Dice ID Guide: Swirly Orange Dice

In this blog entry, I’d like to point the spotlight at orange dice with swirls, particularly the Chessex Vortex Orange and Vortex Magma lines, as well as Crystal Case Silk Orange, which all look very similar.

Vortex Magma vs. Vortex Orange

Particularly the Chessex Vortex Orange and Vortex Magma dice are easily confused, so let’s take a closer look at how they are different.

For starters, Vortex Orange (CHX 27433) is still in print and can be readily purchased. Vortex Magma was a limited release from 2003 (CHX LE673) and not seen that often.

What they have in common is that they both are a very similar shade of orange with ligther coloured swirls and black ink. They also both use the modern Chessex mould. However, this is where they differ:

Vortex MagmaVortex Orange
Die base colourTranslucent clearTranslucent orange
Swirl colourOrange and yellowWhite
Swirl qualitySubtle/finePronounced
WindowsNot very commonCommonly seen
UV reactiveNoWhite swirls faintly
Overall colour/hueMore yellowish-orangeMore reddish-orange
Ink colourBlackBlack

Vortex Magma

If you look very closely, you can see that the base for the Vortex Magma dice is actually clear translucent, and the orange colour comes from the dense and often subtle and fine orange and yellow swirls.

Vortex Magma dice never have any white swirls or any other colour than orange or yellow. Those dice that collectors call ‘muddy’ (where the swirls are mixed together and not that well defined) might remind you visually of sweets or hard candy.

Vortex Orange

The die base for Vortex Orange is translucent orange, which gives the dice their orange colour. The swirls are opaque white, and often very distincly seen. The closer the swirls are to the surface, the more white they look, the more they are inside the die, the more light orange they appear.

Vortex Orange never has yellow swirls, and often has what collectors call ‘windows’, meaning larger translucent areas that let you see inside the die. The white material of the swirls faintly reacts to UV light, but this is not very pronounced and only visible upon closer inspection with a more potent UV light source, like a UV flashlight.

Comparison Shots

Vortex Orange vs. Silk Orange

Chessex Vortex Orange and Crystal Caste Silk Orange are extremely similar in colour and general visual quality, but they can be easily told apart by the mould characteristics.

Vortex OrangeSilk Orange
Mould usedModern Chessex
(closed 4)
Older Crystal Caste
(open 4)
d4 layoutTop-readBottom-read
d6 size15mm16mm
Percentile dieMatching d%Jade d10 (pale green)
d20 mould8 below 2012 above 20
UV reactiveWhite swirls faintlyWhole die
Ink colourBlackBlack or gold

The Vortex mould is the same as that used for all the modern Chessex dice, while the Crystal Caste Silk mould is one of their older ones that was also used for lines such as Ice Cream, Satin or Porcelain.

Silk Orange

The old Crystal Caste mould has bottom-read d4, a larger d6 than Chessex with no upstroke on the 1, a d8 which sometimes has a mirror-inverted 3, a very round shaped d10, a d12 with rather small numbers, and a larger d20 whose face has the triangle tip below the 20 and the face of the 12 above it (while for most other d20s, the triangle tip is above the 20 with the 8 or the 14 face below).

Perhaps the most noticeable difference, is that the Silk mould has an ‘open 4’, meaning the top of the 4 doesn’t have a closed triangle tip, like most other dice moulds.

Silk Orange sets come with a mismatching percentile die, since Silk Orange percentiles were never made. Instead, an extra pale green coloured d10 was included.

Silk Orange dice are more starkly UV reactive than Vortex Orange, they almost glow under UV light, which the Vortex Orange do not.

Comparison Shots

Other Swirly Orange Dice

Of course these three lines are not the only swirly orange dice that are out there. Chessex has a few more orange dice with swirls, among them Vortex Solar, Festive Sunburst, Festive Flare, and the old Rainbow Amber. However, these can be told apart more easily as they have other features that are distincly different from Vortex Orange and Magma, such as differently coloured ink, strongly UV reactive swirls, or luminary particles that glow in the dark.

If you’re looking outside of Chessex, then there’s a few other orange dice with either white or yellow swirls.

Crystal Caste has an orange Ice Cream line, which is using opaque white as the base colour and almost neon orange swirls. The Bescon Aura Stone set is very similar to Chessex Vortex Magma, if you’re looking for that particular aesthetic, but these have a serif font and aren’t quite as swirly. Ice Cream Dice had two orange swirly designs in their first Kickstarter — Orange Dream and Butterscotch. And last but not least, there are more generic sets from Chinese factories (T&G among them) that glow in the dark that have yellow and orange material swirled together.

Comparison Shots

More orange dice, please!

I’ve focused on a few orange swirly dice above, but here’s a few more suggestions for dice that are (more or less) orange coloured, including a number of out-of-print sets (list not exhaustive):