Zirconium dioxide: the magic material behind ceramic cufflinks

July 29, 2015

Since 1950 and the first World Championship of Drivers, Formula One has gripped viewers all over the world because of its thrilling races, displays of world class driving talent, and its constant innovations of technology. To keep up with the growing speed and expectations of the cars, the engineers employ only the best materials. Among these materials is the engineered ceramics, zicornia, which is used in high friction components, and now forms our ceramic cufflink collection.

Ceramic cufflinks | Alice Made This

The fundamental properties of zirconia that make it so useful are:

    • high strength and hardness
    • high fracture toughness
    • wear resistance and good frictional behaviour
    • non-magnetic
    • electrical insulation
    • low thermal conductivity

Zirconia is just one specific type of engineered ceramic, and ceramic is a versatile material, used for a variety of purposes in a number of different fields:


There are ceramic tiles on NASA space shuttles, which protect the aircraft from the exceedingly high temperatures when re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Ceramic is also used within aircraft engines, and as part of space debris ballistic shields.


Ceramic is used for the production of artificial bone and teeth, as well as biodegradable bone splints, which aid those with osteoporosis. Zirconia itself forms the femoral heads for hip replacements, and ceramics company Dynacer suggest that zirconia could also be used for knee joints, shoulders, phalangeal joints and spinal implants.

Ceramic cufflinks | Alice Made This


Ceramic is used in capacitors, which are passive two terminal electrical components used to store energy electrostatically in an electric field. It is also used in integrated circuit packages, insulators, and transducers, which are devices that convert energy, and can be found in objects such as microphones and fluorescent lights.


Zicornia itself is used to connect fibre optic cables together, and other ceramics are used as optically transparent materials for switches, laser amplifiers, lenses, and infrared heat seeking devices.

Other uses

Zicornia is also used to make ceramic knives and cutters, which can be used for medical and automotive purposes, as well as in food and beverage production. Engineered ceramics form trauma plates in bulletproof vests, and are found in the cockpits of some military aircraft. The use of ceramic in men’s accessories is not limited to Alice Made This – one of IWC’s Pilot’s Watches has a case of titanium and ceramic, modelled on a cockpit.

Engineered ceramic | Alice Made This