The Original Chessex Borealis
Some of the most sought-after dice in the collecting world are the old Chessex Borealis lines like Aquerple, Clear and Confetti that are made out of a clear acrylic base with colour shifting glitter inside.
Sadly, these three particular lines are no longer made because the EU started using the iridescent glitter material in Euro banknotes and it became a controlled substance. Borealis Clear was discontinued in 2014, Aquerple in 2015 and Confetti likely around the same time, though these are even rarer as they didn’t sell well at the time and never went into full production after an initial limited release.
Many newer collectors and dice enthusiasts see photos of Aquerple, Clear or Confetti online and are eager to add them to their collection, only to find themselves disappointed when they realize that they are no longer readily available. Full polysets of them are not always easy to come across and expensive to acquire on the secondary market.
However, the good news is that companies are recognizing the demand for shimmery dice with iridescent glitter, and are acting upon it. With design ideas and production options continuously expanding, we’ve seen a number of companies and handmakers trying to emulate the ever-popular glitter effect in these old Borealis lines – some with pretty good results.
Interestingly, in 2021 some 20mm pips surfaced that use a Chessex mould and a clear die base with a glitter that has a shimmer that ranges from green to red, reminiscent of the Crystal Caste Moonstone Maple dice. This may have been a test run or a special limited edition for trade fairs and conventions.
Commercially Available Alternatives
Below I’d like to showcase a few lines that I believe come close to emulating the Borealis Clear, Aquerple or Confetti designs.
Metallic Dice Games – Unicorn Ice
Part of the first MDG Unicorn Dice Kickstarter from beginning of 2019, Unicorn Ice are clear dice with fine iridescent glitter inside. These are often quoted as being fairly close emulations of Borealis Confetti, though the colour spectrum of the glitter isn’t quite as wide as that of Confetti (lacking the green-yellow-orange-red tones), they are certainly a great set to own.
Unicorn Ice comes with black ink, and the d20 has a unicorn head logo instead of the 20. The die base is clear and the fine glitter inside has a spectrum that ranges from magenta to purple to blue. The glitter is a bit finer than in Confetti.
➡ Price point: $13.99 (MDG Store)
Metallic Dice Games – Flash Dice
Released in the last quarter of 2019, MDG came out with a new line they call Flash Dice. And while the iridescent flakes inside are a lot coarser than any of the Chessex Borealis dice, they still create a wonderful shimmery effect that is perhaps just as stunning as Borealis Confetti.
The Flash Dice are available in several colourways, but the ones most reminiscent of Chessex Borealis are the light blue with black ink set, or the clear with blue ink set. The iridescent glitter flakes in the blue set have a pink-purple-orange-green shimmer, the flakes in the clear with blue set more of a blue-green-orange-yellow shimmer.
The dice pictured here as the clear variety have been stripped of their original blue ink and reinked to dark grey.
(Personal note: These were a menace to unink. Not sure how they’ll fare in LA Awesome, but they were very resistant to potent nail polish remover, which works like a charm on other dice. I literally spent hours during a video chat, scraping the paint out of the grooves with a nail, and still didn’t manage to remove the ink a 100%.)
➡ Price point: $13.99 (MDG Store)
HD Dice – Luminous Ro Chrome
Not always associated with the clear Borealis dice because of their purple-pink swirl component, but if you can find an unsaturated set of these that has very little of the coloured pearl material inside, you have a pretty good contender for Chessex Borealis. These were released in May 2019.
Luminous Ro Chrome are clear dice with light grey and pink-purple pearly material swirls inside and a fine iridescent glitter scattered throughout the die. The spectrum of the glitter changes between purple, blue and green. They come inked in black.
➡ Price point: approx. $10 (available in many stores that carry HD dice)
Die Hard Dice – Divination
This line from Die Hard Dice has often been quoted as a good dupe for Crystal Caste Moonstone Maple rather than any of the Chessex Borealis. The base it quite cloudy, and the glitter is more in the green to red spectrum. Chessex never released dice with a glitter in this colour and a clear base.
