Blogs: On Your Market / Colored Stones

Fade to Black Studio Offers Opal at Its Finest


It barely feels as if a week has gone by—let alone two months—since we were swooning over the opal jewels of October, and yet here we are but a week away from Christmas and two weeks from 2022.

There’s a lot to cram into this remaining quarter of the year, and from Halloween on it all goes so fast. How quickly we trade in our pumpkin spice for our peppermint, our spooky sounds for Christmas carols. We love autumn long enough to cozy up in boots and sweaters, but once Thanksgiving passes, it’s old news—it’s snowflakes or bust.

Can you guess what never loses its oomph, no matter the time of year? You guessed it (or you just read the headline)—opal. Sure, it’s October’s birthstone, but designers and consumers alike love opal for all times, and that love is returned by a healthy helping of options featuring the gemstone.

Fade to Black Water Drop earrings
Water Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with Lighting Ridge opals and 0.53 ct. t.w. diamonds, $920

Sydney-born Tatiana Ikasovic is intimately familiar with the allure of opal. The designer behind Fade to Black Studio, Ikasovic works with opals sourced from Lightning Ridge (where she lived for a time as a child) and some parts of Queensland, with production monitored by her father, Mario Ikasovic. With more than 40 years of experience in the industry, the elder Ikasovic and the studio’s team cut the stones by hand in-house.

Now based in Los Angeles, Tatiana turns the already-arresting opals into gorgeous, wearable jewelry.

This is someone who truly believes in the power of opal. Tatiana’s pieces are beautifully designed though minimal, showing a respect for the stone that requires artful restraint.

Fade to Black Galaxy signet ring
Galaxy signet ring in 18k yellow gold with 4.31 ct. Lightning Ridge opal, $2,250

“Larger statement rings that still look minimalist and pared back is our aesthetic, and we’ve found that customers gravitate toward the simplicity of our designs, which are easily wearable yet still feel elevated,” says Tatiana. The most popular categories are rings and necklaces.

Fade to Black coin necklace
Coin necklace in 14k yellow gold with Lightning Ridge opal, $530

As customers sought to spend more on goods during the pandemic in lieu of travel and entertainment, it comes as no surprise they might be keen on opal.

“I noticed a definitive increase in interest for more elevated, unique pieces during the pandemic,” the designer says. “Though an unsettling time for many businesses around the world, customers took to independent designers and those that place emphasis on quality and sustainability over mass consumption. Opal is rare and incredibly unique, no two stones are exactly alike. This principle appeals to many customers, as they know they are getting a piece of jewelry that is one of a kind.

“I’ve found that people want to be educated on the different types of opal, and once they buy their first piece of opal jewelry, they are hooked and come back for more. No other stone has the variety of colors that an opal presents, and finding your perfect stone can become an addiction. The demand for opals continues to rise each year, but they are a finite gem—the value continues to increase with it over time.”

Fade to Black Tide ring
Tide ring in 14k yellow gold with Lightning Ridge opal and 0.14 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,600

My favorite is the Tide ring (above), with a glittered scattering of diamonds on a delicious gold band, surrounding a center oval-shape opal set in an east-west orientation. It would make a gorgeous engagement ring or wedding band—and an equally welcome holiday gift.

Fade to Black teardrop Cloud ring
Teardrop Cloud ring in 14k yellow gold with 4.5 ct. Lightning Ridge opal and 0.096 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,950

And speaking of which, for those down-to-the-wire shoppers who do purchase opal this holiday season, here are some tips from an expert.

“When you invest in quality, solid Australian opals, they are far more durable than opals from other parts of the world. I see a lot of misconceptions about not being able to wear opals in water, which doesn’t really apply to Australian opals,” says Ikasovic. “The best way to care for an opal is to firstly be knowledgeable about where the opal is sourced from and whether it is a solid opal or a doublet or triplet, and then also to remove your jewelry when using soaps, detergents, or chemicals, as this can make the stone dull over time and need to be repolished. Using a warm, soft cleaning cloth to go over the stone can remove any grime and revive its shine.”

Top: Falling Water ring in 14k yellow gold with 4.25 ct. blue Lightning Ridge opal and 0.065 ct. t.w. diamonds, $2,380; Fade to Black Studio

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine

By: Brittany Siminitz

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out