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MUG SHOT: Fish Egg Friday on a Monday (or my Beluga Bonanza)

May 1, 2012 by pam

When I first saw photos of Ciate’s Caviar Manicure, I had two immediate thoughts:

1. I would buy bottles as soon as they were available so I could swatch them for this blog.

2. While waiting for bottles to be available, I would find microbeads and attempt to recreate the look for less for people who wouldn’t have access to Ciate/wouldn’t want to pay the $25 price tag.

A number of other nail bloggers had the same idea. They posted tutorials on creating your own caviar nails using microbeads from craft stores. This did not sit well with Ciate. They sent letters to some bloggers, asking them not to use the words “caviar manicure” or “caviar nails” because Ciate is in the process of applying to register these trademarks around the world.

I had two immediate thoughts:

1. Applying to register a trademark is not the same as owning a trademark.

2. I really did not like the sound of that letter. What was that part about “avoiding confusion from the point of view of our customers”? Did they just mean they didn’t want people to know they can achieve the same manicure without splurging on their products?

And after a little Googling, I found out that Ciate didn’t even invent caviar manicures, the Dashing Diva nail team and celebrity nail tech Pattie Yankee created the look for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as early as February 2011. And bloggers have been playing with polish and microbeads long before those first images of Ciate’s caviar mani appeared.

Ciate made a big mistake sending out those letters. You don’t see Chanel kicking up a shitstorm when people try to find cheaper alternatives to their limited edition shades. They know no matter how many Peridot dupes appear on the market, there will always be customers who would go for their product. The same could have been true for Ciate’s Caviar Nails. A handful of DIY tutorials online wouldn’t have stopped people from buying their products. If they didn’t piss them off.

I will definitely not be buying those caviar sets anymore.

And while I usually try to stay away from drama, this time, I felt like I had to make a stand. Because I don’t want some company to one day throw together bottles of polish and pieces of straw in pretty boxes and tell us we can’t use the words “splatter mani” anymore. Or sell polish with water and cups and claim they’ve trademarked “water marbling.” Ridiculous.

There was one great way to make a stand – by joining Fish Egg Friday, a blogger movement organized by Sammy of Nailasaurus earlier this month. A number of nail bloggers all posted their version of caviar nails on the same day – Friday the 13th. I wanted to join then but microbeads proved to be elusive in my part of the world (sadly, there are no Michaels stores here). So yes, this is a couple of weeks late.

And because it’s not a Friday, you can just call it Microbead Monday. Or Beluga Bonanza. Or Roe Roe Roe Your Boat. Whatever you want.

I finally found microbeads in two places – and Landmark.

This set of six colors came from Landmark. I got it for P139 (roughly $3).


I brought out the polish shades I wanted to play with.


I got little containers too for catching the rest of the beads.


For my first Beluga mani, I chose a-england Camelot with a Chanel Kaleidoscope accent finger.

I applied a coat of Chanel Kaleidoscope and let it dry. Then, I applied a second coat of Kaleidoscope and before it dried, I poured silver beads over that nail.


It was surprisingly easy.


I wish it could have been more even though.


And I wish it didn’t have bald spots.


Still, it wasn’t bad for a first attempt.


Maybe next time I can dip instead of pouring – maybe that will get more beads onto my nail.




Here’s a close-up.


And while this isn’t a look I’d rock every day, I had fun doing it.


I had so much fun I wanted to do another one.


This time I chose Chanel Rose Exuberant as my base.


And I mixed three colors of the microbeads.


I painted all the nails with one coat of polish, let them dry and added another coat, painting the accent finger last.


And just like the first time, I poured the beads over the wet nail and then pressed them down.


I let stray beads fall into the little container so I could use them again.


I like how happy these colors look.


Check out more fish egg fun by some of my favorite bloggers: Nailasaurus, Nails and Noms, The Swatchaholic, Fashion Polish, The PolishAholic.


