Can You Put Clear Nail Polish on Fake Jewelry?

Using clear nail polish on jewelry is a hack that a lot of people learn once they discover that they have sensitivity to nickel. For many folks, it’s a bad experience when they buy a lovely piece of jewelry that they can’t wait to wear, only to have it turn their ear, wrist, finger, or whatever green after a day or two.

Nickel sensitivity can turn your skin green, yes, but it can also cause redness and irritate your skin. Not exactly the look you were going for, right?

When you put clear nail polish on your jewelry, it prevents direct contact between your skin and the metal. Once dry, the polish acts as a protective coating for your skin. There is no part of your skin that touches the metal, so you avoid green skin or any sort of rash. Wonderful!

A lot of people wonder, though, whether they can use clear nail polish on any type of jewelry. Will it damage, say, fake jewelry, or will it have the same effect?

Let’s take a look at what nail polish does to fake jewelry and if it’s a good idea to put a coating on those pieces.

Uses for Clear Nail Polish

We’ve already mentioned a bit about nickel sensitivity and how clear nail polish helps, but nail polish also serves another purpose.

When done correctly, clear nail polish acts as a protective layer for your jewelry.

It can go a long way to prevent scratches and dings if you knock a hand with a ring into a door or accidentally drop an earring.

This is especially true for some of those precious metal pieces that are more sensitive to damage. A thin layer of clear nail polish doesn’t change the way it looks and will give you a bit of peace of mind knowing it’s got some protection on top of it.

How to Add Clear Nail Polish to Your Jewelry

It doesn’t really matter whether your jewelry is real or fake when we’re talking about clear nail polish.

If you’ve got a fake piece, it may not have the polish that your real precious metals or stones have. Keep that in mind. You may want to use a light coat or a thinner nail polish to help their shine come through a bit more.

Hopefully, you won’t be as upset if you drop or ding your fake jewelry, so you can get away with not putting as much on.

Additionally, it’s a great idea to practice this on your fake jewelry first before moving on to more expensive pieces. Getting a thin, clear coat on is important so you don’t change the way your jewelry looks. Take some hours and spend it practicing on items that aren’t sentimental or as important to you.

One thing you may also want to consider is only painting the insides of the jewelry or the parts that touch your skin. This, of course, only applies to people with nickel sensitivities or allergies to a specific type of metal.

By only coating the inside of a ring, for example, you protect your finger from turning green, but you don’t affect the exterior look or shine of the jewelry.

Close up of old golden wedding bands on wooden table

Clear Nail Polish May Help With Tarnishing

Anyone who owns jewelry knows that some pieces will inevitably tarnish. Silver, for example, tarnishes faster than gold, typically, and it can darken and affect how it looks.

While it’s impossible to prevent tarnish for most pieces completely, applying a protective coat of clear nail polish can slow the process. This is particularly true for fake jewelry that is often a mix of lower-quality metals and stones.

Tarnish usually happens due to exposure to air, moisture, and other factors. The clear coat stops any water and the amount of air that directly contacts your jewelry. It can keep your items shinier for longer.

clear Nail polish on gray background

How Long Does the Polish Last?

The effectiveness of clear nail polish depends on several factors.

The quality of the nail polish influences how strong the coat will be and how quickly it will fade. If you buy higher-quality nail polish, then you can expect it to stay on longer and give better protection while it’s on. Lower-quality polish will fade faster and you may have to reapply more than you’d like to.

A good idea here is to buy more affordable bottles for practice, and then use the better stuff for the pieces you want to protect most.

The amount you use and wear your jewelry will also affect how long it stays on. If you’re wearing something every day, for instance, or you’re taking something off and on frequently, it’s going to rub the polish off faster.

Oil-based polishes also tend to last on jewelry longer.

The only thing to keep in mind here is that many oil-based polishes have a matte finish, which can have a dulling effect on jewelry. It’s no big deal if it’s, say, on the inside of a ring, but you may not want it on your fake diamond earrings if it dulls their shine.

Acrylic polishes will shine brighter, but they may not last as long.

jewelry set in a Velvet black jewelry storage box


In the end, coating your jewelry with clear nail polish, whether it’s real or fake, is a great hack for keeping things in good condition.

You can also limit the nickel sensitivity on your skin by putting what is essentially a clear primer coat on your earrings, rings, watches, or whatever else you want to try.

Just make sure you practice first. And go slowly so you don’t end up with uneven coats and globs of clear nail polish in the nooks and crannies of your earrings and other fine jewelry. Hopefully, these tips will help you be able to wear more jewelry and enjoy the things you wear longer.

Buy good-quality polish for the best possible results. Give it a try and see how it affects your skin and whether it’s something you can do long-term.


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