John Baptista Porta
(Giambattista della Porta)
The Sixth Book of Natural Magick
"Of Counterfeiting Precious Stones"
Chapter I - "Of certain Salts used in the composition of Gems."
Chapter II - "How Flint, or Crystal is to prepared, and how Pastils are
Chapter III - "Of the fornace, and the Parts thereof."
Chapter IV - "To Make Colors."
Chapter V - "How Gems are Colored."
Chapter VI - "How Gems may otherwise be made."
Chapter VII - "Of Several Tinctures of Crystal."
Chapter VIII - "Of making Smalt or Enamel."
Chapter IX - "To make Smalt of a clear rose color."
Chapter X - "Of leaves of Metal to be put under Gems."
Chapter XI - "How leaves of Metals are to be Polished."
Chapter XII - "Of building a Fornace for the coloring of Plates."
Chapter XIII - "How rays are to be colored by a mixture of Metals."
From the adulterating of metals, we shall pass to the counterfeiting of
jewels. They are by the same reason, both arts of kin, and done by the
fire. And it is no fraud, says Pliny, to get gain to live by. And the
desire of money has so kindled the firebrand of luxury, that the most
cunning artists are sometimes cheated. They are counterfeited by diverse
ways, either by cutting jewels in the middle, and putting in the colors, and
joining them together. Or else by giving a tincture to Crystal that is all
one piece, or counterfeiting Crystal by many ingredients, or we shall
attempt to make true jewels to depart from their proper color, and all of
them to be so handsomely colored, that they may show like natural jewels.
Lastly, I shall show how to made Smalt of divers colors.
"Of certain Salts used in the composition of Gems."
WE will first set down certain operations, which are very necessary in the
making of gems, lest we be forced to repeat the same thing over again. And
"How to make Salt Soda."
The herb Kali or Saltwort is commonly called Soda. Grind this Soda very
small, and sift it into a powder. Put it into a Brass Cauldron and boil it,
pouring in for every pound of Soda, a Firkin of water. Let it boil for four
hours, till the water be consumed to a third part. Then take it form the
fire, and let it stand twelve hours, while the dregs settle to the bottom,
and the water becomes clear. Then drain out the water with a Linen cloth,
into another vessel, and pour fresh water into the Cauldron. Boil it again,
and when it is cold, as before, and all the dross settled, filtrate the
clear water out again. Do as much the third time, still having a care to
try with your tongue, whether it be still Salt. At last, strain the water,
and set it in an earthen vessel over the fire, keeping a constant fire under
it, until the moisture being almost consumed, the water grow more thick, and
be condensed to Salt, which must presently be taken out with an Iron ladle,
and of five pounds of Soda, you will have one pound of Salt.
"How to make Salt of Tartar."
Take the Lees of old wine, and dry it carefully. It is commonly called
Tartar. Put into an Alimbeck, made in such sort, that the flame may be
retorted from the top, and so augment the heat. There let it burn, you will
see it grow white, then turn it with your Iron Tongs, so that the upper part
which is white may be at bottom, and turn the back up to the flame. When it
has ceased smoking, take it out, and break part of it, to see whether it be
white quite through, for that is an argument of the sufficient burning,
because it often happens, that the outside only is burned, and the rest of
it remains crude. Therefore, when it has gained the color of Chalk, it must
be taken out. And when it is cold, grind it, and lay it in water in some
wide-mouthed vessel a quarter of a day. When the water is grown clear,
filtrate it, and strain it into another vessel, and the pour water again
unto the settlement, observing the same things we spoke of before, until the
water has taken out all the Salt, which will come to pass in the third or
fourth time. Pour your water under it, and attend the work until the water
be consumed by the force of the fire, which being done, the Salt will stick
to the bottom. It being thus made, preserve it in a dry place, lest it turn
"How Flint, or Crystal is to prepared, and how Pastils are boiled."
The matter of which gems are made, is either Crystal or Flint, from whence
we strike fire, or round pebbles found by the river sides. Those are the
best which are taken up by the river Thames, white, clear, and of the
bigness of an Egg. For of those are made best counterfeit gems, though all
will serve in some sort. Some think that Crystal is the best for this
purpose, because of the brightness and transparency of it, but they are
deceived. The way of making gems, is this, take river pebbles and put them
into a Fornace, in that place where the retorted flame is most intense.
