Over the past several decades, historians of chemistry have refurbished the reputation of alchemists. Long seen as con artists who claimed they could produce life-extending elixirs and convert base metals into gold and silver, alchemists pursued a lot of serious chemistry too. They produced pigments, developed metallurgy, and made colored glasses—which, well, they did occasionally sell as fake gems. The point is, like most history, alchemy ain’t all pretty, but it is still important to chemistry’s past. This brings us to Berlin and an extensive new exhibit on alchemy at the city’s Kulturforum museum that runs through July 23, 2017. The exhibit’s curator Jörg Völlnagel focused on presenting the intersection between art and alchemy in Europe, India, and China. Among the 230 objects in the exhibit are fascinating surprises about alchemical and, by extension, chemical history. Here’s a sample of our favorite pieces.