Alchemist's Vial -- 8th Century A.D.

Superb, 7.6 cm (3"), heavy clear aquamarine glass, cylindrical body with rounded base; four tooled constrictions on neck; professionally mounted on a clear acrylic base.

This vial was used to collect certain substances which resulted from the 10-Step Alchemical Process then in use among practitioners. Traces of chemistry remain inside the bottle.

It may have had a cork, which was rare at that time, coming mostly from Portugal's trade route, or more commonly, a glass or wooden stopper, waxed to fit exactly.

Items of this type are seldom recognized and are often mistaken for perfume bottles; this is a type of vial specific to the 8th century practices of alchemists, a practice which dates back to Babylonian and Sumerian cultures.

The precise methods of alloying gold were a closely-kept secret, passed on from father to son; determination of the exact gold ratio, which today we call karats -- 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold to 10 parts "other" -- was also a profound secret, and was originally the cause of the rise of alchemy, not the search to make gold from lead. It was the basic art of the metallurgist of the period.

During the Middle Ages, the Alchemist became merged with the Magus, and the mythology of Lead-To-Gold was born and has since become the Truth, just as Robin Hood became a hero in legend although he was a vicious thief, and Cleopatra becomes a femme fatale, Maid Marian is borrowed from another legend to dress up the Robin Hood legend, and Queen Guinivere and Launcelot are plopped into the Arthurian legends to make a better story.

It's still happening today.

Perhaps this bottle helped you in a past life to create the exact potion needed for that little experiment in Afterlife Adventures? Maybe it adorned your alchemist's workbench in some darkened chamber of mysteries.

Or perhaps it just sat around, long forgotten in some time-encrusted box until a tomb-raider with an entrenching tool came along and dug it up, to land here on my website, waiting for you to rediscover your past.

Very modestly priced, at: