In 2017 I decided that instead of doing all serious, life-altering resolutions (like losing the weight or publishing the book) I would instead pick some goals, with a couple being more just for fun than anything else. One of these was to do birthstone manicures each month, meaning that for all twelve months of the year I would paint my nails in a colour based on that month’s birthstone.
While it was a fun way to give myself a goal that wasn’t to be taken too seriously, it always turned out to be a way to use some nail polish colours I wouldn’t necessarily reach for otherwise!
As a side note, there are a couple months where there are multiple different birthstone options but I went with the ones from this birthday picture book I had when I was little. Because picture books are law. Also I wanted to use colours I already had (or was going to buy anyway) rather than purchasing new nail polish solely for this challenge. Therefore some aren’t *perfect* matches for the birthstone it is meant to represent. I have to give a shoutout to this lady who came into the nail salon I used to work at. She always picked colours based on the birthstone of that month… however we always disagreed on which one she should go with. So you do you, Norma… and here’s my take!
I liked that this little challenge forced me to get out of my comfort zone a bit as I had to use some finishes that I’m not crazy about (those pearlized/ metallically ones, man!) but ended up actually liking them! You’ll also see that I have a *slight* preference for OPI and hopefully you can tell that I got a bit better at doing my nails as the year went by!
January’s birthstone is Garnet and to duplicate that dark red stone I used OPI’s Midnight in Moscow. I think this polish is an almost perfect match and was actually the reason I decided to do this challenge. I originally was just going to wear this polish for January as a tribute to the birthstone, but then thought I would extend it to a twelve month version of that! This is one of my first ever OPI polishes and it is from OPI’s Fall 2007 Russian Collection. Even though it’s been a decade since the release, it’s still a beautiful, unique black cherry colour and perfect for fall and winter. It’s described as “charcoal with a hint of red glimmer” and luckily it is now part of OPI’s classic collection so you can easily pick it up if you want to get it for yourself!
February’s birthstone is Amethyst and the perfect purple polish for that job goes to OPI’s You Ottaware Purple. You Ottaware Purple is from OPI’s Fall 2004 Canadian Collection which, as a Canadian I have a total soft spot for! This metallic purple is neither too red nor too blue-toned and I got several compliments on it. Also, fun fact: this picture was taken on the very last day of February in the train station on my way home from school! I inherited this polish from my aunt and just over four months after this picture was taken I was able to “Ottaware” it in Ottawa, the capital of our country for Canada Day 150! Needless to say, it is now such a special, sentimental shade for me!
March’s birthstone, Aquamarine, was a bit of a trickier choice especially considering how easy it was to pick the colours for the first two months. Aquamarine, the actual stone, ranges a bit from a super light glassy blue to a bold blue-green shade. Blues and greens are my favourite nail polishes to wear so I do have a few in the spectrum and while China Glaze’s For Audrey was a solid contender, after getting some second opinions (I really was obnoxious and took this VERY seriously) I went with OPI’s Dominant Jeans, a frosty blue from an old (like… pre-nail polish blogs?) Brights collection and am glad I did because I think it works really well as the March birthstone. I took this picture at the ferry terminal when I was going over to Vancouver Island and I think it’s a great March/ early spring backdrop.
April’s birthstone is the Diamond and this was probably the trickiest one to figure out, especially knowing Pearl was just around the corner in June. I didn’t have something that properly encapsulated the qualities of a diamond so I went with two colours, one being white as a nod to the light/ white colour and another foily shade to symbolize the shimmery/ sparkliness of diamonds. Overthought, yeah probably, but I like how the combination turned out! The white is Deborah Lippmann’s Like a Virgin that I got in a FabFitFun box and took seven coats (I really wish that was an exaggeration) with OPI’s My Signature is DC, a mini version I got in a pack of 10 mini polishes from the Coca Cola collection (I have a blog post about how I label OPI minis, if you’re interested!) and was a nice two coats, even though it was a bit tricky since foil polishes are generally not my friend. The whole process took an entire episode of Game of Thrones, but this ended up being my most liked picture out of all twelve… so I guess it paid off!
