May 14, 2016
Here is presented the successsion of colours while the heating and cooling of Liver of Sulfur/Hepar Sulfuris.
Nothing really Alchemical here, because the reaction in itself is chemically well known.
Liver of Sulfur is the fusion of an Alcali Salt & Sulfur S, giving consequently to the sulfur the possibility to be soluble in water and alcool, or in other solvents.
We create a sort of saponification which can prove to be very useful in other works, properly alchemical that time. As always, those who have ears, listen...
The work on Sulfur S, is a major one in the approach of metallic works (archemical and alchemical ones).
Haarlem Oil, the famous remedy created by an Amsterdam Alchemist, in also a solubilisation of Sulfur, but in lin oil and turpentine, and makes it extremely bio available for the human body. Sulfur is extremely difficult to make bio available or soluble, but fortunately, there are few tricks.
Here, we could say that the chemical process can be done also from an Alchemical point of view, not with chemical elements, but alchemical ones. With the principles of the matter.
We could underline here that it is the archetype of the process that can be done at several levels in the matter.
We also have here, chemically speaking, a fixation of the element Sulfur. Which is volatile by nature, and somewhat still present, because if we heat it enough, it will volatilize again, or burn.
Study of crystallization
Here crystallization of Sulfur S at 99.99%.
Crystallization was probably a marvel to the "non chemicalized" yeyes of the ancient alchemists. Fiding these "gems", soluble in water, was possibly a wonder or a sort of rare curiosity. How ? Why ? And even more, these salts gave something while distilled, or mixed with "acids". From a dry alcaline earth, disinclined to give something valuable, one could, with the use of the right mercury, sprout some beautiful "gems". Wasn't it astonishing ?
We have, with salts, metals, gems, examples of crystallizations, colours and various forms, leading to meditation and curiosity. These shapes, angles, perfection forming by evaporation are wondrous.
We had the tendency, since the forthcoming of chemistry, to make commonplace to crystallization. We were taught to see only a pile of atoms, pity ! There is here, a great mystery that we should perfectly understand in order to go forward in the understanding of the Magnum Opus. Yes, the Stone is a crystal. So, how do they born, grow, are composed of ? Why do they form ? What is their nature ? Unfortunately, I cannot further expand on this here as much as I'd like, and I let you to your meditations and searchings.
However, alchemically speaking, and this is where it becomes relevant, far beyond atoms, - and in reality ours beloved ancients alchemists had no idea of it, and you can also nowadays, not using this concepts in order to acheive the Magnum Opus, the proof is that, at that time there were far more metallic transmutation than now, but back to the subject -, we can study crystallizations in the frame of Philosophy/'Chemistry' and try to see through the mechanics of our protagonists, so well known now : Sulfurs, Mercuries, Salts, with an S at the end, yes, because, even if all Sulfurs are a Sulfur, and all Mercuries ... you know, you get it; we are here in the scope not speculative, but operative, and we need greatly of distinctions between principles. Because, even if they are linked to the general archetye of the matter (Principle itself : Sulfurs => Sulfur archetype), they are not all behaving the same in every situations depending of their qualities (volatile, fixe, volatilized, fixed). Still with me ? Good.
The vegetable potash salt, K2CO3, the one found in general in the vegetable kingdom, is properly constitutive to the structure and life of the plant itself.
Extracted from the ashes, this salt bears in itself a complex nature, and, alchemically speaking, almost complete, id est, Sulfur, Mercury and Salt.
I said, alsmost complete, because its nature is to be deliquescent, and thus, put in the open air, will attract water, and form a liquid, but, yet, it will dry and crystallize, and this after a delay of a month or two depending of the climate. In reality, all the deliquescent salts do the same. But why ? Because it drank. If we think like children, we could imagine that this salt was very thirsty. Now, it had enough water. And it will retain only what it needs and this will dry out, naturally not deliquescent anymore. Yes, it was dehydrated ! And if ever we heat again this salt, it will be again deliquescent and form a water very quickly. Fire, made it dehydrated again and removed the humidity. As we know, fire is the opposite of water.
Why then will we find this salt in the vegetable kingdom ? If we look closely the kindgoms we could see that minerals are from earth element, plants from water, insects from air and animals/humans from fire. Thus, "tartar salt", is linked to water/plants. It will be able to find the water it needs there.
I let you know meditate of the animal kingdom salt....
About Liver of Sulfur.
Let seen now a little bit more the characteristics of this matter, with simples expriments. We already let it melt and cool. And we observed a curious change in colours, going from yellow green to beige, to brown, to red brown and going back to the normal colour by the same scale.
This matter do not lack of synonymes : Barège Salt, Liver of Sulfur, Hepar Sulfuris, Salt Duobus... And this matter is completely deliquescent.
Barège From Germany.
