Fingernails and Seamonsters

I was hoping the bizarre title would draw you in…

First off, I have a model of a character, and I am wondering if anybody knows how to make a good fingernail material. These fingernails are a bit different, more like claws, but I still want a similar look.

Secondly, I have little experience texturing complex things, and I am making a serpentine sea monster. I need it to look good (of course). What would be the best approach to texture in all the scales, wrinkles, etc.?

if you are going for somewhat realistic: have a look at this amazing tutorial.
this WILL apply for fingernails and scales and wrinkles as well.

Thanks. I will do the tutorial.