The Philosopher's stone, or more commonly known as the English philosopher's stone (Latin: pencil philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance capable of transmitting metal bases (eg, lead, mercury) into gold (chrysopoeia, those in Greek χρυσός khrusos, "gold" and ποιεῖν poiēin, "do") or silver. It also extends one's life and is called the elixir of life, available for rejuvenation and to achieve eternal life; for centuries it has become the most sought after alchemy.
The philosopher's stone became the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, representing perfection, enlightenment, and absolute heavenly happiness. It is also able to extend one's life and is called the elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and for achieving immortality; for many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal in alchemy. Attempts at its discovery were known as the Magnum Opus ("Great Works").
The earliest references to the philosopher's stone in the scriptures can be found in the Cheirokmeta of Zosimos of Panopolis (c. 300 AD). Elias Ashmole and the anonymous author of Gloria Mundi (1620) claim that the history of alchemy dates back to the time of Adam, and that he himself came to know about it from God. This knowledge is said to have been passed down by biblical patriarchs, which gave them a long life.
The stone legend is also compared to the biblical history of Solomon's Temple and the rejected stone described in Psalm 118. The theoretical origins of stone creation can be traced back to Greek philosophy. Alchemists used classical elements, the concept of anima mundi, and Creation stories presented as texts in Plato's Timaeus as analogies for their process.
According to Plato, the four elements come from a single source or prima materia (first matrix), which is associated with keyos (chaos). Prima materia is also the name given by the alchemists for the main ingredient for the philosopher's stone creation.