Superphysics Superphysics
Chapter 3

The Separation of metals from their Mines

by Paracelsus
7 minutes  • 1364 words
Table of contents

By fluxing powders

The separation of metals from their Mines is done divers ways, viz. by boiling, and melting with fluxing powders, such as are salt Alcali, Litharge, salt fluxile, the drosse of Glasse, Salt Gemme, Salt Petre, &c. Let them bee put in a Crucible, and melted in a furnace; so will the Metall, or regulus fall to the bottome of the Crucible; but the other matter will swim above, and become drosse.

Thou shall boil this Metalline regulus in a reverberating furnace so long, till all the Metall become pure, and freed from all its drosse; by this means the metall is well digested, and as I may say refined from all its drosse.

Many times one mine contains more then one Metall, as Copper and Silver, Copper and Gold, Lead and Silver, Tinne and Silver, you shall know it by this, if the Metalline Regulus after Reverberation in a melting pot bee sufficiently after the true manner dissolved.

For in it are all imperfect metals separated, as are Iron, Copper, Tin, and Lead, and so with a double quantity of Lead to the Regulus being put to it, they all goe into a fume, and only fine Silver, or Gold are left behind in the pot.

By Aqua fortis

Also two or three metals mixed together may bee separated in Aqua fortis, and extracted the one from[Pg 86] the other. If two metals or one bee resolved, the other will fall to the bottome like sand, and be precipitated: and be after this manner separated. Also metals may be separated by flowing after this process: By Sulphur.Make metals flow, and when they are in flux, cast into them the best flower of Sulphur as you can get, viz. an ounce to every pound of the metall, and let it burn, and by that means it wil draw up the lightest metall to the top, the heavy falling to the bottome. Then let them stand together till they be cold. A wonderfull power of Sulphur in separation.And so in one Regulus two metals are found, not as before mutually mixed, but one separated from the other by the Sulphur, as by a partition, as Oyle divides two Waters, that they cannot bee joined together or mixed: Sulphur therefore is a singular Arcanum worthy of great commendations.

By Quicksilver

Fixt metals, as Gold and Silver, because they cannot wel bee extracted with Fire or Aqua fortis, must bee amalgamated with Quicksilver, and so separated and extracted, the Quicksilver being afterwards extracted and separated by a certaine degree of Distillation from the Calx of the metals, viz. Gold, & Silver.

After this manner also may other metals, not only Gold, and Silver, but Copper, Iron, Tin, Lead, &c. as also whatsoever are prepared out of them, as red Electrum, the white Magnesia, Aurichalcum, calcined Lead, Laton, Brasse of Cauldrons, and whatsoever metals of this kind are transmuted, bee with Quicksilver, but first being powdered, abstracted, and separated from what is heterogeneous. For the nature, and condition of Quicksilver is this, that it wil bee united, and amalgamed with metals, but yet with one sooner then with another, according as the metall is of greater or lesse affinity to it.

In this consideration fine Gold is the chiefest, then fine Silver, then Lead, then Tinne, then Copper, and lastly Iron.

So amongst transmuted metals, the first is part with part, then Ash coloured Lead, then Laton, then Brasse of Caldrons, then red, and the newest white. Although for the first course Mercury may take no more then one metall, with which it is amalgamated: yet that Amalgama is to be strained hard through Leather, or Cotton cloath. For by this means nothing but the Quicksilver will passe through the Leather, or Cloath: and that metall which it did attract remains in the leather, or cloth like Calx, which afterwards you maist with salt Alcali, or some other salt reduce into a metalline body by melting.

Now by this Art Quicksilver is much sooner separated from all manner of metals, then by Distillation, &c.

By this processe with Mercury all metals may after calcination, and powdering be by a skilfull, and industrious Alchymist extracted, and separated one from the other.

In the same manner, and that easily, may Tinne, and Lead bee separated from Copper, or Copper vessels, from Iron, and Steel overlaid with Tin without any fire, or water, by the Amalgama of Quicksilver alone.

Also Beaten Gold, or Leafe Gold, or Silver, as also any other metall beaten, or ground, being written, or laid over with a pencill, or quill upon cloth, parchment, paper, leather, wood, stones, or any thing else, may bee resolved by Quicksilver, and so, that the Quicksilver may bee afterward separated again from those metals.

By Corrosive waters.

The separation of metals in Aqua fortis, Aqua Regis, and like corrosive waters, is after this manner.

Let a metall that is mixed, and joined with another, be taken, and beaten into thin plates, or brought into powder. Put it into a separating vessel, and poure upon it common Aqua fortis as much as is sufficient, let them stand and bee macerated, until all the metall bee resolved into a clear water. If it be Silver, and contain any Gold in it, all the Silver wil bee resolved into water, and the Gold wil also bee calcined, and settle in the bottome like black sand. And after this manner Gold, and Silver are separated. If now you wilt separate the Silver from the Aqua fortis without Distillation, put a plate of Copper into the water, and the Silver will presently settle in the bottome of the water like snow, and the Copper plate will begin to be consumed by little, and little.

The seperation of Silver, and Copper by common Aqua fortis is done after this manner. Let the Copper which contains Silver, or the Silver which contains Copper be brought to thin plates or powder, and put into a glass vessel, upon which poure as much common Aqua fortis as is sufficient: and by this means the silver will bee calcined, and settle to the bottome like white chalk: but the copper wil be dissolved, and turned into a clear water. If this water, together with the dissolved copper, be by a Glasse funnel separated from the silver calx into another Glasse: then the Copper that is dissolved in the water, may bee so precipitated with common water, or rain water, or any other water, that it wil settle to the bottom of the Glass like sand.

Now the separation of hid Gold, from any metall,[Pg 89] is by the degree of Extraction in Aqua Regis. For this kind of water will attempt to dissolve no metall, but only pure, fine Gold, &c.

The same Aqua Regis doth separate also fine gold from gilded plate. For if that be washed over with it, the Gold will be separated from it, &c.

By the degree of Reverberation.

Moreover also with cement by the degree of Reverberation two metals mixed together may be separated the one from the other, but especially if they are not in the like degree of Fixation, as Iron and Copper. For that Metall, which is but little fixed, as Tin, and Lead, is all of it consumed by the degree of Reverberation in cement. For by how much the more a Metall is fixed, so much the lesse is it consumed by cement.

You must know therefore that fine Gold is the most fixt, and perfect Metall, which can bee destroyed, or consumed by no cement. Next to this is fine Silver. If then Gold, and Silver be mixed together in one body, which is wont to bee called part with part, or if Silver contain Gold, or Gold Silver: I say these being thus mixt if they bee reverberated into cement, then the Gold remains entire, and not at all injured, but the Silver is consumed by the cement, and so is extracted from fine Gold: so also is Copper from Silver, and Iron, and Tinne from Copper, and Iron, or Lead from Tinne, and so forth.

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