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Enamel Jewelry Repair Tips

compiled from members of jewelry affiliations
Jewelcollect & The Jewelry Ring




How to repair enamel on metal jewelry? Or to whom can we entrust it for repair?


  • I usually use metal enamel from the craft stores. This is the paint that comes in little bottles and is used on car and airplane models.  You must use it in a very well ventilated area. Sometimes I mix a color and paint a safety pin to check the color match and dry it with a hair dryer before applying it because it is hard to remove after it is dry. Be very careful with paint thinner or you will remove everything. I usually try to just touch up areas of damage by matching the original enamel, rather than removing the old enamel, but on a old unsigned pot metal sometimes i just use my imagination and aim for a whimsical result in wearable colors to match my wardrobe.  I also use nail polish sometimes, which comes off more easily. I have tried acrylic paints, but I find they don't always stick well and are more likely to peel off. PS the easiest is black I have touched up dozens of penguins and black areas and if you apply a clear coat sealer it is very hard to see the old area/new area junction.

         Sharon (the baltimore bird collector)

  • Before repairing chipped enamel on the piece you wish to restore we suggest that you practice the application and blending of the enamel paint on a junk piece of jewelry.

          Jan Gaughan (Eclectic Vintage)




1.  I have a piece that needs to be enameled but with a dry brush method, and I want to protect the stones that are in it, would you cover them with plastic wrap? Trying to figure out how to keep them from getting ruined, since I can't get them out without ruining them. My other thought was putting some sort of rubber type coating on them that I could wipe off, not sure what, there aren't a lot of stones and most of them are large.  Any ideas?

2.  And would you use a sponge or small paint brush to do the dry brush?

This is Wikipedia's definition, but it is what you see on older pieces that have a rough painted look

Drybrush is a painting technique in which a paint brush that is relatively dry but still holds a paint load is applied to a dry support such as paper or primed canvas. The resulting brush strokes have a characteristic scratchy look that lacks the smooth appearance that washes or blended paint commonly has.

The drybrush technique can be achieved with water-based media and with oil-based media. With water-based media such as inks, acrylic paints, tempera paints or watercolor paints, the brush should be dry or squeezed dry of all water. The brush should then be loaded with paint that is high viscosity or thick. The loaded brush should then be applied to a dry support. With other water-based media, the brush should be loaded with paint then squeezed dry. The dry but sparsely loaded brush should then be applied to a dry support.

With oil-based media, such as oil paint, a similar technique may be used, although instead of water, the brush should be dry or squeezed dry of oil and solvent. Because oil paint has a longer drying time than water-based media, brushing over or blending drybrush strokes should be avoided to preserve the distinctive look of the drybrush technique. Sheri Weiss



You could always use Vaseline.  It wouldn't hurt anything and would keep the paint off! Kassi Mercy

It struck me that if the stones are in tightly you could cover them thickly with rubber cement.  Rubber cement will peel up fairly easy and that would protect them from the paint.   I would use a very small brush rather than a sponge. Cynthia Fore-Miller

I would store some Q-tips on my work bench. There are good Q-tips and cheaply made ones. Spring for a small box of good Q-tips, then with a small amount of paint thinner gently clean any stones with paint on them. Matthew Ribarich

What about that 'putty', that's a little sticky  where we can hold a ring in place while photographing it. I also bought a type of putty that museums use to keep statues on shelves in earthquake country - they sell it in hardware stores. Could this work..or fimo, sculply, or even play dough, or one of those eraser's that are grey- the type you can mold...would they all be too sticky? I just started reading the repair posts- how them. Shanti Forte



 Brooch with a chip (not painted enamel nor guilloche)  

Would the dry brush method work on the enameled pieces with the laminated coatings?  I realize that this method would leave a matte finish but could possibly be covered with clear acrylic???

Do you take off all the old painted enamel first or just patch it?  I'd think getting the right color match would be difficult! Karen K.


That looks like glass enamel.  i.e., glass that has been melted in a kiln. If it is "laminated" or glossy paint, you would then use an enamel paint to repair it.  The same type of paint that is used for model cars.  You can buy it in hobby shops in small bottles.  It has lacquer in it and dries to a hard, shiny finish. Linda Heberling

You can't put acrylic over enamel - it doesn't "stick" (well you can but it doesn't work well and will easily chip off - it will also pull together and not cover well). You can buy clear enamel at a hobby store - in the model section.  You can also score or rough up a surface lightly so that paint will stick better when the surface has a clear coating. Then you might be able to use acrylic over enamel. There is also some stuff called Envirotex Lite that is a clear impenetrable varnish. Or for a very small area you could use 3000 epoxy glue since it will dry with a varnish or laminate look finish although not as glossy. Ronda