Nail art is one of the biggest beauty trends among the world’s mega-rich celebrities, and it’s set to stay the center of attention in 2014 and beyond. Every celebrity event, luxury hotel or exclusive club is filled with rich women who wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without an exquisite and expensive manicure.
The art of manicures dates back approximately 5,000 years, as far as 3000 years BC. Back in those days and in the centuries that followed, women around the world started the trends that have been built on over the years. Chinese women wore simple nail enamel with a pink tinge, Indian women began the trend of using dye from the Henna plant to decorate their nails, and Egyptian women used nail color to indicate what societal class they belonged to.
Fast forward a few thousand years and nail art began to sweep across the globe and become an insanely big money maker. In the early 1930s the famous French company, Revlon, started selling its first nail polish in a big variety of colors. They were definitely on to something, because the industry expanded rapidly in the following decades and these days, it’s thought to be worth over $750 million per year. That’s perhaps unsurprising considering at least one nail polish on the market these days costs a whopping $1,000,000.
Some of the most expensive manicures on the market in 2014 feature diamonds, rubies, platinum, gold, pearls, velvet and more. You name it – it’s been done. Some of the most popular luxury manicures include just one bold and brilliant nail color with tiny crushed diamonds in the liquid. Other lavish manicures are topped off with large cut diamonds or other jewels worth thousands of dollars. Either way, expensive nail art is the ultimate way for the world’s richest to indulge and show off their style.
10 “An Evening to Remember” by Red Carpet Manicure - $1,000 per manicure
A bottle of this dark, sparkling gel lacquer by Red Carpet Manicure costs $1,000 and creates a night-sky effect on the nails. Primarily black in color, it is infused with four carats worth of genuine diamonds and multi-toned holographic sparkles that add to its colorful shimmer. On top of that, it's packed with unique gel properties to help it last longer and not chip or peel away from the nail. Its extravagance has made it very popular with celebrities hitting the red carpet. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera, were treated to a manicure with this polish at the 40th American Music Awards. The creators, New York based Red Carpet Manicure, were spotted backstage at the awards ready to dish out manicures to all nail-art-loving celebrities.
9 “Amor 24” by Red Carpet Manicure - $5000 per manicure
Another popular polish by Red Carpet Manicure, this deluxe, metallic polish named Amor 24 caught our eye in 2012. Rihanna wore it to the 2012 Grammys thanks to her manicurist, the LA-based Kimmie Kyees. The limited edition gel-based lacquer includes an ounce of 24 carat gold in every bottle and costs $5,000. Red Carpet Manicure is the first company to produce at-home gel manicure products and Amor 24 is one of its most famous creations. The company says it launched the lacquer specifically for the Grammys in 2012 and that it took more than three months to prepare it to perfection. They were seen hanging out in the gifting lounge at the Grammys, giving away bottles of this golden lacquer.
8 "Nail Rings" by Bijules - $30,000 per set
If you're looking for a glitter-filled, statement manicure that can’t possibly chip off or grow out, then diamond nail rings may be the option for you. Bijules nail rings, designed by Jules Kim, are generally serpent shaped and diamond-encrusted. Jules Kim is the owner and creator of Bijules Jewellery, and she says all her creations will "last forever" because they are made with the most luxurious products. Her edgy statement rings can cost over $30,000 for a set and have been made famous thanks to superstars like Beyonce, Nicole Richie, Fergie and Mariah Carey. Beyonce’s Sweet Dreams music video featured her wearing a set of four custom-made nail rings worth $36,000. The rings, made by Bijules especially for Beyonce, were made of gold, rubies and diamonds.
7 "Encapsulation" by Leighton Denny - $30,000 per manicure
Coating manicures with diamonds, sapphires or rubies is considered to be the ultimate nail luxury in the industry. For about $30,000 you can have your nails lined with jewels by the famous nail manicurist and award-winning beauty expert, Leighton Denny. The method is called “encapsulation” which is best defined as condensing a lot of something into a small space - in this case jewels on a fingernail. There’s just one catch: you may need to get prepared to join a pretty long waiting list. The waiting list for Leighton Denny’s services has been as long as 175 and has included Saudi Arabian princesses. He’s based in England and has been known to treat the nails of Kate Moss and Joan Collins.
