For the last 75 years, clay chips have not actually been constructed out of pure clay. Actual clay chips were used in the United States during the late 1800’s; however, these easily broken chips were quickly replaced by clay filled composites that provided much greater durability and security.
In the early part of the 1900s chips were commonly molded from Plaskon, an ureaformaldehyde molding compound. In the 1930s die cut metal foil was applied to the chips to give unique identity and added security. Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo Casino with these chips.
E-PokerChips.com tells us that the 1950s saw most casinos using the newest chips with house designs, logos or both molded into the rim and top of chip. Today the style and materials utilized in the manufacture of gaming chips are unique to the particular casino. Some have metal coin centers with structural plastic outer rims. Cloth fiber reinforced polymer molded chips and a just introduced all metal alloy poker chip that is anodized in different brilliant colors.
Clay composite chips can be quite expensive and difficult to find due to their popularity. These chips usually are in weight ranges between 8 grams and 11.5 grams and are casino standard 39 mm diameter.