VERIFICATION: Posted: Thurs, Oct 13, 2005 at 20:39:49 (EDT)
Original: Mon, Oct 10, 2005 at 22:21:33 (EDT)
Posted by: Fred Zweig Recipient: Betty Harris
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Browser Type: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
IP Address: Decode-SB!.WJM.WJM.SJL
Subject: Re: Silver Refining Process
I suspect you are refering to the Biblical passage from Malachi 3. An ancient method of refining precious metal called cupelation would use fire to remove the base metals in an alloy. The base metal would soaks into the porous bone ash cupel leaving a near pure silver or gold. When the metal is fully molten the surface will become reflective.
I have been asked these questions many times and here is a response I gave to another guest.
'I am familiar with the verse from Malachi. The similarities of actual refining and the chapter and verse from the Bible are accurate. It is important not to overheat the silver when refined in this process and clean molten silver will shine with a mirror-like quality when it is ready to pour. The high temperatures do volatize the impurities and form on the surface as dross. It is important to be attentive to the molten metal as it does it no good to overheat it. It may not destroy the silver, but silver has an affinity for absorbing oxygen and this can make it unworkable.'
I suggest reading a 1929 edition of the book 'A MANUAL OF FIRE ASSAYING' Fulton, Charles Herman & William J. Sharwood.
N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Book Co. 1929. Cloth. Fair. 3rd Edition. 8vo - over 7¾' - 9¾' tall. xvi 268pp. I suspect you might be able to acquire a copy through an interlibrary loan. You might also research the cupelation of precious metal. Cupelation was a common practice with mining assayers.
Thank you so much---That gives me a good start and shows me at least the credibility of the "point of the story". It is so neat how God inspired His people to write in such illustrative ways that we are so many years later able to use our imagination to understand the passages. Thanks for your time and info.