How To Rock The Cardi B-Approved Nail Jewelry Trend

You don’t *have* to go to the salon.

How to wear nail jewelry for a chic, bedazzled 3D manicure.
Getty Images/ Dia Dipasupil / Staff

I am as dedicated as they come to fabulous, over-the-top nail art. Three hours in the salon chair doesn’t bother me when the result is fingertips that make me feel like Elizabeth Taylor. During the pandemic, of course, things changed. I had to find new, non-technique savvy ways to get my manicure fix. Enter: nail jewelry.

There are two types of nail jewelry you can pick from. The first is rings — but, rather than sitting on top of your hand like traditional jewelry, these adorn the area high on your fingers between your knuckle and the bottom of your nail bed. Then there’s the type of hardware and bling that sits on top of your actual nail. These are, in essence, a bedazzled take on the 3D nail art trend.

If you’ve noticed more metallics, gems, and hardware in the nail world, it’s because the adornments are an easy but chic way to add pizzazz to your manicures. “I think nail jewelry is trending because of artists like Cardi B who often wear eye-catching and over-the-top nail styles,” says New York City-based nail artist Fleury Rose. “It’s another way to express your personal style and accessorize your look.”

For tips on how to use both in your next mani along with super-cute jewels to shop, keep scrolling.

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Nail Rings

Jewelry for the tips of your fingertips is ideal for those who can’t commit to a look for too long or who have no time to spend on their nail art. And, since this is jewelry, it’s perfect for repeated wear. They’re versatile, too — these rings play as well with bare, buffed fingertips as they do eclectic accents to a full hand of nail art. Think of it as an extension of the jewelry adorning the rest of your body.

The spine ring from Vera Meat is adjustable to accommodate all shapes and sizes of nail beds and fingers. One is enough to create a vibe, but a rock a few of them across your hands for a more out-there statement mani.

For a very high fashion take on the nail jewelry look, you can combine both kinds of adornments at once. Fangophilia makes custom jewelry by fitting molding to different body parts. These nail rings are paired with matching manicure hardware but would work just as glamorously with bare fingertips.

Nail Art Jewelry

The jewels you incorporate onto your nails function as an easy way to add more oomph to your tips. “[These can be] large statement arrangements of gems and metal pieces on the nail,” says Rose. If you go to a professional nail artist skilled in these 3D manicures, you can try all different forms of jeweled looks. “You can go as big or small of a statement as you like,” she says.

This set from celebrity nail artist Nails By Mei falls somewhere in between — the hardware is simple silver and gold over clear polish but the ultimate look is opulent and surprising.

If you’re DIYing your nail jewelry at home, Rose has some pointers: First, if you want to incorporate large pieces, get those done in a salon where gel will be used to adhere them. Stick with smaller, more dainty pieces instead. “Smaller studs and stones can be pressed into a wet top-coat or glue, and then sealed with a layer of top coat,” Rose says. Just note that at-home jeweled manicures won’t last as long as those done in a salon.

For more opulent inspo, Sarah Nguyen’s nail art practice and brand are named CHRMD after the bling, gems, and hardware that adorn her miniature pieces of art. This manicure is a lesson in maximalism — even when your stones are two inches high, you can still pair the jewelry with a bold and bright color.

When you want to take off your DIY jewels, Rose says to simply soak with nail polish remover. But if you have a professional-grade gel manicure, she advises leaving the removal process to a professional.