Alchemy And The Fabrication Of Pearls


In its earliest days, alchemy was a spiritual as well as a material quest for perfection. The goal was to perfect all souls, the souls of humans as well as the souls of metals. Maria Hebrea, my model for Miriam bat Isaac, regarded metals as living (and dying) and having male and female parts with the potential in her laboratory at least metaphorically to sexually generate the perfect metal. But the objective of most alchemists was more practical: to invent less expensive ways to obtain silver and gold, fabricate pearls, and add luminosity to precious stones as well as to produce all kinds of tinctures and dyes.

In “The Brother,” a Miriam bat Isaac short story published in the HellBound Books anthology Crime Pays (2021), Miriam is interrupted in her work perfecting the fabrication of pearls: “Miriam, something bizarre has happened.”

I put aside my reagents—I’d been perfecting the fabrication of pearls—got up from my workbench and slid into the chair behind my ebony desk. My visitor flopped into the chair across from me. “Listen, I’m sorry to bother you again,” he said, “especially after yesterday, but…”

Of course, Miriam was not seeding oysters. She had another method, still unknown, for creating pearls. All I can tell you is “The Brother” is about a theft of something more valuable than pearls. The rest you can find out for yourself right here: https://www.junetrop.com/copy-of-june-s-other-stories-1

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