The Kermes

The Kermes was a spagyric medicine commonly used in the XVII century. Its preparation was minutely described in the book of Chymica Geral of the A. J. Silva teacher at the Academy of the Polytechnic School of Porto, 1886, page 337 and in Cours de Chymie of Lemery, Paris, 1756, pages 269 and 319.

The kermes is an antimony salt that you can prepare by the dry or the wet way.

Dry way

Melt in a mud refractory crucible on a gas oven, 5 parts of natural antimony sulphide or stibnite, thin powdered, with 3 of potassium carbonate anhydrous. The melted mass is flowed on a marble stone, left to become lukewarm and then grind or crushed in a Pyrex glass or porcelain mortar and dissolved in boiling water whose weight should be 80 times the one of the mass.

The filtered liqueur abandons (it precipitates) by cooling down, a powdery substance, of a red yellow colour. That is the kermes. Wash carefully this substance, dry it at a moderate temperature in a porcelain container and leave it in a large mouth glass flask to the shelter of the light.

Wet way

Boil during three-quarter of an hour in a glass Pyrex vase on an electric oven, one part of antimony sulphide, thin powdered and 22 parts of sodium carbonate anhydrous in 250 parts of tap water.

The filtered liquid deposits the kermes by cooling down.

The mother waters of the kermes contain the sulphantimous acid in dissolution by the alkaline sulphide, and, this last one being treated by the acid that decomposes this sulphide, it precipitates a moisturised antimony sulphide, the one that is commonly known by the name of gold antimony gold sulphur.

We had the occasion of trying the preparation of the kermes as well as the antimony gold sulphur one.

This last one was prepared by dissolving the coming kaput of recent martial regulus, crushed thin, powdered and dissolved in rainwater on an electric or gas oven at moderate temperature.

After the dissolution is properly filtered, pour in vinegar spirit at 10% Baume.

By cooling down, the dissolution precipitates the gold antimony sulphur.

Keep it in a large mouth glass flask to the shelter of the light.

Rubellus Petrinus

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