Recent examinations of more than 13,000 disk beads from mortuary contexts determined that macroscopic examination was not always enough to distinguish shell, stone, and fired-clay beads. Using replication experiments and scanning electron microscopy energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS), we update the 80-year-old conclusions of Emil Haury, who defined features distinctive to bead manufacture. With this renewed confidence in materials identification, we analyzed the distributions of disk beads made from shell, stone, and fired clay among Hohokam inhumations and cremations at the Yuma Wash, Honey Bee Village, and Wetlands sites in the Tucson Basin. Not everyone was buried with disk beads, but all age groups were represented among those who were buried with beads. Some people were buried with only stone, or only shell, or only fired-clay beads, although more were buried with beads of some combination of these three materials. In this article, we consider why fired-clay beads were added to the mix and conclude that they were made as acceptable substitutes for stone beads, not for deceptive reasons concerning wealth or status, but rather in imitation of stone to honor a tradition that could not otherwise be efficiently met.