Samuel Norton - The Key of Alchemy

Transparent Stone

This transcription was originally made by W.A. Ayton in the latter decades of the 19th century, from the original manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Ashmole 1421. Samuel Norton was the great-grandson of the famous 15th century English alchemist Thomas Norton, author of the Ordinall of alchemy.
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Here beginneth the 6th Treatise of the Key of Alchimie containing the Transparent Stone

Ripley, speaking of sundrie and divers tractations in the art of Alchimie, as touching the composition of the stone and elixir, followeth two waies in generall; by vertue of which the art is brought to effect, as much as in it lieth, by outward administration; of which in his little booke he writeth thus: There are many waies, (saith hee) which you shall find surer by experience than by imagination, neither shall it be very difficult or chargeable to the worcker, to trie all waies: Therefore some are helpen by fire excitative, namely by fire elementall, other some again not so, but are helpen in most could places that alteration may be made, if it will, by heat of the menstrue; of elixir done in heate by coagulation, wee have all this while intreated long enough. I will now therefore speake in this place of the composition of the elixir in cold; which is that that the philosophers call the transparent stone and is altogether congealed in cold into a hard and clear mass like christall or yce, which chanceth to be of sundrie colours after the tinctures, of which it is compounded of: And by the skill of this may all pretious stones be curiouslie conterfeit, but especially pearles; and this is that practise, which Raimond, Ripley and others have under counterfeiting of stones, so hardly and darklie given out.

Of which Raimond, in his 43, 44, 45 Canons in the first destinction of his book de Quintessentiis hath sufficientlie declared to such as are philosophers: And understand the secret Art; Ripley on the Accortations of Raimond, shadoweth it marvaillouslie under the confusiones of 20 solutions, and will therefore (taking the method from them both), shew forth an easier and not so difficult a way; the knowledge whereof I obtained, even as Protogenes made the fome in the counterfeit of an horse mouth; For when I had long time sought to putrifie the earth of the menstrue, and the earth of the vitrioll, evapored with the compound water; wherein worcking contrary to art; it would never putrifie; I thought to prove what it would do in cold, and having put in under ground, it immediately congealed into a christalline masse, whereby I received the worcke of the transparent stone; in which according as Raimond there intendeth in that place; For that there hee meaneth to conterfeit precious stones, rather then to frame elixir by that meanes: Which way of elixiring is of all waies the most noble; For that therein is least labor and travaille and least faile and peril; for that after the commixion, there is alonely nothing to bee done, untill it become to be transparent; then patientlie abide the times, wherefore saith Raimond, finito quippe anno tu habebis omne illud; If the year being come about, you shall have all that, that may be desired of the world; either to this worck or to the other; of which you may at pleasure doe what you list, as well in the masterie of Alchimie as in the making of stones by medicine; touching the making of stones I will say nothing; for that herein I intend to give out the making of Elixir in could; and upon this ground I mean to lay the foundation that may be made of Mercury, Sun, and Moon: only in cold by reason of the heat worcking there in the glass; and not without, ffor by the self same reason that Mercury sublimed becometh in a could place to be burned into a sulphur of nature by the water ardent; by the selfe same manner of worcking wee may, no doubt, bring the other to its full force and vertue.

For all this masterie lieth in the heate of the water, and what water wee should take appeareth by Raimond, Although Ripley would take the Lunarie vegetable, But Raimond in this place meaneth by Lunarie, the Lac Virginis minerale which hee willeth to be joined with quintessence; saying, Take an ounce of most fine gold, and dissolve it after the manner I have shewed thee in my Testament; Namely, pure Lunarie, to which add equal waight of the quintessence whereby I gather that by Lunarie hee meaneth the Lac [ Aqua mercurialis qua metalla solvuntur, and sal allembrot, or sal enixum, or J. D. Mylii Basilica philosophica, p. 90, Consilium decimum sextium] Virginis minerale, otherwise it could not be by vertue of the compound: ffor that Lunarie and Quintessence are all one: well, I will not stand upon that, For I will not meddle with any vegetable water in this behalfe: Although I will shew how it may become by two waters for the white, and by only one for the redd: The two waters are the Lac Virginis minerale, and Ripley's compound water of those things afore mentionned which water last named, let it bee 7 times rectified, or destilled before it bee occupied.

To come therefore to the practice: Take your gold made calx as afore taught, and dissolve it in Lac Virginis, or in the rectified water named; which being dissolved, filter, that the only fine, and pure water may passe away, that done, putrifie it altogether in Balneo, for 15 daies, then put it to distill away the dissolving liquor in ash fire; till all the oile of gold remaine in the bottome, and yet note that I have seen gold pass over the Limbeck: Wherefore if you can so pass over the whole (as I think it would) it shall be the better: When therefore you have your gold; as you like of; Take your fierie element of Mercury one halfe, and mingle it with the other halfe of oile of Sun; Which done, put it into balneo for 24 houres that it may the better conjoyne, then take it out of the balneo, and having your gripes egg well closed; set or burie it in the ground, a foot; and so let it stand for the space of a whole yeare; then take it up and you shall find it converted into a transparent stone of golden or carbuncle colour: which you may, by putting on more of the fiery element, dissolve in hot balneo, and congeale in cold; to be increased as you list, which shall be the perfect elixir on all bodies; yet note that when you shall take out of the earth this your glass, you must in an Athenor give it a prettie fixing heate for 9 daies; and so at the end of every dissolution and congelation, which Raimond in these words commandeth to be done: Et da sibi ignem de seraturis per novem dies naturales continuos: the selfe same, manner may you observe in Lune with either of the waters.

The transparent stone finished on this wise, I will somewhat say of pearles; Take therefore the fairest, Orientall seed or ounce pearle; and dissolve thereof an ounce waight in either of the waters named as afore; pass them over the Linbeck if you may, and then in Balneo separate away the water, so that the oile of the pearles remaine in the bottome: then take of the oile of pearle, one parte, of the oile of Lune handled like unto the Sun, halfe a parte; of the Lac Virginis equall to the Lune: Joyne them together, and after set them in Balneo the better to joyne: Then having moulds of stone made of what forme you will, whether like a peare or like an acorne of what bignels or quantity you list, put this joined liquor into that mould or furnell, which stopp close, and place it for the space above mentioned, then shall you have it congealed into a hard mass, or Orient pearle, which you must fixe afterward in drie fire, as is alreadie taught: Of this I have seen no proofs, save that I have gathered it from Raimond, and Ripley; who openly pofesseth and that under a damnable wish, that hee had so seen it: And sure reason yealdeth it to be verie likelie: And for truth this much I say, that I have to shew, gold dissolved with the Lac Virginis that congealeth doe what I can, which, if it were orderlie handled, would be the transparent stone. From which gold also when I would have separated the water dissolutive, I saw part thereof in weake fire rise over with the water: Which proveth that it will pass the Limbeck, and is therefore the best way. For boldlie (besides that) may there with the stone be ferment; And thus I shewed that which may suffice for the transparent stone.