Western alchemists took on the challenge of the Philosopher’s Stone. For the Western alchemist, it remains an unknown substance. It is referred to as “the tincture”, or “the powder”. Alchemists seek to make this, as it is supposed to have the ability to transform base metals into precious ones. i.e. into gold or silver.
The elixir of life could be derived from it. This only if the alchemist was pure of heart; because it perfected the human soul. Not only did it cure illnesses and prolong life, it brought spiritual revitalization.
Down through history, many a man invested great fortunes trying to create the Elixir. However, it is said that it is a substance found everywhere. This substance is unrecognized and unappreciated by man. Nevertheless, man has set out on the quest of finding it; even though it takes money and time and energy to create it. As a mater of fact, to make this illusive elixir, means to use a vast amount of energy just to produce a minute amount of gold.
This quest for the secret recipe to make the philosopher’s stone with, has produced great advances in man’s daily life. From the Middle Ages to the end of the 17th century, great knowledge has led to new sciences such as chemistry, metallurgy, and pharmacology.
Man has thought about and tried various ways of finding the philosopher’s stone. All of which involved the transferring of one or two atoms from one metal such as lead to another metal, in hopes of making new gold or silver; not created naturally by nature.
The following is taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica: “The process by which it was hoped common metals such as iron, lead, tin, and copper could be turned into the more valuable metals involved heating the base material in a characteristic pear-shaped glass crucible (called the vase of Hermes or the philosopher’s egg). Color changes were carefully watched—black indicating the death of the old material preparatory to its revitalization; white, the color required for change into silver; and red, the highest stage, the color required for change into gold.”
Taken and adapted from The Encyclopedia Britannica