‘Glass Crystallography Models’, 1880s, Rago

Four of this fragile, rare models have damage to glass. In one, a blue string is detached.

The first models of naturally forming crystal shapes aiding the study of crystallography, were produced in the late 18th century. A complete set comprising 448 models in terracotta was bought in Paris in 1785 by the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, The Netherlands, where it can still be seen today in perfect condition. Wooden models were introduced in 1800 by the French mineralogist Rene Hauy to illustrate his two- dimensional drawings on the subject. He pioneered the use of pear wood in the models, allowing for precision in exceptionally smooth surfaces and sharp and accurate edges, all critical elements in the study and concept of symmetry and refraction as it relates to crystallography. --Courtesy of Rago Auctions

Aliprandi Antichita, Milan, Italy