When they are red hot, take them out and fling them into water. Then dry
them, and powder them in a Mortar, or a Handmill, until they are very fine,
put them into a wide-mouthed vessel, full of rain water, and shake it well
in your hands, for so the finest part will rise to the top, and the
grossest will settle to the bottom. To that which swims at top, pour fresh
water, and stir the dust again. And do this often, until the gross part be
quite separated and sunk down. Then take out the water, and let it settle,
and in the bottom there will lie a certain filmy matter. Gather together,
and reserve the refined powder. But while the stone is ground, both the
Mortar and the mill will lose somewhat of themselves, which being mixed with
the powder will foul the gem. Therefore it is worth the labor to wash that
away. To which end, let water be often poured into the Lavel, and stirred
about, the dust of the Mortar will rise to the top, by reason of its levity,
and powder of pebbles will retire to the bottom by the reason of its weight.
Skim the Lavel, and separate them with a spoon, till all that sandy and
black dust be taken off, then strain out the water, and reserve the powder
to dry. These being done, we must teach,
"How Pastils are boiled."
Artificers call those pellets which are made of salts, and the forenamed
powder and water, Pastils. Take five parts of Salt of Tartar, as many of
Salt of Soda, double the quantity of these of the fore spoken powder of
pebbles, and mix them very well in a stone Mortar. Sprinkle them with water
and wet them, so that they may grow into a paste, and make Pastils of them
in bigness of your fist. Set them in the Sun, and dry them well. Then put
them into a Fornace of reverberation, the space of six hours, increasing the
fire by degrees, that at last they may become red hot, but not melt,
therefore use no Bellows. When they are baked enough, let them cool, and
they will become so hard, that they will endure almost the Hammer.
"Of the Fornace, and the Parts thereof."
Now the Fornace is to be built, which is like to that of Glass makers, but
less according to the proportion of the work. Let your Fornace be eight
foot high, and consist of two vaults, the roof the lower must be a handful
and a half thick. The vault itself must have a little door, by which you
may cast in wood to feed the fire there. Let it also have on the top, and
in the middle of its roof, a hole about a foot in breadth, by which the
flame may penetrate into the second vault, and reach the upper roof, whence
the flame being reverberated, does cause a vehement heat. In this upper
vault there must be cut out in the wall small holes of a handful in breadth,
which must open and shut, to set the pots and pans in on the floor, and to
take them out again. Artificers call these pots Crucibles. They are made
of Clay, which is brought from Valencia, and does very strongly endure fire.
They must be a finger thick, and a foot and a half deep, their bottom
somewhat thicker, lest they should break with the force of the fire. All
things thus provided, cast in your wood and fire, and the Fornace heat by
degrees, so that it may be perfectly hot in a quarter of a day. Your
workmen must be diligent to perform their duty, then let the Pastils, being
broken into pieces about the bigness of a Walnut, be put in Crucibles, and
set in the holes of the Fornace built for that purpose, with a pair of Iron
Tongs to every pot. When they melt, they will rise up in bubbles, growing
greater and greater, must be pricked with sharp wires, that the vapor
passing out, the bubbles may sink down again, and not run over the mouth of
the Crucibles. Then let other pieces be put in, and do as before, until the
pots be filled to the top. And continue the fire for a whole day, until the
matter be concocted. Then put an Iron hook into the pots, and try whether
the matter has obtained a perfect transparency. Which if it has, take it
out of the post with Iron instruments for that purpose, and cast it into
clear water, to wash off the filth and stains, and to purge out the Salt.
For when gems are made, on a sudden the Salt breaks forth, as if it were
pulled out, and overcast them like a cloud. Yet there must be a great deal
of diligence used. While you draw out this vitrified matter, let it touch
the sides of the Fornace for it will cleave thereto like Birdlime, hardly to
be pulled off without a part of the wall. As also lest it fall into the
vessels. For it is very difficult again to separate it, and it prejudices
the clearness of the Glass. When it is cold, put it again into the
Crucibles, and let it glow for two days, until it be concocted into perfect
Glass. When this vitrified matter has stood so for two days, some, to make
it more fine and bright, lest it should be specked with certain little
bubbles (to which Glass is very subject) put into the Crucible some White
Lead, which presently grows red, when melts with the Glass and becomes clear
and perspicuous. Make your withdrawal then with an Iron hook, for if it be
clear of those bubble, it is perfected, and so will be a perfect mass of
gems. Now we will teach the several colors, yellow, green, or blue, wherein
we will cast our gems.
"To Make Colors."
While the Crystal is preparing in the Fornace, by the same fire the colors
may also be made. And first,
"How to make Crocus of Iron."
