Happy Holidays folks! Every year we make something a little special for Old St. Nick to drop in your favorite gamer’s stocking. This year our Candy Cane Elemental Twenty Sided Dice are back for a limited time. These Candy Cane Elemental Dice look good enough to eat, though we don’t recommend you try it as these incredibly beautiful dice are individually crafted from layered Malachite, Red Jasper, and Howlite, then inlaid with Brass, making them rather tough on the teeth. What makes our Elemental Dice so special? Well it’s a project that has been around for quite some time as we have been looking for a way to offer semi precious stone dice that could stand up to the rigors of play. We don’t make shelf queens. Our dice are made to game and we back that up with a lifetime warranty. Most semi precious stone dice proved to chip easily and wouldn’t hold up to regular use. That’s no bueno.
So how did we get around stones natural propensity to chip? Simple – we cheated. This new line of dice have been crafted from semi precious stone set in a resin matrix. The end result is flawless in execution, beauty, and gameability (if that’s not a word, it is now). By binding the ground semi precious stone in a resin matrix, it adds a toughness to the resulting die that unaltered stone just doesn’t have while retaining all the visual properties and heft of the original stone.
Malachite has been mined since the 3rd millennium B.C. and smelted for its copper content. That copper is what gives Malachite its noted green coloration. Ancient Egyptians associated its green color, known to them as wadj, with rebirth and fertility. They believed that the afterlife contained an eternal paradise know as the “Field of Malachite”. Malachite, like Azurite and Lapis Lazuli, has been used as a pigment since antiquity, though it has more recently been replaced by its synthetic counterpart. Malachite is the second of the two copper carbonate minerals and results from the weathering of Azurite, which is why they are often found in deposits intermixed with one another. Both of which were melted down for the copper ore in antiquity. So it is fitting that we inlay these dice with Copper numbers.
Howlite was discovered in Nova Scotia by Henry How in 1868. It is most often found in irregular deposits resembling a dirty cauliflower. Once worked and polished, the dirty cauliflower appearance gives way to a lustrous white with black veining. Originally Howlite was tossed aside as nuisance mineral in gypsum mines until How’s discovery. These days you can find this mineral sold as “white” or “buffalo turquoise”. It is quite often dyed to resemble genuine turquoise as the porous nature of Howlite allows it to take dyes readily. And like turquoise it is easily worked and used to make many decorative objects.
Jasper was first worked somewhere between 4000 – 5000 B.C. these early examples of Jasper seem to be primarily used as tips for ancient bow drills. Jasper was one of the favorite gemstones of antiquity. It was used to make signet rings for producing seals as early as 1800 BC in Crete and Figurines such as the hippo you see photographed here during Egypt’s Middle Kingdom around 2000 B.C. Jasper has been found on archaeological digs from Knossos, to Egypt, all across Europe and even the Far East.
Today Jasper is found all around the world. Specific colors in various forms of Jasper are developed due to contaminates in the opaque quartz that makes up the Jasper family of stones. The red coloration you see in these dice as well as the this Brecciated Red Jasper stone on the left, occur due to iron contamination. Jasper comes in an entire rainbow of colors with fanciful names such as forest fire or porcelain jasper and each coloration or variation in pattern is a result of volcanic recirculation that brought these stones to the surface. Jasper will also develop a highly colorized crust or rind due to weathering of those contaminates once on the surface.