At the same time ancient Egypt was going through its second dynastic upheaval, the last mammoth died. Maybe it was old age, maybe it was a dire wolf—it was probably a combination of human hunting and climate shifts. But however it met its end, it was soon returned to the earth it once compressed with its massive, woolly feet, where its bones fossilized—as did glorious tusks.
Then, ten millennia later, some nerd pulled out a box filled with what have to be some of the coolest twenty-sided dice in existence: those made with real mammoth ivory.
Now available fro pre-order from Artisan Dice (the first limited run sold out almost immediately), you can have a single mammoth ivory D20s for $248.
According to Artisan Dice, each die “comes in its very own Mk X box created from Eastern Aromatic Cedar and completed with a Black Walnut insert.” And though the dice do have cracks and look noticeably worn (they are from mammoths for science’s sake), that’s all part of the beauty.
“We have left [cracking and patina] intact on these dice while ensuring every age acquired crack has been carefully filled, preserved, and stabilized so these dice will last another 10,000 years while retaining their aged beauty.”
To get down to the ivory worthy of a spectacular D20, the flaky tusks must be cut into and extensively polished. The resulting dice are slightly cross-hatched, weighty, and make a crisp sound when rolled. You should be happy Artisan Dice took the initiative here too, because cutting into a 10,000-year-old hunk of once organic material can produce quite the smell. “It produces one hell of a stink when worked,” they write. “It’s by far one of the worst smells in the shop.”
The dice look unarguably amazing, and must feel like history incarnate when rolled. But can you even own this stuff? Our very own Sarah Keartes explained to me that “as long as it’s fossilized and you have your T’s crossed (I assume the company got paperwork showing it’s mammoth) it’s fine to sell/own/trade/make art from. I have a piece in my collection.”
IMAGES: Artisan Dice