Take three or four pounds of the Limature of iron, wash it well in a broad
vessel, for by putting it into water, the weight of the Iron will carry that
to the bottom, but the straws and chips, and such kind of filth, will swim
on the top, so you will have your filings clean and washed. Then dry it
well, and put it into an earthen glazed pot with a large mouth, and pour
into it three or four gallons of the best and sharpest Vinegar. There let
it macerate three or four weeks, stirring it every day seven or eight times
with an Iron rod. Then giving it time to settle, pour out the Vinegar into
another pot, and put fresh Vinegar into the Iron, and do this, till the
Vinegar has consumed all the filings. Then put all the Vinegar into an
earthen vessel, and set it on the fire, and let it boil quite away. In the
bottom there will remain a filmy dirty matter, mixed with kind of a fatness
of the Iron, which the fire by continuance will catch hold of. Let it burn,
and the remaining dust will be Crocus of iron. Others file your rusty
nails, and heating them red hot, quench them in Vinegar, then strain them
and dry the rust, and set it again to the fire, till it be red hot, then
quench it again with Vinegar, and this they do three or four times. At
length they boil the Vinegar away, and take the remaining Crocus from the
bottom. Next remains to show,
"How to reduce Zaphara into Powder."
A little window is to be made out of the side of the Fornace, nigh to which
must be built a little cell or oven, so joined to the mouth of the oven,
that the flame may be brought in through a little hole. Let this cell have
a little door without, to admit the workman's hand upon occasion. Let this
cell be a foot in length and breadth. Set the Zaphara upon a potters tile,
into the cell, and shut the door. Let it be red hot, and after six hours
take it out and put it into water, so will it cleave into pieces. Let it be
dried, stamped, and so finely seirced, that it may scarce be felt. But if
it cannot be effected with a pestle and mortar, pour water upon the powder,
and stir it with your hands, and let it settle for a while, then strain it
into another vessel, and pour fresh water into the powder, and reiterate
this so often, till that which settles, being beat and brayed, do pass
through with water. Then dry it, and it will become very fine powder.
"How to burn Copper."
Set the filings of Copper, with an equal quantity of Salt mixed in an
earthen pot, over the fire, and turn it about three or four hours with an
Iron hook, that it may be burned on all sides. There let it burn a whole
day. Then take it out, and divide it into two parts, lay the one part
aside, and set the other with Salt on the fire again, for an artificial day.
Do the same three or four times, that it may be more perfectly Calcined,
always having a care that it be as hot as may be, but that it melts not.
When it is burnt, it is black.
"How Gems are colored."
All things being thus prepared, there is nothing more, I think, remains to
make an end of this work, but to know how to color them. And we begin with
"How to dye a Sapphire."
Artificers begin with a Sapphire. For when it is colored, unless it be
presently removed from the fire, it loses its tincture, and the longer it
remains in the fire, the brighter it grows. Put a little Zaphara , as they
call it, into a pot of glass, and two Drachms to a pound of Glass, then stir
it continually from top to bottom with an Iron hook. When it is very well
mixed, make trial whether the color please you or no, by taking a little out
of the pot. If it be too faint, add some more Zaphara, if too deep, put in
more Glass, and let it boil for six hours. Thus you may,
Or Seawater, another kind of Sapphire. Beat your Calcined brass into very
fine powder, that you may scarce feel it, for otherwise it will mix with the
crystal, and make it courser. The quantity cannot be defined, for there are
lighter and deeper of that kind. For the most part, for one pound one
Drachm will be sufficient.
"How to counterfeit the color of Amethyst."
To a pound of Crystal, put a dram of that they call Manganess, and so the
color is made. If the gem be great, make it paler, if small, make it
deeper. For they use such for rings, and other uses.
"To counterfeit the Topaz."
To every pound of Glass, add a quarter of an ounce of Crocus of iron, and
three ounces of red lead, to make it of a brighter red. First put in the
lead, then the Crocus of iron.
When you have made a Topaz, and would have a Chrysolite, add a little more
Copper, that it may have a little verdure. For the Chrysolite differs from
the Topaz in nothing, but that it has a greater luster. So we are wont,
"To Counterfeit an Emerald."
This shall be the last. For we must let our work be as quick as possible,
because the Copper being heavy, when it is mixed with the Crystal, does
presently sink down to the bottom of the pots, and so the gems will be too
pale of a color. Therefore thus you must do. When you give the tincture to
a Cyanus, you may easily turn it into a Smaragde, by adding Crocus of iron,
in half the quantity of the Copper or Brass, viz., if at first you put in a
forth part of Copper. Now you must add an eighth part of Crocus of iron,
and as much Copper. After the colors are cast in, let it boil six hours,
that the material may grow clear again. For the casting in the colors will
make them contract a cloudiness. Afterwards let the fire decrease by
degrees, until the Fornace be cold. Then take out the pots and break them,
wherein you shall find your counterfeit precious stones.
"How Gems may be otherwise made."
