As the subject of nails is adequately covered by Benham, Cheiro, and other writer, this article only deals with indications you are likely to see frequently. Long and narrow nails show a delicate constitution and a mental or idealistic nature. To say someone has a delicate constitution is not to suggest there is anything physically wrong, but simply that they lack robustness and you are unlikely to see them doing heavy manual labour or competing in strenuous sporting events. Broad nails show a robust constitution. Short nails are generally broad and besides showing a robust constitution, they also show someone who is inclined to be argumentative and something of a fault picker. When very short and very broad they show an extremely critical and very pugnacious temperament. A person who, even when they know they are in the wrong, are willing to argue for the sheer pleasure it gives them to do so.
As regards the natural colour under the nails, pink is always good to find as it indicates good health. Blue indicates a sluggish circulation which may be due to a weak heart, while a deep purple at the base of the nails shows that some form of heart difficulty is likely, especially if there are patches of blue in the palm. Nails that are flecked with little white spots show the nervous system is currently under a lot of strain. Fluted nails have a number of ridges running in a lengthwise direction and show a tense or nervous disposition. The greater the degree of fluting, the greater the degree of nervous tension and in an extreme situation, the nails become white and brittle and instead of curving slightly down to protect the finger tips, they curve upwards in an arch.
These extremely fluted nails show an extreme degree of nervous disorder and have often been seen on people who recently suffered a stroke or some other form of nervous illness. The occurrence of cross-ridges on a nail is more difficult to explain. Some Palmist suggest that an illness in the past caused the nail to temporarily stop growing and this left a tell-tale ridge which enables a palmist to tell how long ago the illness occurred. But I have observed two instances which cast doubt on this theory. Some time ago a friend quite unexpectedly found himself under arrest for a crime he didn’t commit. He was totally devastated by the event and I was able to observe that a cross-ridge appeared on the nail of the index finger on his left (passive) hand. This ridge appeared quite suddenly about a quarter of the way up the nail and was clearly visible. It gradually grew up the finger and five months later, one week after his trial had exonerated him, the ridge grew off the end of the finger and the nail returned to normal. The other instance concerned a person who had been involved in a car accident in which the passenger was killed. Just after the accident, again on the index finger of the left hand, a cross-ridge suddenly appeared about half way up the nail. Two observations don’t prove anything, but the fact that in both cases the cross-ridge first appeared part way up the nail casts some doubt on the validity of the old theory.
I have no new theory to put in the place of the old one, but mention these observations so that you will not be misled when reading about cross-ridges in other sites. Heart-disease nails are frequently mentioned by other writer, but a serious illness such as this is very complicated and quite beyond the scope of this article. However, for the interested student there are medical articles which deal with nails and the diseases they indicate and these can usually be obtained from some specialist.