6 “I Do” by Ellie Cosmetics - $55,000 per bottle
This nail polish costs $55,000 per bottle but the world’s top manicurists say it’s worth every single dollar if you have deep pockets and are in search for the perfect nail color for your wedding day.
Made out of platinum powder, it was created by four groups who teamed up: Platinum Gold International, Allure (the magazine), Johnson Matthew and Ellie Cosmetics. The original polish was launched in 2005 in Las Vegas, complete with limited edition bottles made of – you guessed right – pure platinum. Platinum is a highly precious, silvery-white metal and is one of the world's rarest elements - hence the high price tag. There's a cheaper version of "I Do" for $250, but you won't get the platinum bottle at that price.
5 “The Iced Manicure” by Cherish Angula- $50,000 per manicure
Costing roughly $50,000 per manicure, this luxurious manicure offered by Cherish Angula is widely considered to be the most expensive diamond manicure in the world. Cherish Angula is a world-renowned diamond manicurist, who owns and runs her own company called Cherish...Me. The $50,000 fee for this luxury manicure also includes the maintenance of your manicure and, later, the removal of the diamonds from your nails. The technique is similar to what you would expect from a French-style manicure, but there’s a big twist. Instead of painting the tips of the nails white, they are instead covered in 10 carats of white, cut and polished diamonds. Although the Cherish...Me team is based in Dorchester, London, rumor has it that the team will travel just about anywhere in the world to treat someone with this manicure.
4 "Made-to-Order Nails" by Bohem- Designed specifically for Rihanna
The designers in these UK-based studios create highly expensive, made-to-order nails for the richest manicure-obsessed celebrities. Bohem began as a luxury jewellery designer and has since expanded into creating jewellery for nails. Last year, they launched a campaign called "Nails for the Stars" in which they designed a pair of “bespoke accent nails” specifically for Rihanna’s world tour, which was aptly named Diamonds. The nails were designed specifically with Rihanna in mind and included precious diamonds and metals that would speak to her personality and style. The nails were multi-layered, almond-shaped, 3D and included a huge cut diamond. In the future, Bohem says it plans to launch more designer nails inspired by superstars like Beyonce, Lady Gaga and possibly even X Factor judges. The cost of Bohem celebrity manicures is a closely-guarded secret, but it’s likely they are among the most expensive ever seen.
3 “Gold Rush Couture” by Models Own - $130,000 per bottle
This gorgeous golden polish costs $130,000 per bottle and is applauded for its golden, glittery effect and smooth finish. However, it's not what's inside that actually accounts for the high price. The reason that it's so expensive is that the lid on the bottle is handmade from gold and then encrusted with more than 1,100 individual, genuine diamonds. Until Azature nail lacquers hit the market, this nail polish by British cosmetics and make up company, Models Own, was actually the world’s most expensive, but these days it’ll have to settle for being number three on the list.
2 “Black Diamond” by Azature - $250,000 per manicure
With one of the highest price tags in the industry – $250,000 – it goes without saying that this nail polish is reserved only for the richest manicure enthusiasts in the world including the likes of Jennifer Lopez. Said to contain about 267 black diamonds, it offers the ultimate sparkly black look and it will perfectly match any little black dress (as long as it has a similar, quarter-million-dollar price tag of course). LA-based company, Azature, is best known as a celebrity jewellery designer for the likes of Madonna, and is sometimes referred to in the luxury industry as the Black Diamond King. Kelly Osbourne was the center of attention when she arrived at the 2012 Emmy Awards with a Black Diamond manicure. She even told her fans “please forgive me for not regretting it,” stating that she had no regrets about the price of the manicure.
1 “White Diamond” by Azature - $1 million per manicure
Undoubtedly the most expensive – and sparkly – nail polish the world’s ever seen, this white lacquer by Azature is luxurious in every sense of the word. After first releasing a $250,000 polish (which made number two on our list), Azature went ahead and launched this polish in 2013. It contains 98 carats of white diamonds and the cap of the bottle is lined with 1,400 hand-picked diamonds. R&B singer Toni Braxton was spotted wearing White Diamond on stage and it was actually created with her in mind. Toni Braxton suffers from Lupus, and Azature agreed to donate proceeds of the million-dollar lacquer to Lupus LA. Kelly Osbourne has also been spotted with this wildly expensive polish on her nails. She referred to as a "magnificent little bottle" but mentioned she couldn't get her head around the price tag.