  1. Maribeth says:

    Whoop whoop for the Beluga Bonanza! (side note: ‘bonanza’ is not used often enough. Props to you for changing that ;) ) I love what you did with the silver beads- bald spots and all (I wouldn’t have noticed) it looks fab. I totally understand what you mean about taking a stand on this issue. I was left with a really bad taste in my mouth after reading about those Ciate letters. I 100% agree with your comparison to people still buying Chanel vs the many copy cats out there….Ciate sorta cut off their own nose to spite their face here.

    • pam says:

      Haha! Let’s get some miles on bonanza!

      Yeah, the silver beads are really pretty. I love how tiny they are.

      I felt the same way when I read those posts. They should have just sucked it up and let everyone do their tutorials instead of creating this mess.

  2. MrsMartinez says:

    Love your nails, Pam!


  3. Somilge says:

    d(^_^)b go Pam! love the A England belugas :D I can’t explain it, I like looking at fish egg manis even if I’m not going to wear it lolz :D

    I saw the blogs about that whole caviar drama Ciate put themselves in.. It was bad PR on their part. If I had a hat I’d take it off for Ciate’s excellent way of pissing off future customers. I wanted to buy a couple of their polishes then this whole thing and now I’m just blah.

    • pam says:

      Yeah they’re really pretty to look at!

      And totally, the whole Ciate thing was such a turn-off. I really couldn’t bring myself to buy from their brand anymore. But that’s a good thing – I’ll save the cash for the brands I really love :)

  4. Miko says:

    I’m all for the Beluga Bonanza but the cheesier me would go for Roe Roe Roe Your Boat!

  5. Miss Bun says:

    Wow wow wow. Pammy I was all about the ciate caviar sets too, until hearing about this. :( I will be doing Fish Egg Friday too! Thanks for the headsup. I too wanted the sets but DEFINITELY not anymore. Puh!

    • pam says:

      Crazy right?! Yeah, I was excited about the sets too until the awfulness began.

      Can’t wait to see your Fish Egg Friday, Bun!!!

  6. Silvermouse says:

    Ha! Love Roe Roe Roe your boat! Hilarious. After that story Ciate sounds like one of those horrible multinational companies that uni students love to protest about! Definitely won’t be buying anything from there, particularly if they’re the ones ripping off the ideas of others.

    Love the manicure – the silver was very striking next to Camelot and the combination of pink/purple/blue was very cute and candy-like!

    • pam says:


      The odd thing is Ciate seems to be a really small company. They could have taken the small company approach, become accessible to their fans and develop a strong relationship with their market but nope, they decided to shoot themselves in the foot instead.

      I had fun working on these manis! I might do more soon!

  7. Wow Landmark of all places! Did the beads fall off within the day?

    • pam says:

      Yes, Landmark! They didn’t stay on long enough for me to see if they’d fall off! I took the beads off after taking photos. But I’ve read that they usually fall off after a couple of days.

  8. rins says:

    I didn’t like the letter Ciate sent out to bloggers too. It would have been a better move if they collaborated with nail bloggers instead. I haven’t tried a “caviar” mani yet. It does look interesting for an accent nail. :)

    • pam says:

      Exactly! They could have worked with bloggers instead of being hostile!

      Rins I can’t wait to see your take on this. I’m sure it will be awesome!

  9. Cecilia says:

    You are so right about the chanel. I have bought chanel dupes but nonetheless, I still go for the true chanel in the end. All companies who deliberately try to make things tough for bloggers/buyers will not be supported eventually..

    on the other hand, caviar mani is something i will not try (removal process is a hassle!) but i’m glad bloggers are trying to make a stand..

    • pam says:

      Haha! Yeah, the beads can get messy but it was a great way to speak up :)

      I don’t understand why they didn’t think people would react negatively to their letter. Crazy.

  10. M says:

    Fun! I’ll need to try this. Question: how would you take off the beads when changing your mani? Love the blog! <3

    • pam says:

      First I tried rubbing off the loose beads so I could use them again. The rest that were really stuck to the polish I just removed with cotton and polish remover :)

  11. Rie says:

    I absolutely LOVE the name “Roe Roe Roe Your Boat”, hahah!

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