Since Roman times, games of chance have used gambling chips to keep track of wagers. Originally crude metal or clay disks, they slowly evolved into todays casino chips.
The heyday of counters existed in the 1720 to 1840 era. Trade routes with China brought back exotic silks, spices, and handmade goods never seen in Europe. Anything Chinese was all the rage, and among the most popular items were the beautiful mother-of-pearl chips known as gaming counters.