The transmutation of material is the first step along the path that ends with the transformation of the spirit.
Transmutation leads to transformation leads to transcendence.

Description

The Mask of Gold and Lead empowers a ritualist with the ability to transmute raw materials. The mask itself is almost always metallic in nature, often set with jewels. All the materials used to make it are repeatedly purified in baths of beggar's lye, and some of the finest masks are said to be constructed with substances that have been themselves subjected to alchemical transformations. It is rare to find a Mask of Gold and Lead that does not incorporate Xun, the Rune of Transformation, often on the forehead of the mask. The rune is often concealed, however - worked into a decorative design, or inscribed on the inside of the mask. While the mask usually covers the entire face, another common design is that of a lower face mask (covering the mouth, nose and chin), often with simple filters incorporated to protect the wearer when they interact with dangerous substances.

In Wintermark, the Kallavesi favour masks in the form of ravens or magpies (for their connection to the Imperial virtues of Wisdom and Prosperity), while Varushkan mystics prefer masks in the shape of squirrels or bees - both Silver Squirrel or Golden Bee are names associated with this magical item. In both the Brass Coast and Highguard, specially prepared veils weighted with dragonbone and coloured with iridescent gloaming are employed, wrapped around the face and head either as a shroud or a tagelmust.

These talismans are sometimes referred to as an Alchemist's Refrain. While they usually take the form of masks, a few of these foci are crafted in the form of a jewelled brooch depicting a pestle and mortar, cauldron or alembic (or a squirrel or bee, for Varushkan ritualists). A few very rare examples of actual tools exist - an inscribed metal flask or set of scales intended for ritual use in measuring or alchemically treating the target materials.

As with all the magical masks, these foci are used to grant additional power to perform ritual magic. In this case, the Mask of Gold and Lead empowers the Eight-spoked Wheel and the Retrograde Wheel rituals - both rituals that deal with the magical transmutation of one material into another. They also provide an additional level of power to the alchemical transmutation worked by the powerful Distill the Serpent's Stone ritual, potentially bringing that powerful magical effect within reach of a smaller coven.

Rules

We are not the alchemists of old, those that would use herbs and ale to form 'a great hardening of steel'! They would have you take dragon wort with ale and much vervain and sow that into lukewarm water, boil it all up and then place your hot billet therein 'that hardening is good for all hand-weapons'. We do not mix lead with marrowort and straw, heat it upon a rock under the moon and expect it to form into gold. No. That is not alchemy, mere buffoonery!