Build Your Own Red Emerald!
I once read, "the Red Emerald is so rare, most people will live their entire lives and never see one." These words struck me more like a curse upon humanity than a statement of fact, and I resolved myself to breaking the spell.
Unraveling a hex may seem like an imposing task, but in the age of the internet, I knew digital photos and information about this gemstone could be shared like never before! Fans from 65 countries around the globe have been following our weekly updates so far -- I realize many want to do more than merely dream about the Red Emerald. Whether they choose to become buyers or not, this week I wanted to give everyone something they could hold in their hand to help them conceptualize this wonderful treasure.
A Polyhedron is an enclosed three-dimensional geometry whose faces are comprised of symmetrical polygons. As touched upon last week, the full set of Uniform Polyhedra in which a mineral habit may appear was not completely described until 1954.
In 1971, Magnus Wenninger finished his book Polyhedron Models, which illustrated how the uniform polyhedra can be recreated in paper. This work was only published after Magnus was able to replicate all 75 polyhedra in existence…HOWEVER, two infinite sets of additional polyhedra also exist: The Prisms and the Anti-Prisms.
These two opposite sets are infinite, because another side can always be added to any equilateral shape. A three-sided triangle can become a four-sided square, then a five-sided pentagon, a six-sided hexagon and on and on infinitely. Due to the unending sequence, a complete set of foldout paper models for prisms can never be made!
The Red Emerald synthesizes under the Hexagonal Crystal System, and minerals crystallize with the geometric shape of a Hexagonal Prism. Continued hexagonal stacking over a prolonged period results in the formation of larger specimens. A Wafer is tabular, meaning the length of a mineral's sides is shorter than the length of its width. A habit becomes a Square Prism (equant) when the length of sides equals the width. When length becomes longer than width in a crystal structure, the habit is a Rectangular Prism (elongated).
Click the picture above to download a pdf for FREE which has all the information you will need to make a Red Emerald paper model for yourself! This four-page booklet contains all three Prismatic Habits described above!
Step 2) Print.
Thicker-than-normal paper stock is advised to construct more durable specimens, but I used regular printer paper to demonstrate even common materials can be used.
Step 3) Cut out the Red Emerald figures.
With your parents’ permission, carefully use a pair of scissors to cut around the outlines of Red Emerald figures, INCLUDING the dashed areas.
Step 4) Fold and Glue.
Fold the paper cut-outs along all solid lines. The dashed "paste" areas will be bent over, allowing adhesive to be applied and tabs to be glued along interior walls.
Step 5) Enjoy!
Display your new Red Emerald paper specimen collection on a shelf, dresser or anywhere their beautiful geometric forms might best be admired!
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