Does Clear Nail Polish keep Jewelry from Tarnishing? Know The Truth

Does Clear Nail Polish keep Jewelry from Tarnishing? Know The Truth

Tarnish- the worst nightmare of affordable jewelry lovers in one word. You must have stumbled across the nail polish hack if you also love buying budget-friendly and trendy jewelry pieces but worry about them getting tarnished.  

Tarnishing is a natural phenomenon that happens when metals react with different elements like oxygen, water, sulfates, etc. The chemical reaction produces discoloration, making your shiny jewelry green, brown, or black. 

But can clear nail polish stop it from happening, or is it just a myth? 

Today I will break it all down for you. 

Why does Jewelry get Tarnished?

The simplest explanation for why fashion jewelry gets tarnished is that the metals they are made of react with the surroundings very easily. By surroundings, I mean things like body oil, sweat, lotions, water, perfume, and other substances. 

All these substances are a type of chemical compound, which then reacts with the surface of the jewelry and leads to tarnishing. Tarnishing has a broad spectrum. Depending on the metal, it can be just losing the luster to getting discolored or even turning blackish and greenish.  

Which Metals get Tarnished? 

Most affordable jewelry pieces are made of brass, copper, nickel, stainless steel, tungsten, etc. Eventually, all get tarnished, but some are more prone to it. Here are some of the most vulnerable ones:

  1. Copper:

This is one of the most used metals for jewelry-making after gold and silver. But the metal is infamous for changing its color over time. It first loses its shiny luster and turns dark brown and then slowly becomes green. 

It is because copper oxidates very easily, even with the humidity and oxygen of the atmosphere. And if you live in a humid place or sweat a lot, be prepared for green marks on your skin! 

  1. Sterling silver

Many believe sterling silver is tarnish-proof, but they are completely wrong. Unless and until it's Rhodium plated (which is costly), it is bound to get tarnished and turn greyish-black. 

The tarnish happens if silver gets exposed to different sulfur oxides

  1. Brass

Brass is an alloy primarily made of copper and zinc. The alloy is rust-proof but is definitely prone to tarnishing. While exposed to oxygen and humidity, the yellow tone of brass will turn salmon pink, then red, and ultimately dark brown. 

  1. Bronze 

Bronze is a choice of metal for many jewelry makers due to its rich luster, but being a copper-tin alloy, it gets tarnished easily. A layer of natural patina gets created on the top layer. 

Can Clear Nail Polish save Jewelry from Getting Tarnished?

Yes, clear nail polish can save your jewelry from getting tarnished. 

Applying clear nail polish on the surface of your jewelry creates a protective barrier between the metal and the atmosphere. And this way, you can protect the jewelry from different corrosive compounds. 

The best part is that it is clear, so it won't be that evident that you've applied something to your jewelry. 

On that note, some people actually love the tarnished look, so they only put nail polish on the jewelry's surface that'll come in contact with their skin. This way, they can have beautifully tarnished jewelry without worrying about green marks and skin irritations. 

Having said that, here are the things you should remember while applying clear nail polish to your jewelry. 

  • Put on a thin coat. The thicker the coating, the easier it will chip off.
  • Use only high-quality, long-wearing nail polish to make the hack actually work.
  • Clear any oil and dirt from the jewelry before applying the clear nail polish. 
  • Cure the nail polish with a UV lamp so that it dries down completely. 

Can I use this technique on all types of Jewelry?

No. Even though it is a great hack to temporarily save your jewelry from getting tarnished, it does not apply to every piece of jewelry. It works best on simple jewelry that more or less has a smooth surface. Or something that is entirely made up of metal. 

But if you have stone or bead-studded jewelry, using this hack won't be good. In fact, it has a high chance of ruining jewelry pieces. 

Jewels like opal, amber, pearls, or mother of pearl have a porous surface. That means if you coat them with clear nail polish, it will seep inside the pores and entirely ruin them forever. 

So if you have a ring or necklace, cover the jewels first and carefully paint only the metal portions. You can use petroleum jelly, water-soluble glue, or melted beeswax to cover the stones. 

What's another way of keeping Jewelry from Tarnishing?

Here are the other ways in which you can protect your jewelry from tarnishing. 

  1. Use Jewelry Protecting Spray

Jewelry-protecting sprays are specially made to keep your jewelry safe, so they are safe to use on any stone-studded metal jewelry. 

  1. Store your Jewelry properly 

In the case of imitation jewelry, longevity majorly depends on how well you take care of it. Store different metals in different air-tight containers. To eliminate humidity, throw in some silica gel packs along with them. 

Final Thoughts 

Clear nail polish can temporarily save your jewelry from tarnishing, but it is not a full-proof option. Jewelry made of copper, silver, brass, and bronze are bound to get tarnished over time. So the best option is to clean them periodically. 

If that's too much for you, you can invest a little more and buy anti-tarnish jewelry instead. Check out Bijou Limon for an amazing range of anti-tarnish jewelry, and forget the hassles of applying clear nail polish.


Written By:
Christiane Bilodeau

Traveling and exploring fashion for the last couple of decades. A passionate curator for your stylings, providing access to hundreds of the most fashionable jewelry. Rosé, parties, and bikinis are her favorites. And jewelry. FIERCE METAL GRACES HER NECK! When she`s not designing jewelry, you can find her mixing cocktails.


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