I’m wanting to color zirconium dioxide into beads after it is fired but I would like to get more colors than just white and the high temperature black oxide. Can I mix other metal oxides to zirconium powder to change its color once fired?


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Setting aside commercial sources whose manufacturers are unlikely to reveal their secrets, Chen et al.[1] describe the coloration of zirconia with oxides of cerium(IV), iron(III), and bismuth(III):

The coloration of zirconia by the three kinds of metal oxide was determined. With the addition of $\ce{CeO2}$, the lightness of the zirconia was about 84–87, a* decreased slightly, and the colour shifted to a more yellow-green hue. With an increasing content of $\ce{Fe2O3}$, the chroma of the ceramic became more intense, the lightness decreased, and the colour changed to a red-yellow hue. With an increasing concentration of $\ce{Bi2O3}$, the colour of the materials shifted to a light saffron yellow. X-ray diffraction spectra revealed only tetragonal phase. Results show that zirconia ceramic can be colourised using $\ce{Fe2O3}$, $\ce{CeO2}$, and $\ce{Bi2O3}$.


  1. Chen, J., Zhang, Y., Dong, S., Zhao, L., Gu, B., Liao, N. and Wen, N. (2015), "Effect of coloration with various metal oxides on zirconia". Coloration Technol, 131: 27-31. https://doi.org/10.1111/cote.12118

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