The Story Behind 14-Karat Nails

Nothing says opulence like gold – even on your nails.
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For centuries, the one true sign of opulence, expense and good taste has been gold. King Midas had the touch that turned anything to gold -- not silver or even platinum. The legendary lost city, El Dorado, is named for gold, not some lesser metal. Gold jewelry has been a fashion essential for thousands of years – and now you can add some sparkle to your actual fingernails! Gilded nails are once again appearing on fashion runways. Here's how you can join the show.

Almost every nail polish brand out there has a gold color in its collection, but what if you want something a little different, more dramatic, perhaps with the mystery and elegance of James Bond? To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise and the release of the latest installment, "Skyfall," OPI will release a color called "The Man with the Golden Gun" in October 2012. The topcoat has real 18-karat gold flakes, giving you a gilded shimmer at only $38 a bottle.


If your nails wear 24 karats or nothing at all, take a look at Red Carpet Manicure's Armor 24 gold nail polish. Each bottle contains an ounce of 24-karat gold dust blended with matching pigment into its gel base formula]. The polish debuted on Rihanna's nails at the 2012 Grammy Awards. You can take the look home yourself for just $5,000.

An inexpensive option (less than $1 per manicure) for getting that gorgeous look is gold leaf. Pick up sheets of gold leaf at your local craft store and go for the gold! The only other supplies you'll need are nail polish and topcoat. These instructionswill show you just how easy it is.

If these choices don't satisfy the princess in you, the ultimate in 14-karat gold nails can be custom crafted by a jeweler to fit your fingers alone. But as with most things, if you have to ask the price, you probably can't afford it.

Explore the links on the next page to learn more about nails and nail art.


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  • Danley, Brent. "14-karat gold fingernails!" Science, Technology, Humor and Wisdom. June 15, 2009. (Sept. 13, 2012)
  • Keogh, Nicolle. "New OPI polish celebrates 50 years of James Bond." August 15, 2012. (Sept. 12, 2012)
  • "Rihanna wears 24-karat gold nail polish worth $5000." February 16, 2012. (Sept. 13, 2012)
  • Oliver, Dana. "Red Carpet Manicure Creates 24K Gold Nail Polish for the Grammys." February 9, 2012. (Sept. 13, 2012)
  • Stripes & Sequins. "DIY gold leaf manicure." November 14, 2011. (Sept. 13, 2012)