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Jewelry store owner goes digging for gold — in Alaska

Barry Nicholls has been in the jewelry business for 40 years.

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  • | 10:12 a.m. July 17, 2022
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Barry Nicholls. (Courtesy photo)
Barry Nicholls. (Courtesy photo)
  • Charlotte–Lee–Collier
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Naples jewelry entrepreneur Barry Nicholls is headed about as far as he could possibly could for his next business adventure: Alaska.

The owner of Paradise Jewelry in Naples is spending a chunk of July in the Last Frontier state, on a gold prospecting trip. Guided by Gold Fever Prospecting, his trip includes a 10-day hunt for gold on the south fork of the Fortymile River, outside the historical town of Chicken, Alaska, according to a statement. Chicken is a mere 4,638 miles from Naples.

Nicholls says prospecting for gold and visiting Alaska has long been on his bucket list. “Life is about adventure,” Nicholls says in the statement. “I’m fortunate to be in a business that is about adventure, magic sand excitement. For many years, I’ve also been a charter boat captain, and now I get to add a whole new chapter and adventure.”

Nicholls opened Paradise Jewelry in 1982 and handles all aspects of the fine jewelry store, from bench work to marketing. He’s self-taught in goldsmithing, jewelry, gemology and lapidary/gem cutting and has written a chapter about diamond selling for the Gemological Institute of America’s diamonds correspondence course. He’s also taught gemology classes for Collier County Adult Education for 24 years.

The search for gold isn’t just for fun and glory. When Nicholls returns from his adventure, he say, he hopes to display his find at his store and show clients what gold looks like in its raw form. He would also like to do visual presentations for local groups about prospecting, how to find gold and what can be done with it. And, if he brings home a lot of gold, he says he will have it refined so he can use it in some custom jewelry.


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