The artful jeweler

Jack Massie

Photo by Josh Cozine

Jack Massie, owner of Paradise Jewelers, moved his shop from the Ridge to downtown Chico last November. With 43 years of experience in the jewelry business, Massie says he’s always been interested in art and good at working with his hands. Growing up in Red Bluff, Massie said he first became interested in drawing. He started sculpting in high school, and finally studied art throughout college at Chico State and the University of Alaska Anchorage—including taking such courses as metalsmithing, photography and computer graphics—as well as pursuing a business minor. Massie worked for many years at various custom jewelry shops in San Diego, Palm Springs and Palo Alto before making his way back to the North State to be closer to family. He opened his shop in Paradise in 2008, and said he jumped at the chance to move his business to downtown Chico when an opening became available in the Phoenix Building (300 Broadway). Paradise Jewelers offers custom designing, jewelry and watch repair, appraisals and alterations, and can be found on Facebook and Instagram, or reached at 876-9512.

What sets your jewelry store apart?

A lot of the times—especially in any mall-type places—you’re talking to a salesperson. But for me, I’m the guy that’s been locked in a back room someplace, so when you talk to me, you’re talking to the jeweler that’s actually doing the work, so I can actually explain what’s gonna go on and how it’s gonna be done. And usually on easy stuff and estimates—if they don’t want a written appraisal—I’ll do it for free. I hate charging for something that I think is too easy, and look at it as customer service.

What was the most exciting project you’ve ever worked on?

When I was down in San Diego, I worked on setting a 60 carat emerald. It was technically scary—the stone alone was worth about $80,000 and had to be hammer-set—and if I would have broken it, that would have probably been the end of my career at that point. Different ones have been my favorite—I would say it’s like asking a songwriter what their favorite song was; they are all my favorite at different times and for different reasons.

How was the move to Chico?

Having worked and lived in cities—I’ve lived in the Bay Area, San Diego and places like that—what I appreciate about Chico is that it’s got great restaurants, it’s got culture, as far as plays and events at the college, playhouses around town, and it’s got a nice art scene. I can’t think of a better town in Northern California. I love Bidwell Park, I love that you’re so close to nature, but you’ve got this little bit of culture. I think it’s a beautiful town and has a great community.