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These dice are made from tusks of the ancient woolly mammoth

Who knew dice made from the tusks of a giant extinct beast could be so popular? Artisan Dice, that's who. And you can reserve yours now.

Getting these made is a mammoth proposition. Artisan Dice

Artisan Dice in Texas has made some extraordinary dice, as our below gallery shows. But perhaps none stand out more than the 20-sided rollers they made from the tusks of ancient woolly mammoths.

"Mammoth ivory has some very unique characteristics hiding within its aged and flaky bark," the company says on its website. "The inner layers polish to a brilliant luster that showcases a wonderful grain in the form of a subtle crosshatch pattern, and [they have a] distinctively heavy weight along with a crisp sound when rolled as a die."

In their first production run of the dice, the company made two dozen that sold out in 24 hours. Now, company founder Charlie Brumfield tells CNET's Crave blog, Artisan Dice has just gotten its hands on more mammoth ivory -- a completely legal, if hard-to-find substance -- and will soon be making more tusk dice. Preorders are now being accepted on the company website.

So where exactly do you get your hands on woolly mammoth ivory anyway?

"Our suppliers get them from the people who dig them up in the frozen wastelands of Canada and Russia," Brumfield told Crave. "They are discovered as they thaw out during summer or while people are exploring for new oilfields and such. What we get is cracked, broken, and in no way fit for a museum, so we have to stabilize it with cyanoacrylic glue to make it workable. Despite the condition it is still some of the most expensive and difficult material we work with."

There's another difficulty to working with the substance. "It gives off a horrendous stench," Brumfield said, and that makes the workshop a less-than-pleasant place to be.

Aware of the irresponsible trade in elephant ivory, Brumfield says there's an easy to way to distinguish between mammoth ivory and the tusks of the beasts' modern-day cousins. It has to do with the Schrager lines -- distinguishing marks -- found in the material, and for those interested in the process he points to this site.

The mammoth dice sell for $248 (about £159, AU$336) and come in a custom-made box made from eastern aromatic cedar with a black walnut insert -- so they're really more of a collector's item than something you'll want to roll around on your table at your next D&D gathering. For dice you might want to use for that, check out the gallery above and, may all your rolls be fortuitous.