I recently wrote a post on why the Ancient vs. Gold Mist names that collectors differentiate are actually a myth, but nonetheless is it useful to have this distinction in the dice collecting community. In a nutshell, collectors now differentiate between the somewhat darker and swirlier Ancient variant and the lighter and more misty Gold Mist variant of these dice.
The actual differentiation stems from Crystal Caste selling the dice under the name Ancient (both the Gold Mist and the Ancient variant) and Dice & Games (or D&G) sold both variants under the name Gold Mist. There was never any official distinction between the different colour hue and gold material mix variants.
In or around 2018, collectors started calling the daker and swirlier dice Ancient and the mistier and lighter dice Gold Mist. For some of the colours, the distinction is relatively easy to tell, for others the lines are blurrier and it’s hard to even say if both variants exist.
It is thought that the different variants were made at different times, so earlier batches of the dice are what collectors now call Gold Mist and later batches are what’s called Ancient. Here are some visual examples how to tell them apart, most strikingly this is visible for the red and the purple colour.
The Ancient variants are darker overall in the dice material and have distinctive gold swirls closer to the surface. The Gold Mist variants are lighter in colour and have the gold material more dispersed throughout the dice, which gives them a more misty quality and less distinctive swirls.
For the other colours in the line, the distinction is much harder to tell, respectively questionable whether it exists at all. The sets depicted below may very well be a mix of both variants since the sets were pieced together (except Orange). However, for some dice it’s almost impossible to classify them one way or the other since they have both the misty golden quality and distinct swirls, which indicates these may just be production variations and may not be all the indicative of whether these were truly made at different times.
It is said that the Orange colour was discontinued before the transition was made to the Ancient variant, so most likely this colour only exists in one variant.
Personally, I don’t care enough to try and differentiate between Ancient and Gold Mist look for the green, blue and black colours, but there may be collectors out there who would like their sets to look homogenous and might try to separate out the swirlier variants and the mistier ones.
Intersting to mention is also that the Ancient/Gold Mist Black line has curious differences in colour of the dice material, which becomes apparent when you place these on an LED light. Some appear to be a clear material with black and gold swirls, some a reddish-purple material and some a blue-ish dark purple. All of these look very dark in normal light and were sold as the Black colour. There is no documentation I’m aware of that speaks to whether these were different production runs or whether that’s just random choice of material by the factory.
Some of the Ancient dice were also sold in certain countries as rebranded and repackaged dice. The Ancient Red colorway, for instance, was sold by German gaming brand Pegasus in a metal tin under the name Heldenwürfel (hero dice).