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Doubling According to Moses

The following is an example of alchemical recipe. It should be noted the real identity of Moses was probably unknown except maybe to a few of his contemporaries and students, another example of placing an older authentic name on a work.

Copper of Calais, one ounce, orpiment, native sulphur, one ounce and native lead one ounce: decomposed realgar (arsenic sulphide) one ounce. Boil in oil of radish, with lead, for three days. Put in roasting pan and place on the coals, till the sulphur is driven off, then take it off and you will find your product. Of this copper take one part and three parts gold. Melt it, fusing strongly and you will find it all changed to gold, by the help of God.

Although the recipe is corrupt, the product should yield about 66% gold, and 33% copper, lead, and arsenic; in color and resistance to chemical action, would closely resemble gold. The possible reasoning behind the recipe was that the goal converted the copper and lead into its own substance which was supported by the golden-yellow color of the orpiment. If such a hypothesis was true, then the question arises, why could not gold covert vast amounts of base metals into itself. A.G.H.


Taylor, F. Sherwood. Alchemists, Founders of Modern Chemistry. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 35-36

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