09-09. Sapphirine #7.

Sapphirine may be a tiny mineral but it taught me a tall and humbling lesson.

First – the P1 symmetry that many mathematicians find boring. From Nature perspective, it creates tremendously intricate structures in three dimensions. I’ll put a screenshot of the original resource for future reference.


Second, the more information on the screen, the more I have an urge to discard most of the peripheral objects to focus and capture the essence of the message.

I’m not sure I did it successfully, but it led me to quite a week of practice of minimalism style. Still surprised after 35 weeks in this Geometry of Nature projects! Thanks for the journey little crystal.




09-08. Sapphirine #6.

There is something very totemic in the polyhedral arrangement of the sapphirine crystal. Quite impressive for such a small mineral

From a resource by P. B. Moore



09-07. Sapphirine #5.

Another beautiful sculpture could have been coming from a Brancusi or Noguchi sketchbook.

All I had to do was to reduce the number of atoms from 202 to 53 and polyhedra down to 13

It only took me a few hours to get there, but a privilege of the arts – nature is an inspiration to us and needs not to be tied to the exact descriptive we would expect from our scientists.



09-06. Sapphirine #4.

Nothing more I wanted to do here!

The sapphirine crystal structure is so odd – it makes for a unique and remarkable design. This is the polyhedra P1 symmetry view from the c axis I extracted from the Vesta software. Abstract, modern and so timeless at the same time. 

Nature never ceases to surprise the designer in me!

From a resource by Higgins & Ribbe – a sapphirine from Madagascar



09-05. Sapphirine #3.

Sapphirine on a cube.

From a close-up of a sapphirine cell structure to a reconstructed sapphirine cube – it all looks very busy – yet playful, somewhere.

From a resource by S. Merlino



September. Week #36, Sapphirine

09-03. Sapphirine #1.

I’ve always found Cubism a little unsettling, maybe because of its lack of any apparent symmetry. A little like sapphirine it seems (the double p came at the end of the 1800’s), the mineral of week 36.

All this mineral has in common with Sapphire (a variety of corundum) is its dark blue color. Where the Sapphire is trigonal, the sapphirine is triclinic – meaning three unequal axes all intersecting at oblique angles while crystals in the trigonal system are symmetrically triangular.

The sapphirine P1 symmetry is called periodic by mathematicians. It is far from obvious and hard to find at a glance. It will be interesting to explore for a week these tightly packed, busy little atoms and find beauty in their apparent chaos.