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Zoya Ornate Collection — What A Gem!

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the nail art craze that has sprouted like Jack’s magical beanstalk over the past three years, it’s that every manicure is an opportunity to create a virtual masterpiece — all you need is a blank canvas (in this case, your nails), the proper tools (lacquers, stickers, Q-tips, dotting tools, alcohol, glitter, stripers, beads, sequins, and any number of crafty supplies), a broad imagination, and the willingness to experiment and bring your concepts to fruition. But even nail art maestros occasionally need to take a breather from their intricate projects, instead relying on top-notch lacquers that do most of the work for them. Fortunately, those of us whose unsteady hands, busy schedules, and overall lack of Martha Stewart-like craftiness do not allow for lengthy sessions involving water marbling techniques, homemade appliqués and half moon tips can now rejoice over the unveiling of crackle, magnetic, glitter-infused, holographic, matte, velvety and rubber-like nail lacquers.

Ever the innovative brand, Zoya has upped the ante by continuing to explore the boundless hue gradations in every polish color family, not to mention toying with textures and finishes. Its latest offering, the Zoya Ornate Holiday/Winter 2012 Nail Lacquer Collection ($48 for 6-lacquer sampler set at Zoya.com) incorporates several astounding shades that resemble  luxurious gems thanks to their base colors, metallic finishes, micro pearls and/or tinsel-like glitter infusions, and overall shine. The six nail lacquers are Aurora (my personal favorite), Storm (a close second in the awe factor department), Ziv, Logan, Blaze, and Electra.

Below, you’ll find close-up shots of all six shades in the Ornate collection, along with photos demonstrating what they look like on nails. These shades would make a jewel thief do a double-take!

AURORA

As soon as you brush the Zoya Aurora Nail Lacquer ($8 at Zoya.com) on your nails, you’re likely to feel like you’ve entered another dimension. The color is reminiscent of that seen in photos of the aurora borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights, that descended upon Alaska last year. The cosmic shade of plum purple is entirely opaque, offering full coverage with just 1-2 coats, but what’s most special about it is the lacquer’s holographic quality, along with the specks of micro-diamond glitter that give the shade a luxurious, indulgent, extravagant feel. If you’ve ever looked at an amethyst geode, staring at the mineral in its rawest form, you might have been fascinated by its glistening interior, which this polish closely resembles.

Here’s how the Aurora polish looks when applied to nails:

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ZIV

Sure, you’ve seen countless shades of gold polishes, but Zoya’s Ziv Nail Lacquer ($8 at Zoya.com) leaves most of them to eat her dust. The polish looks like molten gold on your nails, as if the precious metal had been liquefied, then poured atop your nails much like it would be poured into an ingot cast. A micro diamond finish, meanwhile, adds an all-over glisten to the lacquer. Check out a Ziv manicure:

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STORM

I’ve tried a gazillion shades of black polish and, as someone whose style is heavily influenced by rock ‘n’ roll, I’m always looking for that perfect black shade. Enter the  Zoya Storm Nail Lacquer ($8 at Zoya.com), an uncannily glamorous but mysterious shade of black. The fully opaque black hue has a glossy finish that resembles tumbled onyx stones, but it’s saturated with holographic and micro-diamond glitter that changes colors depending on how the light hits its. The holographic micro pearls make the lacquer resemble a Star Wars-esque outer space, with its abysmal black base and tiny tinkering stars.

See why the Zoya Storm lacquer will actually have you yearning for inclement weather!

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BLAZE

Normally, when a nail lacquer is dubbed after fire or lava, it’s almost guaranteed that its color will be a warm red or intense orange. In the case of the Zoya Blaze Nail Lacquer ($8 at Zoya.com), however, this rule simply doesn’t apply. This unique color combines red, plum, and purple tones so that the final result resembles a homemade cranberry sauce. What’s interesting is that the cool-toned red shade is infused with specks of holographic glitter so that, in the end, it’s reminiscent of red spinel stones.

See if the Zoya Blaze shade lights your fire:

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LOGAN

‘Tis the season for wreaths and Christmas trees,  so no holiday nail lacquer collection would be complete without a metallic green shade. The Zoya Logan Nail Lacquer ($8 at Zoya.com) is a lovely metallic green that’s vaguely reminiscent of an emerald gem but lacks the transparency of this stone, with its deeper coloring making it more closely resemble a green tourmaline gem. In other words, it’s a deep forest green shade but what makes it distinct is the foil-like yellow gold and teal duochrome finish, along with the holographic and micro-diamond glitter specks. In the end, when you apply this color to your nails, you’ll feel like you have a piece of Christmas magic at your fingertips, as if your nails were tiny evergreens basking in the glow of white string lights, with golden ornaments and strands of tinsel reflecting the light and adding to the overall glow.

Get a load of Logan:

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ELECTRA

Finally, the collection incorporates one ultra-disco shade: the Zoya Electra Nail Lacquer ($8 at Zoya.com). As opposed to the other jewel-inspired tones in the collection, the Electra features a fully clear base and is saturated with both silver-toned micro-diamond glitter and larger, holographic, tinsel bar glitter. When applied to nails, it literally looks like they’ve been covered with tiny specks of silver tinsel. That being said, Electra works best as a top coat. Given its clear base, you have to apply quite a few coats to achieve medium (nevermind full) coverage and this can make nails appear clumpy and messy. Instead, I’d suggest applying one coat of nail lacquer in your preferred shade and then topping that color with the Electra. I’m fond of layering the Electra atop the Ziv shade since it plays with the mixed metal jewelry trend that’s so popular this season.

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