The manner which I have set down, is peculiar and usual to our artificers,
and by them is also accounted a secret. But I will set down another way,
which I had determined always to keep secret to myself. For by it are made
with less charge, less time, and less labor, much more refulgent, bright,
and livelier gems. Whose surfaces and luster, the Salt shall not deface in
a much longer time. Although those old counterfeits which are found at
Puteoli, in the Mortar of ruined houses, and on the shores, are yet very
bright, and of a perfect clearness, so that they seem beyond the imitation
of our age. Yet I will endeavor by this way, not only to equal them, but
make them much better. Wherefore give ear, and believe. The materials are
thus made. Take the comb of a Cock, and cutting his gullet in two, keep the
head and neck. Put it into a pot, and set it in a hard fire. Stop it close
that no coals or ashes arising with the smoke, or soot, fall in, and spoil
the luster of it. When the fire is kindled, you will hear it hiss. When it
is red hot, take it up with Iron tongs, and quench it in clear water, and
dry it. Do this three times, changing the water, lest there be any filth.
Then grind it on a Marble till it be so fine that you may blow it about, and
reserve it for use. Thence have you the Philosopher's Stone, most fragrant
in fire, and chief in the triplicity. If you are ignorant of the
Philosopher's Stone, learn it from these verses, which I found in an old
"Arctus est hominis, qui constat sex elementis.
Cui p si addideris, s. in. m. mutare si bene scis.
Hoc erit os nostrum constans lapis Philosophorum."
Now we have advised you of the materials. Let us advise also about the
color. And first of all, I will show you,
"How to counterfeit a Topaz."
Put your material into a pot, and cover it will a lid full of holes. Over
which there must be laid another, that it may exhale, and yet receive not
hurt from the smoke. Let it stand in its Fornace to the middle of the space
of a whole day, and it will be a Topaz. Now,
"To counterfeit a Chrysolite,"
Cram the Cock, and for every ounce give him to eat two grains of the beloved
Flower of Venus. Stroke him, and in due time you shall see.
"To make an Emerald."
Feed the Cock again, and for every ounce, give him four grains of Wheat, and
he will shine with a most bright luster. But,
"To make a Jacinth,"
Give the Cock grains of the Bloody Stone, instead of Wheat, and he will
easily lay hold of them.
"Of Several Tinctures of Crystal."
I have declared diverse Tinctures of Glass, and those no vulgar and common
ones, but such as are rarely known, and gained, and tried with a great deal
of labor. Now I will relate some ways of staining Crystal, and especially
those that are choice, and known to very few, if not only to myself.
"To stain Crystal with the color of Jacinth, or a Ruby, without breaking, or
Take six parts of Stibium, four of Orpin, three of Arsenic, as much of
Sulfur, two of Tutty. Beat them all asunder, and sift thru a fine Seirce.
Put them into a pot. Hang your Crystal by wires, or cover it over with the
powders, and so set it on the fire, that it may be hot, four or five hours.
But use no Bellows, lest it break in pieces or melt. It is a certain sign
of being perfectly colored, if you take out a piece, and that be of a bright
shining color. Otherwise deliver it to the fire again, and after some time,
try it again. But you must have a great care, lest it cool too suddenly
when you take it off the fire, for it will crumble and fall to pieces. If a
violet color pleases you, take it soon from the fire. If you would have a
deep purple, let it stand longer. We can make a violet with Orpin only.
"To turn a Sapphire into a Diamond."
This stone, as all others, being put in the fire, loses his color. for the
force of the fire makes the color fade. Many do it several ways. For some
melt Gold, and put the Sapphire in the middle of it. Others put it on a
plate of Iron, and set it in the middle of the Fornace of reverberation.
Others burn it in the middle of a heap of Iron dust. I like to do it a
safer way, thus. I fill an earthen pot with live lime, in the middle of
which I place my Sapphire. And cover it with coals, which being kindled, I
stop the Bellows from blowing, for they will make it fly into pieces. When
I think it changed, I take a care that the fire may go out itself. And then
taking out the stone, I see whether it has contracted sufficient whiteness.
It has, I put it again in its former place, and let it cool with the fire.
If not, I cover it again, often looking on it, until the force of the fire
has consumed all the color, which it will do in five or six hours. If you
find that the color be not quite vanished, do again as before, until it is
perfectly white. You must be very diligent, that the fire heats by degrees,
and also cools. For it often happens, that sudden cold does either make it
congeal or fly to pieces. All other stones lose their color like the
Sapphire. Some sooner, some later, according to their hardness. For the
Amethyst you must use but a soft and gentle fire. For a vehement one will
over harden it, and turn it to dust. This is the art we use, to turn other
precious stones into Diamonds, which being cut in the middle, and colored,
make another kind of adulterating gems. Which by this experiment we will
make known. And it is,
"How to make a stone white on one side, and red or blue on the other."
I have seen precious stones thus made, and in great esteem with great
persons, being of two colors. On one side a Sapphire, and on the other a
Diamond, and so of diverse colors. Which may be done after this manner.
