The great icosahedron can be constructed analogously to the pentagram, its two-dimensional analogue, via the extension of the (n-1)-D simplex faces of the core nD polytope (equilateral triangles for the great icosahedron, and line segments for the pentagram) until the figure regains regular faces. The grand 600-cell can be seen as its four-dimensional analogue using the same process.
The great icosahedron can be constructed a uniform snub, with different colored faces and only tetrahedral symmetry: . This construction can be called a retrosnub tetrahedron or retrosnub tetratetrahedron, similar to the snub tetrahedron symmetry of the icosahedron, as a partial faceting of the truncated octahedron (or omnitruncated tetrahedron): . It can also be constructed with 2 colors of triangles and pyritohedral symmetry as, or , and is called a retrosnub octahedron.
A truncation operation, repeatedly applied to the great icosahedron, produces a sequence of uniform polyhedra. Truncating edges down to points produces the great icosidodecahedron as a rectified great icosahedron. The process completes as a birectification, reducing the original faces down to points, and producing the great stellated dodecahedron.