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Old 08-11-2018, 09:34 PM   #1881
sjard
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...and weirdly, they're probably metabolizing the iron (garnet is deep red due to iron content) in some kind of chemosynthetic process.
Which always made me wonder what causes the more valuable ones to be mistaken for emeralds due to the green color? My family has several very pretty green garnet broaches that have been handed down for some time. As a side note, Garnets apparently come in every color except blue.
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:59 PM   #1882
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Which always made me wonder what causes the more valuable ones to be mistaken for emeralds due to the green color? My family has several very pretty green garnet broaches that have been handed down for some time. As a side note, Garnets apparently come in every color except blue.
Beryl (which Emeralds are) isn't always green - but many think any clear green gem is Emerald. Ignoring that green corundum is also a thing - technically green corundum is called sapphire, but most people think of Sapphire as blue. Rubies are also corundum. Anyway, not a few people, in ignorance, think green sapphire/corundum is emerald.

And high-quality green quartz can also be mistaken for emerald.

Some interesting tidbits, including common false ID's and misleading names for fakes...

https://www.minerals.net/gemstone/emerald_gemstone.aspx
https://www.minerals.net/gemstone/ruby_gemstone.aspx
https://www.minerals.net/gemstone/sa..._gemstone.aspx
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:41 AM   #1883
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Historically, people identified gems basically by the color, opacity, and loosely by the hardness, because they didn't understand the chemistry or optics. Which is why all the corundum species have their own names.
If it was a nice red, clear, and pretty hard, it was ruby.
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Old 08-13-2018, 07:01 AM   #1884
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Intricately carved and detailed bronze dodecahedrons have been found across a swath of the old Roman Empire -- though not all of it. The polyhedra have differing sized holes in each face, along with circles inscribed around the holes, and knurls at each corner. Explanations offered by archaeologists for the purpose of the objects include rangefinders for military artillery, mace heads, gambling devices (though the differing size holes make them poor randomizers), sling bullets, astronomical observation tools to aid in planting, showpieces for master bronze workers to display their skill or perhaps qualify for rank, and ceremonial staff heads or mystical objects -- all of which tells you that nobody really has any idea of what they were for. There's apparently a complete absence of any written reference to these objects by the Romans, whether that's because they were too obvious and commonplace to bother, or too secret to commit to writing.

Which mystery of course leaves a nice opportunity for GMs to insert an explanation appropriate to their game as their pulp heroes race the Ahnenerbe to collect them all, or their delvers uncover them in the depths of ancient tombs, obviously valuable since they were stored even more carefully than the coins in the hoard.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:53 PM   #1885
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Intricately carved and detailed bronze dodecahedrons have been found across a swath of the old Roman Empire -- though not all of it.
The idea that they were used for knitting fingers for woollen gloves seems the most plausible to me. It fits with the areas in which they're found, and the lack of documentation.
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Old 08-13-2018, 06:48 PM   #1886
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The idea that they were used for knitting fingers for woollen gloves seems the most plausible to me. It fits with the areas in which they're found, and the lack of documentation.
Exacting construction, expensive materials, ornamented in most cases and showing little or no signs of wear. Doubtful, IMO.

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Old 08-13-2018, 07:47 PM   #1887
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The idea that they were used for knitting fingers for woollen gloves seems the most plausible to me.
I asked my sister, who knits. She thought it might be possible to use one of these objects for making gloves, using the corner knobs in a manner similar to "finger knitting" (which is a technique that uses no tools, just fingers). But if the size of the faces were used to set the size of the item -- which wouldn't vary with a single dodecaderon), then she had no idea why you'd want holes of different sizes, other than making pom-poms. And a flat face would do just as well for the actual knitting. Why not just a wooden board with pegs?

The only evident reason for having a dodecahedron if it those graduated hole sizes were actually the main feature, not the knobs around the pentagons, and it was at least cute or amusing to collect a set of twelve in that fashion.

Also, she mentioned that she'd seen Viking knitting needles essentially identical to the modern ones she uses. So, it's still not obvious why you'd want an expensive thing for a knitting job.

I didn't see any remotely similar knitting tools in a web search, so if they had a purpose for knitting, it was abandoned in favor of some other method. Maybe some low-tech dead end?
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:38 PM   #1888
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The only evident reason for having a dodecahedron if it those graduated hole sizes were actually the main feature, not the knobs around the pentagons, and it was at least cute or amusing to collect a set of twelve in that fashion.
A single dodecahedron has 12 holes, no two the same size, and they don't seem to be of any particular standard size (of holes or of dodecahedron) other than "light enough to hold in one hand comfortably for a while" and "of comfortable length/width/height to manipulate".
There's no "set of 12", and don't actually appear to have been found in sets at all.

I do call shenanigans on the people who say "RITUAL!", because "It's for ritual purposes" is Archaeology-speak for "I don't know what it's for, but I don't want to admit that". Even admitting to yourself that you don't know is uncomfortable sometimes, but that's no excuse for giving up thinking about it.

I also think assuming it can't be a technical tool because it doesn't have numbers or letters written on it is a false assumption; I have a large collection of screwdriver bits for my electric screwdriver, and they're completely unlabeled. In the case of things that come in a bunch of sizes, you often [1] don't actually need to know the exact size, you just need to know you have the size that fits whatever you're doing.

[1] "Often" is not "always", before someone starts nagging me about measuring spoons and keeping your nuts and bolts organized in labeled bins.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:30 PM   #1889
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A single dodecahedron has 12 holes, no two the same size... There's no "set of 12"
Every dodecadedron is its own set of 12 holes. I wasn't talking about sets of dodecahedrons. Much the way we collect those sizes of screwdriver bits or sockets into sets, perhaps it's a way of collecting a set of different-sized holes, all in one physical object so you can't lose one.

Not apparently a particularly convenient collection -- a flat board with 12 graduated holes would be a lot more straightforward if it's just a gauge, not to mention cheaper and easier to make. You'd think the opposition of two holes would have to be important to call for a polyhedron. But then, we don't know what it's for, so it's hard to say. And of course people aren't always logical, even with tools -- if that's what it is. Form follows function, but function doesn't always follow form.

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Old 08-15-2018, 08:13 PM   #1890
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xkcd once ventured a guess that the Voynich Manuscript was an ancient RPG. Maybe we've found the dice for it?
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