Introduction to Mr. Phillips' Thesis

by Marcia Quinn Noren.


In February of 2002, Russell Leslie Phillips, a diamond grader and jeweler in Israel was moved to contact Virginia Frohlick, of The Saint Joan of Arc Center in the USA, seeking historic evidence about the life of La Pucelle. Joan's own testimonies describing both her ring and the crown she had seen in a vision, spoke to Mr. Phillips as evidence that her highly informed answers could only come from beyond Joan's experience, from a source outside of herself. His thesis offers a witness for the defense of La Pucelle. Mr. Phillips' knowledge of the history and practice of metallurgy led him to develop and write a formal thesis that confirms her celestial guides were authentic.


A Thesis Regarding Specific Testimony in

Jeanne d'Arc's Trial of Condemnation


Russell Leslie Phillips

(Diamond Grader/Jeweler Safed, Upper Galilee, Israel)



On Tuesday March 13th, 1431, Jeanne d'Arc was cross-examined in her prison cell at Rouen castle. She was asked several questions regarding the composition of the crown she had described to the court as the "sign" given by God to Charles the dauphin that it was his destiny to ascend the throne of France.


Jeanne was asked, "Of what material was this said crown?"


Jeanne replied, "It is well to know it was of fine gold; it was so rich that I do not know how to count its riches or to appreciate its beauty. The crown signified that my king should possess the kingdom of France."


Jeanne was further asked, "Were there stones in it?"


Jeanne replied, "I have told you what I know of it."


On Saturday March 17th, 1431, Jeanne d'Arc was further interrogated regarding the composition of a ring that had been given to her by her family.


"Of what material was one of your rings, on which was written, "Jhesus Maria?"


Jeanne answered, "I do not exactly know; if it were of gold it was not fine gold. I do not know if it were of gold or of brass."


Jeanne's answers, in describing both the crown and the ring, use terminology specific to the goldsmith trade that would not have been a part of the common vocabulary of her peasant class, during the Middle Ages.


Craftsmen, who practiced various trades during this time, were required to join guilds, the forerunners of our contemporary trade unions. When the Catholic Church first organized the goldsmith trade, a cloak of exclusivity and mystery was intentionally cast over jewelry making, in order to protect trade secrets as well as to corner the market on this highly lucrative field. Even today, nearly six hundred years later, secrets are still kept around the procedure of "investment casting," the technique of manufacturing gold settings for jewelry.


The Church's goldsmiths manufactured jewelry in the Middle Ages to a fine gold standard, that is the 24 karat gold standard followed by the 18 karat gold standard, 14 karat gold standard, and the nine karat gold standard. Fine gold is pure, 24 karat gold that has no other alloy or foreign material added to it. Thus, it is very soft. It is so soft in fact, that if one attempts to set diamonds, precious stones or semi-precious stones in it, the stones will in very short time, fall out. To prevent this from happening, the gold had to be literally, toughened up, or made harder. This was done by adding an alloy of metal such as copper, to fine gold.


For example, 18 karat gold is a mixture of 75% fine or pure gold with 25% copper, which adds strength to the composition, ensuring that in any particular design, set stones will remain firm, and not loosen. 14 karat gold is a mixture of 55% fine or pure gold, with 45% copper. This creates an even stronger medium for securing set stones permanently. 9 karat gold is 37% fine gold and 63% copper, creating an even harder mixture for certain jewelry designs.


When Bishop Cauchon and other church officials interrogated Jeanne d'Arc regarding whether or not there were stones set in the fine gold crown sent as a sign to Charles the dauphin, they expected to hear an affirmative answer. Instead, this evidence indicates that she was acting under the influence of divine guidance when she replied, "I have told you what I know of it."


In her answers to the court regarding the ring that her family had given her, she answered as an ordinary person who could not easily make the distinction between brass and the lowest standard of gold. It would in fact, be particularly difficult for the average person to tell the difference between brass and nine karat gold. Jeanne d'Arc's certainty that the crown shown to Charles had been of fine gold, that her ring had not been cast of fine gold, plus her use of these terms, indicate that the source of her knowledge came from outside her own experience, from the source she indicated was always available to her, the celestial counsel of her voices.


In conclusion, if Bishop Cauchon in fact determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that Jeanne was acting under divine guidance, as evidenced by her answers to these questions and others, he and his court should have, at the very least, not sentenced her to death. Under the highest ecclesiastical standards, it would have been most appropriate to further determine the nature and quality of her spiritual state.



Note: References to gold standard information are from the "Santa Fe Symposium."