For example, we would have a Sapphire should be white on one side, and blue
on the other. Or should be white on one side and red on the other. Thus it
may be done. Plaster up that side which you would have red or blue, with
Chalk, and let it be dried. Then commit it to the fire, those ways we spoke
of before, and the naked side will lose the color and turn white, that it
will seem a miracle of nature, to those that know not by how slight an art
it may be done.
"How to stain glass of diverse colors."
I will not pass by a thing worth the relation, which happened by chance
while we were making experiments. The flour of Tin takes away the
perspicuity of Crystal Glass, and makes it of divers colors. For being
sprinkled upon Crystal Glasses that are polished with a wheel, and set to
the fire, it does variously color them and makes them cloudy. So that one
part will look like a stone, and another like an Opal of diverse colors.
But you must often take it out from the fire, and order it rightly, until it
is according to your desire. I have before told you how to make flour of
Tin for the purpose. I will add somewhat more, indeed no secret, nor very
necessary, but that nothing may be omitted by us in this work, viz.
"How to make a Jacinth,"
Beautiful enough, and not much unlike a true one. Put Lead into a hard
earthen pot and set it on the fire in a Glass makers Fornace, there let it
remain for some days till the Lead be vitrified, and it will be of the color
of a Jacinth.
"To counterfeit an Emerald."
You may do this almost in the same manner, and it will resemble the color of
a pleasant green Corn. Dissolve Silver with strong water, then casing into
the water some plates of Copper, as I told you, it will cleave to them.
Gather it together, and dry it, and set it into a Glass makers Fornace in an
earthen pot. Within a few days it will become an Emerald. To do the same
with other metals, I will leave to the trial of others. It is enough for me
to have found out and discovered the way.
"To counterfeit Carbuncles."
This we do with Orpin, and use it in some ornaments. For they are brittle,
and of a most flagrant color. They have much of the scarlet blush and cast
forth red sparkles. Take four ounces of Orpin, and grind it small. Then
put it into a Glass vessel whose bottom you must fortify against the force
of the fire with Mortar made with straw, and stop the mouth gently. The
fire being kindled, the smoke rises up and the thinnest part of the material
will rise to the top. And you will see it stick to the sides of the glass
and the neck. It will grow bigger by degrees, and new parts still flying
up, will make it grow thicker. And like boiling water gather into bubbles
which at last will increase so big, that they will fall down. Some will
stick to the neck of the glass. All of a most flagrant color, but brittle
and small. Break the glass and take off with a sharp point of a knife,
those red congealed bubbles which stick to the glass and use them. If you
would make one great one of those little bubbles, lay a great many little
ones upon a piece of glass, and melt them, and they will run into one. A
most pleasant sight to see.
"Of making Smalt or Enamel."
After gems we will endeavor to make Smalt or Enamel. It is a work almost of
the same nature, and of the same mixture and colors; this only difference
is between them, that in gems the glass is transparent, in this it is more
dense and solid. In ancient times they made their checker or mosaique work
of it. And Goldsmiths do use it in coloring and enameling Gold. It is tin
that gives it a body and solidity.
"To make white Enamel,"
Take two ounces of Lead ashes, four of Tin and make it into a body, with
double the quantity of Glass. Roll it into round balls, and set it on a
gentle fire all night. Take heed it stick not to the sides of the pot, but
stir it about with an Iron Spattle, and when it is melted, increase the
fire, and business is done.
"To make black Smalt ."
To a pound of Glass, you must add a Drachm of Manganess, for so it will be
of the color of a Lion. Then add a Drachm of Zaphara, and the mixture will
turn black. Make often trial, if it be of a dark purple or violet color.
For the Tin that gives it the body, will make it blacker.
"To make Smalt of a deep Yellow."
You may put to every pound of Crystal a little Crocus Martis, and tree
ounces of Jalloline, as they call it, which engravers use. At last, Lead
and Tin. But if you desire,
"To make Smalt of a paler yellow,"
Instead of Jalloline, add Jaletto, and you will have your desire.
"To make green Smalt."
Add burned Copper, and so it will be of a deeper color. But if you desire
it a paler, add the flakes of Copper, which fly off while the Smith hammers
it, being red hot.
"To make red Smalt,"
Add the Rust of Iron, very finely beaten. But when you would,
"Smalt dark on one side, and transparent of the other,"
Make your Pastils of earth, and double as much Glass. Set it a whole night
in the fire of reverberation, and let it melt in a convenient vessel,
stirring it with an Iron rod. So you shall perceive both transparent and
opacous parts in the same little orb. So,
"To make Smalt of the color of Amethyst."
It is done with nothing but Manganess. And if you would have it of a deeper
color, add more of the body, that is, of the flour of Lead and Tin.
"To make Smalt of sky-color."
