Alchemical Fraud

Historically, alchemy was nothing but fraud.

Nearly all who seek the transmutations of lesser metals into gold (often from lead or iron), and those who were simply peddlers of miracle elixirs and immortality potions, were charlatans and fakes. The latter have never been of considerable number or severity to warrant significant attention (unless their potions are poisons); simple, do not buy elixirs from strangers. However, the counterfeiting of gold by false alchemical transmutation was a high crime and was punishable by death in many nations.

Historically, there were no (or few) accounts of alchemist succeeding in transmuting lead (or whatever) into gold; only Paracelus was said to have done so, and he probably cheated as well. Here I give you a few of the most common techniques employed by alchemist to "turn" lead or silver into gold. Remember -- not all that glitters is gold.

First off, gold has five distinct properties by which metallurgist use to determine if the metal is indeed gold. By created an alloy which meets these properties and "faux-alchemist" can appear to miraculously create gold. Gold is malleable and ductile (can be pulled into wire), it is metallic and yellow-white in color, is of high weight and thus density, and can not be corroded. Others add that only Aqua Regia can dissolve true gold, and it is a common test for gold to see if it will dissolve in aqua fortis or aqua vitriol (which true gold will not).

One common way in which fake gold has been produced was by burning iron filings with some sulfur compounds (such as blue vitriol or pure sulfur) which will sometimes produce a small quantity of Fool's Gold. This "gold" can be dissolved in most acids, so it is easy to discovery.

Often a false alchemist may attempt to boost his reputation by appearing to make real gold by using real gold. This has sometimes been done by using a hollow stirring rod filled with powdered gold, which is covered at the end by a wax. As the mixture

(whatever it is) is being stirred the wax dissolves, letting the gold flow out into the mixture. In this way the alchemist can then process the mixture to extract the gold and claim he created it. If you are suspicious of this, always inspect the alchemist's tools and implements for such trickery.

Another interesting fraud is for the alchemist to purchase a coin or nugget of gold and dip it in lead (for example) to make it appear to be some other metal. When he thus processes the "lead" nugget in his mixture, the lead dissolves away leaving the gold nugget. This is one of the classic transmutations tricks, and it is quite easy for anyone to do (if you can afford the gold).

There is, however, a more complex twist on this trick. It involves the creation of an electrum alloy (a silver-gold alloy), which looks like silver and can be made to pass inspection as silver or some other alloy. When the electrum nugget is distilled in aqua fortis the silver reacts and dissolves into the mixture, but the gold does not. It may thus appear that gold was created from silver. To prove such fakery, simply offer the alchemist a silver coin you know is truly silver (or whatever metal is in question). If he refuses to demonstrate the transmutation with your metal this would be very suspicious indeed!

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment