A Hidden Gem Found In Our Own Backyard

by Janet Pattison

PANAMA CITY, FL - Located just off 23rd Street on Jenks Avenue in Panama City, Creative Gems stands out as a unique destination for those seeking custom-made fine jewelry. Owner Nick Adamson, a Master Jeweler, not only creates stunning pieces for his customers but also provides settings for other jewelers around the country. As a third-generation jewelry maker, Adamson has honed his skills through classical training and the latest technology to design and create one-of-a-kind settings.

Adamson's family has a rich history in the jewelry-making industry, with his grandfather being a master watchmaker and his uncles and aunts working as gem setters for major companies in Beverly Hills, California. Moving to Panama City in 1992, Adamson combines his family's expertise with cutting-edge technology to produce exquisite jewelry pieces.

Inside the store, customers can find beautiful diamonds and gems, but the real gem is the settings that Adamson crafts himself in the back rooms. He creates settings for rings, necklaces, and other jewelry items, ensuring that each piece is unique and tailored to the customer's specifications.

As I observed Nick Adamson at work, it was evident that his mastery of jewelry-making was a true labor of love. He took a wax ring which was created in a 3-D printer. He placed the ring in what looked like a metal egg, and placed it into a mini oven, skillfully creating a mold and ensuring that every detail was accounted for. This mold was then used in a machine, where gold and other alloys were meticulously melted and injected at an extremely high pressure into the mold.

The result of this intricate process was a raw metal casting, which emerged from the mold. He said the support pieces would be carefully removed prior to polishing. The ring then goes in a tumbler, accompanied by burnishing liquid and steel shot, before receiving its final polish by hand with a high-speed buffing wheel. “You can tell a real jeweler by looking at his fingers, they’ll be all scuffed up,” laughs Nick.

The time he and his staff take with each piece is a testament to the craftsmanship. Understanding the importance of passing on his knowledge and expertise, Adamson trained each of his jewelry makers, recognizing that it takes a significant amount of time and dedication to develop the skills required to produce exceptional jewelry pieces. This commitment to excellence was not only evident in the quality of the work produced at Creative Gems but also in the loyalty and appreciation of their customers.

After skillfully creating the settings, Adamson kindly offered to showcase the setting and repair process using my ring as an example. To provide customers with a unique and engaging experience, he had set up a camera that allowed them to watch his work on a large flat screen display on the wall. Carefully examining the ring under a microscope, Adamson diligently checked for any cracks or imperfections.

In addition to creating settings, Adamson also specializes in design work. He has developed a 3-D computer program that allows customers to visualize their finished piece before it is created. The program generates a 3-D design that looks like a photograph, providing customers with a clear understanding of how their jewelry will look when completed.

Creative Gems offers a wide range of services, including appraisals, pearl restringing, watch repair, and jewelry repair. The Adamson family has strong ties to the Panama City community and actively supports local community organizations, further cementing their commitment to the area. They also do not outsource their repair work, ensuring that customers' precious items are handled with care and expertise. From concept to design and repair, Creative Gems is a one-stop-shop for all your jewelry needs. With a dedication to quality and craftsmanship, this unique jewelry store is a true gem in Panama City's bustling business landscape.

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