➡ Price point: $9.95 (DHD Store)
Die Hard Dice – Avalore Moonstone Enceladus
Die Hard Dice released a new set of dice in their Avalore mould in 2021 called Moonstone Enceladus (named after one of Saturn’s moons). While not exactly the same effect as the Borealis Aquerple dice, these come pretty close. Perhaps the closest yet that I’ve seen.
Die Hard Dice offers these either uninked or with silver ink. You can get pretty cool effects if you use a two-layer ink with one colour at the bottom and a darker colour on the surface.
➡ Price point: $14.95 (DHD Store)
Bescon Shimmery Dice
Bescon released four new designs in 2020 they call Shimmery, and let me tell you, these are actually real stunners. It’s surprising that they haven’t caused more of a stir, but it may just be that the ink colours hamper their full potential. I reinked all of mine to black, and I’m very enamoured with them.
If you spend time to reink the Bronze-Golden set from its original gold-bronze ink to black and maybe also polish them a little, I daresay these are the closest emulation of clear Borealis dice to date, sitting somewhere in between Borealis Clear and Borealis Confetti. The glitter has the same coarseness as Confetti, with a glitter colour spectrum almost identical to Clear. The shimmer is crazy amazing at various angles, and changes between blue and green with a touch of orange.
Just as amazingly shimmery is the Silver-Purple set, which originally comes in silver ink. Reinked to black, these shine in colours not seen in the Borealis sets, with a strong focus on purple and magenta with a bit of light green mixed in.
It should be noted, however, that Bescon is now changing the mould/font for these lines. The Bronze-Golden set, if ordered directly from Bescon, is now being supplied in their signature serif font (the one used for their Mineral Rocks or Magical Stone lines) and is no longer available in the sans-serif font. It’s a fair assumption that they will remake the other three designs in their new mould as well, once their backstock runs out.
Interestingly, the newer version with the serif font also seems to have a different glitter mix. While the previous Bronze-Golden set mostly had a blue-green shift, the newer one has a wider colour spectrum that ranges from blue to yellow, green, orange and pink.
Udixi Transparent Glitter
In autum 2020, Udixi added a whole line of glitter dice in several colours to their lineup, including a clear set with fine glitter. The glitter in this set is mainly pink-purple but can go into blue and teal tones as well, depending on the viewing angle. It appears that they used differently coloured glitter for some dice, as my set has three dice with a more purple glitter, and four with a more blue-teal glitter.
As Borealis emulations go, these honestly aren’t very stunning, as the dice themselves are cloudy, tend to have visible bubbles. The die has to hit exactly the right angle in order to see the glitter at all, and in my humble opinion, the Harry Potter inspired wizard font and silver ink doesn’t help.
Eclipse Dice Aurora Lights Stardust
Eclipse Dice ran her second Kickstarter in 2020 for a line called Aurora Lights. The main focus of these were dice with a grey-brown base and two-tone fine glitter surface shimmer in different colours.
One of the stretch goals of this Kickstarter was a set called Stardust, which is likely the same dice as Udixi Transparent Glitter but in a different mould. (Eclipse Dice has mentioned that she was working with Udixi for this Kickstarter.)
Just like the Udixi Transparent Glitter, these are lovely, but don’t hold a candle to Borealis Aquerple. The dice are pretty cloudy, and the depth of the glitter is just not the same.
➡ Price point: €10
(currently not listed in the webstore)
Chessex Borealis Icicle
Chessex released their own clear Borealis contender in late November 2020, this one called Borealis Icicle. They’re similar to the Borealis Aquerple dice, in that they’re a clear die base with teal-blue-purple gitter and additional luminary particles. The luminary particles create subtle swirls in the glitter, and of course they also glow in the dark. The dice in the photo are reinked to black, but the original blue ink gives them the icy look that lent them their name.