It may be effected with Zaphara, by adding somewhat more of the body.
"To make speckled Smalt,"
Which being full of small specks, shall seem to be compounded of a great
many Lice, and very pleasant to behold. The opacous Smalt being made, pour
it upon Marble, and then presently sprinkle some Crocus upon it, or drop
some pale color in specks, all over it, and you shall have your desire.
"To make Smalt of two colors,"
Cast Smalt first of one color upon a Marble, as before. And presently
after, some of another color upon that. Then with an Iron rod press them
close, and join them together.
"To make the best kind of Smalt,"
Such as Goldsmiths use. To every pot allow two roles of Sal Soda, and some
sand, of which Glass is made, and it will be much more perfect.
"To make Smalt of a clear rose color."
The most skillful Glassmakers do labor very much, in coloring Smalt of a
rose color, which is commonly called Rossiclere. Seeing that in former
times they did it most beautifully and artificially. I will set down what
both I myself have done in it, and what I have received from other friends.
I have performed the best I could, to show others an opportune way of making
better. The manner is this. Cast ten pounds of Crystal in a pot, and when
you know it to be well melted, add a pound of the best red Lead, by half at
time, stirring it with an Iron rod as fast as you can, for the weight of it
will make it sink to the bottom. When it is well mixed, take it out of the
pot with Iron instruments fit for the purpose, and cast it into water. Do
this thrice. Then mix with it five ounces of Tin Calcined, and Cinnabaris
of a most bright color. And so stirring them about for three hours, let
them stand a while. When this is done, add moreover three ounces of
Vitrified Tin. Beat them together without any intermission, and you will
see a most lively rose color in the Glass, which you may use in Enamelling
To make Glass of Tin
Set a pound of Tin in a strong earthen pot, into the fire. Let it heat and
melt, then remove it with Iron Tongs into the hottest flames of the
Glassmakers Fornace, for three or four days. Afterwards, the pot being
taken out, and cold. Break it, and in the top you will find glass of a
Saffron color, not clear. But the longer it stands in the fire, the more
perfect it will grow. Neither have I known better in this kind, of those
many that I have tried. It must be reduced into fine powder. For the which
not only a Mortar and Mills will be requisite, but also a Porphyrian stone.
If it is too florid, you may make it of a more faint color, by adding Glass
"Another way to make it."
This is only for friends. Take nine parts of burnt Tin, seven of Lead, two
of Cinnabaris. Of Spanish Solder and Tartar, one part and a half. Of the
Blood stone one part, of Painters Red a fourth part. And do with it, as in
"Of leaves of Metal to be put under Gems."
There are certain leaves of metal laid under Gems, which being perspicuous,
are thereby made paler or deeper, as you will. For if you would have them
of a fainter color, you must put under them leaves of a more clear
brightness. If of a deeper, leaves of a darker hue. Moreover, Gems being
transparent, are seen quite through, and discover the bottom of the ring.
Which takes much of their beauty off. This is an invention of later times,
who by terminating the transparency of stones, which leaves of a most bright
and pleasant color, do sit and make up, and mend the color of the stones. I
have been very much delighted in this kind of work, and therefore will
deliver it particularly. The leaves are to be made either of Copper alone,
or of Copper, Gold, and Silver, mixed together. I will speak of those which
are made of Copper alone. You must by at the Braziers shops some thin
plates of Copper, of the thickness of strong paper. That they may be the
easier made thinner. These you must cut into pieces of three fingers in
length, and two in breadth, so that a sheet of two pounds, will be divided
into a hundred and thirty parts. These we must divide again into two parts,
that they may be hammered more easily. Take forty and beat them, as
artificers do Gold, when they beat it out into thin Rays. Let the Anvil and
Hammer be smooth and polished, lest the heavy strokes should make dents in
the Copper, and break it. Discontinue your work by turns, so that you may
Hammer the Copper while it is hot, and prepared by the fire. And put it
into the fire, when it is cold. For if you do otherwise, it will break in
pieces; which you must presently remove from the rest. For those that are
broken, will break others. But that they may be more easier prepared, when
they begin to be extenuated, I make use of this invention. There must be
prepared two plates of Iron, of a hand square, and the thickness of paper.
Double one of them, that it may receive the other within the folds of it.
So that they may receive the plates of Copper in the middle. And enclose
them on all sides, that they can neither flip out, nor any dust or ashes
fall in, to stick to them. When you have thus enclosed the Copper plates,
put them into the fire, and heat them. When you have thus enclosed the
Copper plates, put them into the fire, and heat them. Then take them out
with Iron Tongs, and shaking off the ashes, beat them with your Hammer till
they are cold. And so they will become thin and fine Rays. But while you
are beating one, set other to heat. And do this eight times over, until you
have hammered them very thin, and made them fit for your purpose. It will
be worth your labor to look often upon them, to see if any have broken in
the working, for they will break their fellows. Because they are often
found to turn black in the workings and foul, so that they often deceive the
eye, it is therefore fit, that you have a pot of water ready, with an equal
quantity of Tartar, and Salt in it, and let it boil over the fire. Put in
your Rays, and stir them about continually, till they are boiled white.
