I occasionally use Silvered Ceramic beads in my jewellery where I want the chunky silver look without the cost of silver. They also have the advantage that they are lightweight compared to metal beads and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These beads come from a collection of Greek ceramic beads that are produced with a metallic finish such as 24K gold, silver, copper or bronze.
The beads have a clay base which is fired in a kiln, then covered in copper, fired again, and then covered in the desired metal (24K gold, silver, copper or bronze) before being fired for a third time. The metal layer is considerably thicker than in electroplated beads, and therefore wears better. As an example, in September 2010 I gave my Mum a necklace made with some of these beads that she regularly uses, and so far, there is no evidence of any wear!
The sizes, shapes and smoothness of the metal layer can be variable. It is to be noted that this is part of the character of these beads.
The photos below are examples of jewellery I have for sale, made with Silvered Ceramic beads.