In this study, production of brown pigment for the ceramic insulator applications by using inexpensive natural raw materials or waste materials was undertaken. Different pigment compositions were designed, synthesised and examined. As a source of chromium, chromite, Cr2O3 and ferrochrome were used. Limonite, grinding waste, flotation waste and iron oxide scale were used as an iron source whereas manganese oxide and ferromanganese were used as a manganese source. The colour of glazed insulator bodies change from dark brown to light brown depending on the pigment composition. The pigments prepared with ferrochrome, manganese oxide, flotation waste (C6) or iron oxide scale (D4) and calcined at 1300 degrees C have a darker brown colour and possess suitable L*a*b* values as 30.1, 2.7, 1.6 for C6 and 30.9, 2.1, 0.3 for D4, which are closer to the L*a*b* values (30.1, 2.9, 0.1) of commercial Mn-Fe-Cr pigments. The results indicate that waste materials containing iron can be used to produce brown pigments to be used in the insulator application in ceramic industry and as a result of this waste material can be converted into a value-added product. Also, ferrochrome can be used successfully as chromium source and help to reduce the cost of the pigment. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.