Then take them out, and wash them in a pot of clear water, until they are
very clean. Then dry them with a Linen cloth, and then heat them, and beat
them on the Anvil again, as before, until they spread into Rays, as thin as
leaf Gold. When this work is to be done, the Hammer and Anvil must be as
smooth and polished, and bright, as a Looking-glass which you may effect in
this manner. First of all, hold them to the Grindstone, where they grind
knives, until they are smoothed and planed. Then rub them with fine sand,
and Pumice stone. Afterwards glaze them with a wheel, and polish them with
a plate of Lead, and powder of Emerald. If you use any other art, you will
but lose your labor. Thus in two days your work will be finished, that is,
by heating your plates, eight or ten times, and preparing them, and by
whiting them four times at least. Finally, examine them all, whether they
are whole, and of a sufficient thinness. So that if any remain too think,
they may again be brought to the Hammer and perfected. But I must advise
you, the thinner they grow, the less time they must lie in the fire, because
they will presently melt. And so also in the water, because the Salt will
eat into them. At last, cut them with Shears into square pieces, that they
may be convenient for use.
"How leaves of Metals are to be Polished."
The plates being thus thinned and finished, we will fall to polishing of
them. But first we must provide tools, wherewith to perform it. Take a
plate of Copper of a foot in length, and a hand in breadth, most exquisitely
burnished, that it may be as smooth as a Looking-glass. Bow it either with
your hand, or a Hammer, by little and little, into the form of a semi
cylinder. Then turn a piece of wood, sot hat it may be equal, and fit for
it in every part, and be received into the convexity of it, where being
fastened with four nails at the corners of the plate, it may remain
steadfast. Fix this wood upon a little frame, with two bars of a foot
height, fastened to the ends of it. Now we will begin to burnish the
plates, which must be thus done. Provide Chalk made into fine powder, after
this sort, take some beaten Clay, wrap it in a clean and indifferently fine
cloth, and put it into a washing bowl full of water. Stir it about here and
there, in the water, that the finest part may be washed through and the
courser remain in the cloth. Then put the new Chalk into the cloth again.
Stir it and strain it till it all passes through the cloth, the then suffer
the water to settle, and Seirce it thru a strainer. Only changing the
water, unto no gross settlement remains. Then lay the cloth over the mouth
of the vessel, which must receive it, and tie it slack on. So strain it,
that you may be the more sure, that nothing but what is very fine can pass
through. Then press out the water, and reserve the chalk. Lay this Clay,
thus prepared upon the Copper, and rub it with a Poplar stick, until it
shines like Gold. Then wash it with water, over a wide mouthed pan, that
may receive the water. After this, have a Blood-Stone ready, very well
polished, upon a plate of Lead, with the dust of Emerald, it will become
most exquisitely smooth. Therefore, lay your Rays of Copper upon the
Copper, and spread it abroad with the thumb of your left hand. Then cast on
the Clay, and pour water on to wash it, and then wipe it off, and let only
the water remain to fasten them upon the Copper. Then take into your hands
the stone, being fastened to a stick. And polish the plates with it, having
a great care that they do not run into wrinkles. For then they are quite
spoiled. But when they begin to move, pour on some of the water, and that
will fix them again. Continue this, until you have made it all over as
bright and smooth as a Looking-glass. A token of their perfect polishing
is, when no marks of the running of the stone is seen upon them. Then
taking them off from the wood, cast them into a pot of water, until the rest
are all finished. And then wrap them in a clean Linen cloth. Dry them, and
lay them up in boxes, free from all dust and filth. But bend them like a
half pillar, so that the polished side may be inward, and tie them so with a
"Of building a Fornace for the coloring of Plates."
Now we will show how to color them. But first, let us describe the Fornace,
wherewith it must be done. Therefore let a Fornace be made of Iron plates
of a convenient thickness. Let it be a foot in height, as much in the
diameter of the length. Let it be covered on the top, with a circular
plate. In the center of the roof of it, cut a round hole, a handful in
breath. And set another Fornace upon it, of the same length and breadth,
and make a hole in that also, which must be set against the other, and join
them close together. Make a little door in the lower Fornace, close to the
ground. Let it be made with an arch, four fingers wide, and jet out half a
foot, like the mouth of an oven, and be joined in the same manner to the
great Fornace. Then kindle your coals in another place, until they cease
smoking. And with Iron Tongs cast them into the foresaid Fornace. Heat it
very well, and let the outward Fornace or mouth of the oven be filled half
way with live coals. These being thus disposed, fall to coloring the
plates. And first, I will teach you,
"How to color plates with a purple color."
