "particulars" that will not lead to the true stone. Agricola's book "Treatise on gold" is full of similar warnings. The correct solvent to extract gold calx is not ammonia but something else. Agricola himself has not solved this riddle too, but he gives hints on the matter that can be found in mines. Other recipes talk about this true dissolvent to be found in dew or rainwater, some speak of wine and organic matter. So be careful with ammonia, it gives a red solution that upon digestion does not turn to blackness but stays red. Well, actually I'm not 100% sure that this cannot be worked through the colors (nigredo, albedo, rubedo) but since it can be explained chemically I cannot see how the "Spirit" will work on it.

Speaking of chemistry, the white calx and red complex are a scientific novelty, but I'm not into academic research so I don't care much about it (any chemistry professor reading wants a Phd student? I already hold a MSc :) ). Also, it shows nicely a connection between Hudson ormes theory and alchemy (at least this "particular" branch).

About its medicinal properties, well if you think that Hudson's ormes can be medicinal, then so this is, they are the same thing. Modern science has invented also a sort of "potable platinum" which is an ammoniacal complex of platinum. They have found it medicinal for some cases but it will not give you longevity or turn the clock back of course. Something similar could be true with Aurum potabile too I think. Besides, the dosages required are so big that it is very difficult for a sole person to produce them.

Similar things that can form a red ammoniacal complex can be found in rainwater gur, plant ash, sea salt and even air. Wether this red complex can be attributed to precious metals in some kind of very fine calx form (ormes according to Hudson's patent) I don't know, neither can I afford to devote my spare time to this kind of investigation except if I'm paid. As long as it is not the right thing that will help to achieve the spiritualization of physical body, time is very precious to spend it only on scientific curiosities or trying to get rich. I already feel it running out quickly :)

This post may sound ungrateful to Alchemy but definately I'm not feeling like that. I've seen so many things all those years that I couldn't ever imagine, overcame personal bariers and met my original goals. It is just that if you take a glimpse from the world outside of the cave of shadows, then you want the whole thing and cannot go back.

If anyone else has hands on experience on this "particular" or something similar concerning practical work on ormes, of course feel free to contact me.

JDP
08-17-2016, 03:26 AM
There exists a red solution of gold that some alchemical books call it Aurum potabile or potable gold. It is the result of correctly dissolving gold to a white calx and then extracting it with an ammoniacal solvent and is the culmination of the gold calx recipes. "Spirit of gw", "Kerkring's menstruum" or simply ammonium carbonate, all can work to dissolve the calx into a red solution.

But it is not truly alchemical. It is (what chemistry calls it) a coordination complex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordination_complex) of gold with ammonia (more specifically a Metal ammine complex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_ammine_complex)). It has a red color. That's all.

We could rightfully say that it belongs in the "particulars" that will not lead to the true stone. Agricola's book "Treatise on gold" is full of similar warnings. The correct solvent to extract gold calx is not ammonia but something else. Agricola himself has not solved this riddle too, but he gives hints on the matter that can be found in mines. Other recipes talk about this true dissolvent to be found in dew or rainwater, some speak of wine and organic matter. So be careful with ammonia, it gives a red solution that upon digestion does not turn to blackness but stays red. Well, actually I'm not 100% sure that this cannot be worked through the colors (nigredo, albedo, rubedo) but since it can be explained chemically I cannot see how the "Spirit" will work on it.

Speaking of chemistry, the white calx and red complex are a scientific novelty, but I'm not into academic research so I don't care much about it (any chemistry professor reading wants a Phd student? I already hold a MSc :) ). Also, it shows nicely a connection between Hudson ormes theory and alchemy (at least this "particular" branch).

About its medicinal properties, well if you think that Hudson's ormes can be medicinal, then so this is, they are the same thing. Modern science has invented also a sort of "potable platinum" which is an ammoniacal complex of platinum. They have found it medicinal for some cases but it will not give you longevity or turn the clock back of course. Something similar could be true with Aurum potabile too I think. Besides, the dosages required are so big that it is very difficult for a sole person to produce them.

Similar things that can form a red ammoniacal complex can be found in rainwater gur, plant ash, sea salt and even air. Wether this red complex can be attributed to precious metals in some kind of very fine calx form (ormes according to Hudson's patent) I don't know, neither can I afford to devote my spare time to this kind of investigation except if I'm paid. As long as it is not the right thing that will help to achieve the spiritualization of physical body, time is very precious to spend it only on scientific curiosities or trying to get rich. I already feel it running out quickly :)

This post may sound ungrateful to Alchemy but definately I'm not feeling like that. I've seen so many things all those years that I couldn't ever imagine, overcame personal bariers and met my original goals. It is just that if you take a glimpse from the world outside of the cave of shadows, then you want the whole thing and cannot go back.

If anyone else has hands on experience on this "particular" or something similar concerning practical work on ormes, of course feel free to contact me.

The usual "modus operandi" of these processes is to prepare a special "menstruum" that will not dissolve the whole body of gold, but only its supposed "sulphur", leaving the supposed "mercurial" part of gold behind as a white calx, which some authors say can be melted into a metal that looks like silver, but it is not common silver; it is more dense and is resistant to aqua fortis. They usually call it "Luna Fixa" (i.e. fixed silver.)

I doubt that gold will form such ammoniacal solutions, since it actually readily forms the explosive precipitate known as "fulminating gold" when it combines with ammonia. This is a dangerous substance to be tinkering with, as it is very sensitive.

Regarding "particulars" and Johann Agricola: his texts (most of which have never been translated into English) have a lot of transmutation claims in them, which need to be more carefully looked into. For example, his treatise on antimony alone has at least 5 or 6 transmutation claims in it (very likely there's more, since my acquaintance with German is very rudimentary and I have very likely overlooked or not understood others.) Agricola was a "chymist", not an alchemist, he never claimed to have made the Stone, but he did claim success in other types of transmutation. In many ways Agricola was the role model for later chymists, like Glauber and Becher, who also stated their successes in achieving some types of transmutation other than the Stone (which they never claimed to have achieved either.)

theFool
08-17-2016, 08:17 AM
JDP, do you think that the existence of an ultrafine gold calx that has lost its original metallic characteristics is possible? (eg. negative to stannous chloride test)


The usual "modus operandi" of these processes is to prepare a special "menstruum" that will not dissolve the whole body of gold, but only its supposed "sulphur" The majority of menstruums described in literature contain ammonia in them. The menstruum you describe probably belongs to a different class as it dissolves the gold differently. From what I remember, those are usually made using spirit of salt with alcohol and no ammonia and can be a very interesting line of research.

If you find a reference on an ammoniacal menstruum that extracts the "sulfur" and leaves the body behind it would be interesting to me.

JDP
08-17-2016, 10:11 PM
JDP, do you think that the existence of an ultrafine gold calx that has lost its original metallic characteristics is possible? (eg. negative to stannous chloride test)

Yes, it is possible. Colloidal forms of gold do exist.


The majority of menstruums described in literature contain ammonia in them. The menstruum you describe probably belongs to a different class as it dissolves the gold differently. From what I remember, those are usually made using spirit of salt with alcohol and no ammonia and can be a very interesting line of research.

If you find a reference on an ammoniacal menstruum that extracts the "sulfur" and leaves the body behind it would be interesting to me.

For the description of the special solution of gold that you gave in the original post (viz. leaving a white calx behind without dissolving in the menstruum) the majority of processes I have seen so far use special variations of "spirit of salt", such as the one you mention (the so-called "sweet" spirit of salt.)