May is the month I was born in so Emerald is my birthstone, and while I obviously have a bias for it… I don’t really have any nail polishes to prove that. While I love green nail polish and I do have quite a variety, none really fit well as a comparable shade. I decided to go with Essie’s Off Tropic because it’s closest to the shade even though it’s not the right finish. I actually picked up a colour that would have been perfect for this in the Zoya Mystery Box deal… so might have to re-do my May birthstone picture 😉
June’s birthstone is the Pearl and I actually talked about picking this colour in a vlog that you can watch HERE! OPI’s Abalone Shell worked perfectly… although it wasn’t ideal for my cuticles after wearing bright turquoise and it didn’t hold up very well. But as another polish I inherited from my aunt, I wasn’t expecting too much greatness from a 2003 release. I took this picture while visiting one of my best friends on Vancouver Island (which you can also see in the vlog)!
July’s birthstone is Ruby and… I don’t really have a red that quite fits. For all the red polishes I do have, and all the great scarlet/ poppy/ cherry shades that OPI nails every time (no pun intended), there just aren’t any in my collection that made me think of the July birthstone as much as my January, February, or even June picks. This colour is OPI’s Big Apple Red which I talk about HERE. I picked it up on my road trip across Canada specifically to wear in, you guessed it, The Big Apple. This picture was taken in Central Park, and although it wasn’t the perfect pick for the July birthstone, I’m glad I could memorialize it in this way!
August’s birthstone is the light green Peridot and I was able to do another two birds one stone (ooh no pun intended) situation as I used OPI’s Visions of Georgia Green from the Coca Cola Collection (another one from that set I mentioned for April) and this picture was taken in Savannah, Georgia! It wasn’t really a colour I was expecting to like since I’m not crazy about sheer formulas but the iridescent green and subtle orange shimmer made it perfect for the Peach State and a good choice for Peridot! Since I was only in Georgia for 24 hours and wanted to wear this colour and China Glaze’s Sun of a Peach it was a short-lived mani but I am definitely fond of it!
September’s birthstone is Sapphire and while, again, I have quite a selection of blue polish, none is quite a match for my youngest brother’s birthstone! I ended up going with Essie’s Butler Please because my other ones are either too light or too dark. This is one of my favourite Essie polishes and I always get lots of compliments on it! I didn’t end up posting this picture in September, although I promise I did wear it and take the picture in the correct month… I was just having an existential crisis with my Instagram theme, as one does.
October’s birthstone is Opal and that is truly a tricky stone to replicate in the form of nail polish. I ended up choosing OPI’s Princesses Rule! which was actually the runner up choice for June’s birthstone manicure. This is another old polish and it’s not one I would generally gravitate towards but I ended up really liking it and although not perfect, it works pretty well for Opal!
November’s birthstone is Topaz and the colour I chose was OPI’s Taupeless Showgirls. TaupeLESS is definitely accurate because this is not taupe at all, but actually a light copper. I actually had this polish singled out as soon as I decided to do this challenge since it is perfect for the bronze-y toned jewel (that happens to be my other brother’s birthstone!). I was dreading putting this on my nails because it’s such an “old lady colour” from the 2003 Las Vegas collection and the frosty/ metallic finish is (as we’ve covered many times at this point) one of my least favourites. However, once it was on my nails I… kind of loved it! The vibe I got from it was totally Sailor Venus’ transformation sequence in the original show… and that is an aesthetic I aim to achieve at all times.
Last but not least is December’s Turquoise. The stone itself is different from what I would normally associate with the colour turquoise, so while I have more of those blue-green shades, I feel like this colour from 2016’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s collection is the closest to the stone itself. OPI’s I Believe in Manicures is a pretty unique colour and I love that while it is from a winter collection, it would work well for spring and summer (and hey, fall too, why not?) as well. I love this colour (and the name!) and if you can track it down, I definitely recommend picking it up!
So that’s my stroll down memory lane in the form of manicures. I am glad I did this little challenge in 2017 and for 2018 I’m stepping it up and aiming to use EVERY one of the nail polishes in my collection at least once. So… we’ll see how that goes.
Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you’re having a great day! 🙂