The covering of toenails and fingernails with gold was reserved for those of the wealthier class of Egyptian society. The nails of the hands and feet would commonly fall off during the mummification process, so steps (such as covering the nails with gold) were taken to preserve the appendages.
If the nails did fall off during the process, the embalmers would tie them back onto the hands and feet using string before applying the gold. The embalming process was normally conducted under the supervision of priests and lasted anywhere from 45 to 74 days. During this time, the body would have its organs removed, be drained of its fluids, be stuffed with spices and wrapped tightly in linen bandages.