It is sometimes used in metal patinas, in order to burnish or in the blackening statues or jewells, and its action, after having myself tested it on silver, is immediate and drastic (under liquid form), the lunar shinning at the very second that the liquid is applied, completely disappear under a coat of shadow, of a black, brownish colours, sometime, depending of the concentration of the solution, the colour will be of old gold, and even sometimes a bit reddish.
Shall we scratch a bit the surface that the colours vanishes. Butter of antimony (SbCl) is also used in order to blacken metals, but in a more martial area of applications : in armory, to blacken the steel of guns & rifles. I don't know if it is still used, but it was.
Liver of sulfur bought in store is often quite expensive. It is also of a rough quality, quite not well mixed.
But, two methods can generate this liver of sulfur : The wet one, and the dry one.
The wet one uses water, NaOH or KOH and flowers of sulfur, and everything is mixed together in due proportions. The best is to use the deliquescented salts. In fact, only strong bases can "wet" the sulfur and make it soluble. We were talking a bit about saponification earlier, and it is the case so to speak.
The second one, the dry, is just a fix alcali and flowers of sulfur, fuzed together at the lowest possible temperature in order to avoid any sublimation of the sulfur. If ever you do this, do it in open air, in a non metallic dish, and wear gloves and complete face gazmask with the appropriate cartridge, no kidding.
In the first case we get a very nice red solution, thick and tinging the side of the glass in a characteristi yellow colour. The dry method gives a brownish/Yellow green mass, looking like liver. Thus the name "liver of sulfur".
For the following of the operations, we dissolve a bit of this mass in water, and wait for the complete solution. Add a bit of water if ever it is needed. You can also wait for its complete dissolution by deliquescence. It is just longuer.
A yellow liquid appears :
Following this, let this liquid evaporate in the open air.
Curiously, I wore the dish with one hand and it let a kind of print in the liquid. Why is the liquid not reacting the same at this place, I don't know and can't really explain it. Furthermore, the water was cold.
We get a whitish paste, crystalline, and of great finesse.
The paste is not deliquescent and will be gathered with a bit of water, forming a milk.
We can call this matter the "Milk of Sulfur".
If we let the Liver in deliquescence and that we put it under a solvant, like alcohol, then we have a very nice tincture, at first yellow, then red, it is pure sulfur. A little bit of patience, let the tube, without moving it, at normal temperature, and you'll have beautiful needles of pure sulfur forming inside the alcohol. They will fall on the bootm becaus of their own weight. The alcohol reached a point of saturation and the crystallization occured by itself. Too much alcohol for too less sulfur will not give you nice crystals, the sulfur being too much diluted will not crystallize as nicely. Unfortunately I don't have to photography of my needles of sulfur :( They can reach about a cm long.
And, we find again here our crystallization of sulfur ... like in the above article. Same result, not the same methodology. One dry, one wet.
Crystals of Sulfur under formation.
Diluted Liver under alcohol.
See the richest red above, and depleted liver below. Clearly sulfur prefers alcohol than water + alcali.
We can use sulfur upon metals, in order to blacken then, as statd above, or even in order to "work" on them and to extract, so to speak, their soul. Is it a ionic solution ? Maybe.
We will play a bit with it, let's go now !
Take a bit of liquid liver of sulfur, and put it on copper, it will blacken in the moment. And it will give, with time, what we could call a lychen or a crown of venus.
Growth of crystals. Nice :)
Chemicall but very nice to witness.
Okay, so, what now ?
Lets put this ring under a little bit more Barège and and wait again a moment without touching it :
Sulfur is fixed on the metal, and the alcali salt crystallizes. Becaus it is freed from the bond with sulfur. This action will draw ions of copper, giving the blue colour.
Is it finished ? No. Will still can have fun and have wonders to witness, a transmutation ? No, unfortunately ! But, for our ancestors, a beginning maybe to their eyes. In old books of Goldsmiths we can find such recipes, tinging metals into another colours in order to make profit. That type of frauds was pretty cmmon at that time (around 1700).
One can maybe use tin or aluminum leaves for this process. But it is here just a curiosity.
Take the previous solution and add KOH over it, everything will precipitate under a black pit, but with slow heat, it will be blue again. (I present the experiment as I did myself, maybe there is a shorter version of it).
With KOH and heat.
Here, I've poured three drops of this blue "tincture" of venus, on silver leaves (no it is not transmuted depites the appearances because under HCl test everything disolves).
Tadammmm ! We could believe it is pure gold.
We have a very nice colour, it looks like gold. Some parts though are not yet coloured, because they have not been in contact with the liquid.
I hope you enjoyed it folks, it is better to share the photos that stay aslepep in the computer than forgetting them.
If ever you would like to make this experiment, don't forget the simples rules of security.