Dagmar Wujastyk

Making gems. Part three: Tweaking the recipe

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Making rubies


The fish black is ready! This is the base product needed for producing a whole series of gems: rubies, sapphires, emeralds, garnet, topaz, and blue sapphires.

Time to start making those rubies!



Here’s the recipe:

एतत्कर्षद्वयं तस्याः काचकूप्यां विनिक्षिपेत् ॥५॥

वर्षोपलास्तु तेनैव लालयित्वा सुपाचिते ।

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Seed lac from a peepal tree

Making gems. Part one: fish black


We’re back! Just for a one-off mini-series, though. Probably.


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Gold imitation with chalcopyrite

We have come to the final experiment of this series!

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Aurifiction revisited

We are nearing the end of this series of experiments. But before we wrap up with one last recipe, we want to revisit one we did before: A recipe for imitating gold from the Rasaprakāśasudhākara.

This is the recipe:


ताम्रे सप्तगुणं नागं‌ वाहितं पुनरेव हि /

तेन ताम्रेण रसकं सप्तवारं च वाहयेत् // ५४ //

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Out of all the recipes we chose, this one probably had us scratching our heads the most: The Rasaprakāśasudhākara’s second recipe for making silver. It features uncertain, and exotic materials, and an unusual method.


खण्डं कर्षप्रमाणं हि सुमलक्षारकस्य हि

वेष्टितं नरकेशेन द्रुते नागे निमज्जितम् //७४//

निर्वापितं निम्बुजले चैकविंशतिवारकम्

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Argentifaction – Making silver

When Andrew and I selected recipes for this series of experiments, we favoured recipes that appeared simple. Method 14 for making silver made the cut because it was short and featured only a few ingredients: copper, brass, bronze, arsenic sulfide, and silver. Nothing too fancy.

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We have arrived at the eighth, and for us, final procedure! This step is called the stimulating or kindling (dīpana) of mercury. And here is what the text (Rasahṛdayatantra, chapter 2, verse 11) tells us about this step:

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In the sixth procedure, the mercury was supposed to regain its power, which had been suppressed through the earlier cleansing procedures.

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