J.K. Rowling’s thoughts

I did not invent the concept of the Philosopher’s Stone, which is a legendary substance that was once believed to be real, and the true goal of alchemy.

The properties of ‘my’ Philosopher’s Stone conform to most of the attributes the ancients ascribed to it. The Stone was believed to turn base metals into gold, and also to produce the Elixir of Life, which could make you immortal. ‘Genuine’ alchemists – the forerunners of chemists and physicists – such as Sir Isaac Newton and (the real) Nicolas Flamel, sought, sometimes over lifetimes, to discover the secret of its creation.

The Stone is variously described as red and white in the many old texts in which it appears. These colours are important in most accounts of alchemy, and are often interpreted as having symbolic meaning.

Quirrell and Harry in front of the Mirror of Erised.
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