In 1789 Martin Klaproth isolated uranium from pitchblende for the first recorded time, however uranite was used in dying glass in the first century.

Through the age of alchemy, I have not been able to find any reference to pitchblende in any tables from Jakob Böhme or Paracelsus, or anywhere.

Reviews of Google Books, which only traces back to the 19th century, reveals many studies about the mineral from a more modern scientific "atomic theory" concept; to wit: The Playbook of Metals by John Henry Pepper (1861) includes a table of metals with associated ancient symbols (when known) in Chapter III; while a scientific discussion of Uranium, Vanadium, and Yttrium proceed in Chapter XXXV with a history of pitchblende. Robert Boyle's The Sceptical Chymist(1800 edition, of the treatise of 1661) enters great dialogue about the many alchemists, but doesn't give a table that I could find in the public domain. The London Librorum Impressorum Qui in Museo Brittanico, 1813 edition, published references to metallic elements from Apologia pro judicio Scholæ Parisiensis de Alchimia (1604), but it is all in Latin and I find searching it impossible. I have tried searching for translated editions of Geberi de Alchimia from the Islamic alchemist Jabir with little luck as well.

Was this mineral represented at any time with a symbol?

  • 1
    I wonder if questions about Alchemy are considered on-topic over on History of Science and Math?
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 26, 2022 at 18:11
  • @MCW Texts are in parable or poem, in old English or French or Latin. The treatises were not exactly Noah Webster’s standard. Try The Twelve Keys or Norton’s Ordinal of Alchemy. Pitchblende allegedly was a key to the philosopher’s stone by a French site claim. If you found it in a 5-second Google maybe you could share?
    – Vogon Poet
    Mar 26, 2022 at 23:57
  • 4
    You said "I have not been able to find any reference" which means you looked at some references that looked promising but didn't satisfy you. That's a good start, but you need to name them, link to them, and tell us why they're unsatisfactory.
    – Spencer
    Mar 27, 2022 at 13:20
  • According to this [Museum of Radiation and Radioactivity page] (orau.org/health-physics-museum/articles/…), pitchblende was known to Paracelsus. However, you seem to be right that there does not seem to be any record of a pitchblende symbol in use by alchemists.
    – Andrew M
    Mar 28, 2022 at 2:10


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