The creation and development of Alchemy has been teeming with countless stories of philosophical theories, alchemic brilliance, and public ridicule and disgrace due to failure to create a legendary substance known as the Philosophers stone. As a result, this stone has been one of the most pursued objects of Europe an history providing the driving force for Alchemy. This sacred art is what pioneered the very first tools, process, and theories of modern chemistry (Alchemy). Current generations of Americans were most likely introduced to the concept of Alchemy in American literature such as in works by Shakespeare (Alchemy in Art). Many of these books actually portrayed real characters such as Nicholas Flamel, a real alchemist in the 13th and 14th century. There are some hidden truths in these Alchemical fictions but not much else. They are most often fictional worlds where wizards weave spells. Alchemy although somewhat misguided, was actually a logical and scientific art that was vitally important to the development of modern science.
Alchemy was not just a fantasy of random events. It had a specific goal. That goal was to produce the Philosopher's Stone. A substance that could transmute base metals into gold. A process known today as chrysopoeia. The Philosopher's Stone is not actually a stone meaning a singular object that could only be discovered through archaeological expeditions. It was a compound substance that had to be created. It’s most common description is a very dense red powder or a yellowish waxy substance. Mixing this with melted metal would create gold (Philosophers Stone). This is what misled alchemist throughout history. They were constantly pursuing a substance that didn’t exist. However, they had much reason to believe this was true. Alchemist noticed they could change certain properties of metals such as color. For example, copper can be made yellow like gold or white like silver. They could also change properties such as hardness using heat. They reasoned if they could do that with one or two properties, then why couldn’t they change all (The Sorcerer's Stone)?
Even to this day, the origins of the stone are unclear. Some such as Elias Ashmole (1620), a celebrated antiquary, astrologer, and a student of alchemy, claims that it traces all the way back to Adam who received the knowledge straight through God. The earliest solid reference of the stone can be found in the writing Cheirokmeta by Zosimos of Panopolis (300C.E). However, in his works, he already talks of the stone as something well known to human civilization. Wherever the stone came from, it has always been present thorough the existence of Alchemy.
Similarly to the Philosophers Stone, no one is quite sure where Alchemy came from or why it was created. We do know that early Greece contributed heavily to the early development of alchemy, particularly through text’s written by philosophers such as Plato. However, why it was created still remains unclear (Alchemy)....