SYSTEM REFERENCE DOCUMENT 3.5
While not truly an artifact, the epic magic item is a creation of such power that it surpasses other magic items. Epic magic items are objects of great power and value. The following are typical characteristics of an epic magic item. In general, an item with even one of these characteristics is an epic magic item.
An epic magic item that grants a bonus beyond those allowed for normal magic items has a higher market price than indicated by the formulas for non-epic items.
Epic magic items are not artifacts. They are not unique, though they are certainly very rare, and anyone with the proper item creation feats can build them. Even an epic magic item can never grant a dodge bonus, and the maximum inherent bonus that can be applied to an ability score is +5. An epic magic item cannot be created that uses or mimics an epic spell. A major artifact might be able to mimic such a spell, however.