Opal Nails: Because I Love My Birthstone But I Don't Wear Jewelry

Here's a 7-step, 10-polish, super-decadent nail art tutorial because October babes are totally worth it.
Publish date:
October 10, 2013
nail art, tutorials, How-To, birthdays, birthstones, opals

Don't hate, but October really does have the best birthstone.

I got sucked into an Etsy opal binge the other day because my mom asked for a birthday list and I thought maybe an opal ring would be nice. But I never really wear jewelry, so I don't want her to invest in the sick antique opal ring with yellow gold edging that I bookmarked. It's insane to look at, but I'm afraid it would just sit in a drawer.

Really, I could stare at images of opals all day...

Instead I was inspired to create some nail art, as the oval-cut stones mirror the natural shape of my nails. So here we go...

Ovals have so much depth, which is why this look involves layer upon layer of polish. HANG IN THERE, OKAY?

You'll Need

  • white nail polish
  • a light blue polish
  • a salmony pink polish
  • a turquoise polish
  • a sheer iridescent polish
  • a polish with iridescent flecks
  • an iridescent glitter polish
  • a metallic gold polish
  • a striper brush
  • a sponge
  • acetone polish remover
  • a thick top coat


After a base coat (you'll want this to last), apply 1-2 coats of white polish. Try to pick one that's a little frosty rather than a flat white, which won't paint on as smooth and will take longer to dry.


Take a makeup sponge and dip it into your colored shades, and sponge randomly onto the white. I learned that tearing the sponge apart and using the more jagged edge gives a more natural look. Dab the excess color off on your work surface rather than applying straight on the nail--the colored areas should be sheer and you can always build more color.


Add a coat of iridescent polish to add a more blended appearance to the sponge layer.


Add the flecked glitter polish. Concentrate the flecks at the middle of the nails, not too close to the edges. You don't want any bumps making your gold outline look wonky and uneven.


Add a coat of the small, iridescent glitter polish.


Take a striper brush and carefully paint around the edges with the gold polish, letting it rest in a cup of acetone remover to clean between fingers so it doesn't become too coated with polish as you work. Also, the acetone leftover on the brush will help thin the polish you load your brush with, making for smoother brushstrokes.


Add a thick, heavy-duty topcoat. Not only will this help keep this crazy-involved nail art look on your fingers for longer, but it adds that extra depth we talked about earlier.

Annnnd you're done!

Definitely experiment with different shades, I think a lilac polish and sherbet orange would be really beautiful, too.

Happy birthday October baby babes!