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Philosopher's Stone

The way to wealth. The ancient alchemists thought there was a substance which would convert all baser metals into gold. This substance they called the philosopher's stone. Here the word stone is about equal to the word substratum, which is compounded of the Latin sub and stratus (spread-under), the latter being related to the verb stand, stood, and meaning something on which the experiment stands. It was, in fact, a red powder or amalgam to drive off the impurities of baser metals. (Stone, Saxon, stán.)

Philosopher's stone.
According to legend, Noah was commanded to hang up the true and genuine philosopher's stone in the ark, to give light to every living creature therein.

Inventions discovered in searching for the philosopher's stone.
It was in searching for this treasure that Boticher stumbled on the invention of Dresden porcelain manufacture; Roger Bacon on the composition of gunpowder; Geber on the properties of acids; Van Helmont on the nature of gas; and Dr. Glauber on the “salts” which bear his name.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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