Take the plates tied about with thread, as I told you, and fit them upon a
pair of Iron Tongs, which you must fasten at the forefend with an Iron ring,
that they may not open. Hold them upon the hole of the upper Fornace, that
they may receive the ascending smoke. And turn them about, until by degrees
you shall perceive them gather a purple color, without any other smoke then
what arises from the heat of the coals. When you think them colored enough,
remove them from the smoke and lay them aside.
"How to make them a Sapphire color."
It is done much after the same way. For taking the Rays in an Iron Tongs,
and holding them over the hole of the Fornace, cast upon the coals through
the low arched door, the feathers of a Goose, which grow upon her breast,
and then lay upon them a red hot Iron rod. For the smoke of the feathers,
arising through the tunnel of the Fornace, will beat upon the Rays, and make
them of a Sky color. When the Iron rod grows cold, take another and put in.
It is very admirable, how on a sudden these Copper Rays will change several
colors. Wherefore, when they have obtained the color which you desire, take
them off the Fornace presently, or otherwise they will alter into another.
"How to make them a Silver color."
Take a little Silver, and dissolve it with Aqua Fortis. Then pour some
fountain water into it, and your Copper Rays. Presently the water will be
troubled, and will stick upon the Copper like Silver Fleeces. Cast away the
water, and wash the Silver, and dry it in the Sun. And when it is dry, lay
it upon a Marble, and mix with it an out of Tartar, and as much ordinary
Salt. Grind them together, till they be well mixed. This being made into
powder, lay it on Copper, and rub it with your fingers, and it will make it
shine like Silver. Then spread the Rays upon the round wood, and the
Copper. Wet them with water, lay the powder on them, and rub them with your
thumbs, that they may become of a Silver color. Steep them in water, and
Levigate them with the Blood stone upon the before mentioned Copper. Then
set them in the smoke, and they will shine with a sky color.
"How to make them of the color of an Emerald"
It is very difficult, and there scarce is one of very many that will prove
right. First make your Rays of a sky color, as before. Then take those
which have not taken that color rightly, and lay two of them upon the hole
of the Fornace. And through the vault of the little door, fling some leaves
of Box upon red hot plates of Iron, where they will crackle like Bay leaves,
and send up a smoke through the hole, which will color the Rays. But before
they come to be of a green color, they must pass through many other colors,
as yellow, red, and sky color. But they must continue some time before they
obtain a perfect green.
"How to make them red, like a Ruby."
Fling some flocks of Scarlet upon the live coals, and lay the thin plates
over the hole, and the arising smoke will color them red.
"How to make them of the color of the Amethyst."
When it is made of a sky color, it passes through the color of the Amethyst.
Take it therefore off in time, and you shall have your wish.
"How Rays are to be colored by a mixture of Metals."
I will now show how Rays may be colored by mixture with other metals. Which
is of more difficulty, but of longer continuance. The former cost but
little labor, but they easily lose their color. These are harder to be
made; but keep their color longer. Take half a pound of Copper, and melt it
in a melting pot. Put into it a half a Crown of Gold. And when it is well
melted, and mixed, add some Tartar, that when it cools, the top of it may be
plain and smooth. After it is cold, set it aside. Then take another half
pound of Copper, and melt it in the same manner. Mix a Drachm of Silver
with it, and let it cool. Take it out of the pot, and file the outside of
it smooth. For the least crack, or chap, would spoil the work. You may
know whether there is any crack inside or out, by this sign; place it in an
even poise upon a piece of Iron, and strike it with another piece. If it
sound equally, and ring clearly, it is whole. If it does jar, it is cracked
somewhere. Let your pieces of metal be about a finger in size. Beat them
gently upon the Anvil, unless they break somewhere. Set them in the fire
and season them, and when they are cold, beat them with the Hammer into thin
Rays, as I have said before. If they chance to crack, file off the flaws.
And when they have been seasoned twice or thrice, in the fire, have your pot
of water ready. Prepared with Salt and Tartar, to whiten them, that you may
more exactly find out the cracks.
"To make them of the color of a Ruby."
The plates being finished, if you would make them of a Ruby color, do it
with flocks of Scarlet, as before. But then the rags must be of the mixture
of Copper and Gold.
"To make them of the color of a Sapphire or Emerald."
Let the plates be of Copper and Silver. The Sapphire color is made with
goose feathers. But the Emerald with Box leaves, holding them somewhat
longer over the fire. And these are the experiments which I have made
The end of the Sixth Book of Natural Magick