➡ Price point: approx. $12
(available in most stores that carry Chessex)
URWizards Resin Aurora Glitter
URWizards added resin dice to their lineup fairly recently, and they offer a clear resin set with green glitter that has been reported to look very good. I have not seen them in person, so I can’t judge how close they are to the Chessex Borealis dice.
These are offered in different engraving styles, currently available in the Yeet/Fuck, Astrology and Meow style.
➡ Price point: $40.99 – $48.99 per polyset (URWizards Store)
For those who like handmade dice, there are several handmakers who have taken a stab at trying to copy the Borealis Confetti dice. Below are some examples that I’m aware of, but there are likely more stores and makers who have done or can do something similar that I have not listed.
Some of the first Borealis Confetti-like dice from a handmaker I became aware of were those by Casey Cookman, a.k.a. Electron Dice. He has mad dice making skills, and he’s now using a different mould than that in the picture on the left. The pictured set is one of his early versions of Confetti emulations.
This set was previously sold in the Electron Dice Etsy store under the name Clear DND polyhedral dice set with iridescent glitter and a similar looking set with the name Galactic fusion style. I have not seen these in person, so I can’t judge on how close they come to actual Chessex Confetti dice.
Electron Dice currently doesn’t have any dice for sale in his Etsy store, and last I knew, he had a long list of commissions to fill. I’m not certain if he currently has commissions open, you can contact him via Facebook or Etsy to ask.
If you’re interested in a commission from Electron Dice, I would recommend to ask for pricing early on, as some of his more popular sets have been auctioned for several hundred dollars and he may have adjusted his commission prices accordingly.
➡ Price point and availability unknown
Prisma Dice – Clear Confetti
Prisma Dice started offering handmade dice sets in 2020, among them a Clear Confetti set that was available for $40 pre-order in their webstore.
As I do not own this set, the only way to guess how close they are to Borealis Confetti is by looking at online photos, and judging from those, the glitter seems to be more in a green-yellow range and not quite the full rainbow spectrum that Chessex Borealis Confetti offers.
➡ Price point: $40 (pre-order)
(currently not available for purchase)
Lucky Hand Dice – Sparkle Sparkle Dream Sand
There’s not many sets of these out in the wild, since they were part of the now closed LHD crowdfunding campaign from early 2019, and only a handful of them were sold as preview versions before then.
LHD is currently significantly behind schedule on delivering their crowdfunding dice, and SSDS was one of the last lines they would be delivering. If they cannot pick up speed for their dice production, it will likely be several years before backers get their SSDS sets delivered, and it’s questionable if they will ever become available for regular purchase afterwards. In their most recent crowdfunding update, they have stated they are looking for a factory that can help with production, as they are unable to meet the demand and timelines.
Getting the Sparkle Sparkle Dream Sand dice second hand seems to be the only option to buy them right now, if you can find someone who is willing to part with their set.
➡ Price point: approx. $100
(currently not available for purchase)
In a Nutshell
The bad news is, there aren’t currently any affordable dice sets out there that are exactly like the old Borealis glitter dice. The good news is, however, that there’s a number of them that come pretty close.
If you’re looking for something that is very similar to Aquerple, the closest is probably Chessex’s own recent Borealis Icicle design. If you’re not a fan of the luminary particles, your best bet is probably a specifically commissioned and unique handmade set.
If you’re looking for something like Borealis Clear, the Bescon Shimmery Bronze-Golden are very, very close if you reink them to black, though the glitter is coarser.
If you’re looking for something like Borealis Confetti, then MDG Unicorn Ice is a contender, though the MDG Flash Dice with larger shimmery flakes are also great.
Die Hard Dice Divination is very close to Crystal Caste’s Moonstone Maple, which is generally a bit cloudier than the clear Borealis dice and has a glitter shift more on the green to red spectrum.
Of course handmade dice are always an option, and makers like Electron Dice, Lucky Hand Dice or Prisma Dice have put out sets that are similar to Borealis Confetti. Keep an eye on Etsy or the Facebook groups that sell or showcase handmade dice, there may be more in the pipeline, and you can always commission a specific design from someone that might get you close to your dream set.