Periodically, the question has come up, as to why we call them "Alchemy Stones," as opposed to something else... like "Beach Art" or "Painted Pebbles."
In a more loosely defined sense, Alchemy was a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination of different things that would take something of lesser meaning/value and turn it into something with greater meaning/value.
In a very real sense, that's what the process of finding, cleaning, painting on and finishing stones feels like.
I start with a beach, filled with an utterly random assemblage of stones, deposited there by tide, surf and time. Out of these millions of stones, just a few of the most appealing ones are selected. They have to look right, they have to feel right in the hand, they have to have the "right" type of smooth surface, they have to have pleasant shapes... already, there is a sort of "quality added" process at work.
The actual painting of the stones is both somewhat "magical" and involves a process of "creation." In some strange sense, I literally "interact" with a stone to come up with the design. I get some stones home only to discover-- for a variety of reasons-- that they are not "good" for decorating. I can't get a design to "come together" well, or the surface of the stone has a texture that causes the paint to "feather" so the end result is useless.
There's also something "magical" about how the designs just seem to "appear" inside my head. I don't have a "plan" for colors or shapes. The designs just sort of... happen.
"Metaphysical properties" are very difficult to describe... and the process by which they come into being is even harder to describe. What does it mean that a stone has "power?" How do we experience that? As humans, we have kept talismans for millennia because we assign values and properties to them. They become symbols of meaning. Can a priest practice without a crucifix, or a habit, or other "tools of the trade?" Absolutely! But somehow the tools-- the "symbols"-- add more weight to the words; to the lessons. They make us feel like we are "doing it properly."
Thus, Alchemy Stones are not only a process of transformation from "something" to "something greater" in their own right, they are created to help others as symbols or talismans for transformation.
But then again, you may just like a pretty painted object!
And that's really OK...