Spacer beads of this type used to have a decorative and practical purpose. They were strung at intervals in necklaces and other complex jewellery to prevent the strings from sagging and tangling. This bead is modelled in faience, also known as glazed composition, the oldest glazed ceramic in existence. Faience was created over 6000 years ago and widely used by the Ancient Egyptians. It is mainly composed of silica and mineral based colourants, and is a precursor to glass, which was invented around 2500 years ago. The Ancient Egyptians used this man-made material as a substitute for other, more expensive gemstones and materials. As Egyptian faience could be brightly coloured, it easily replaced stones such as turquoise, jasper and lapis lazuli. Faience was used for many objects, however those that most commonly survive today are jewellery amulets, votive statues, shabtis and scarabs. It was a material that survived for four millennia and was placed in high esteem by the Ancient Egyptians.