Successful entrepreneur, jewelry designer for the stars, Master Gemologist Appraiser® ASA, author of multiple books, Vice President of the Texas Jewelers Association – Susan Eisen wears many hats, Texas style.
Born and raised in El Paso, she found her first love designing and making jewelry as a metal arts major at the University of Texas. Curious, self-motivated and with a seemingly fearless entrepreneurial spirit, she took the plunge after graduating and opened her own jewelry store in an old refurbished home in the museum district of El Paso in 1980. “Unlike many others in the industry, I didn’t come from a family owned business,” she shared in a recent interview. “I didn’t have anyone to teach me.
“Customers would ask, ‘What gemstone is this?’ To satisfy their requests, I learned about gemstones through GIA, becoming a Graduate Gemologist and Master Gemologist Appraiser through the American Society of Appraisers.” As her business flourished over the last four decades, she branched out, re-designing estate pieces for clients, featuring nationally recognized designers and top name brand watches. Her current store is in a strip center with showroom, workshop, and graphics, appraisal and mail order offices run by six staff. She’s been awarded a Retailer of the Year Award for Excellence from the Women’s Jewelry Association, one of America’s Best Jewelers by National Jeweler Magazine and Best of the Best Jeweler in El Paso for years in a row. (www.susaneisen.com, www.susaneisencouturejewelry.com)
In 2014 Susan reached out to the celebrity circuit, designing a pair of diamond ear-climber earrings for Lauren Parsekian, the wife of “Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul. Amazingly Paul won the Emmy that first year and Lauren was widely photographed wearing Susan’s earrings on the red carpet. Since then she has designed dozens of pieces for celebrities, featured at many awards events including the Academy Awards and the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. Parlaying her red-carpet successes, Susan showcases her pieces chosen by stars and their stylists at charity auctions and other events, burnishing her profile.
Another avenue opened when Susan tried her hand at writing. “I had heard that one way to stand out among competitors is to become an author. I wrote a manuscript, hired an editor and self-published. We sub-contracted an illustrator I had admired through National Jeweler Magazine. ‘Crazy About Jewelry, The Expert Guide to Buying, Selling and Caring for Your Jewelry’ took three years to complete but was a labor of love. It took me full circle back to my roots in designing jewelry and re-awakened my original passion.
“Building my brand is my current focus. I always want to stand out, to do something different, to do what no one else has done before.” Susan’s since authored two other books and is currently at work on her fourth.
After 40 years in the industry, she reveals, “I want to give back. I’m currently Vice President of the Texas Jewelers Association. It’s a great way to meet other jewelers and compare notes. El Paso’s a great location – great mountains, perfect weather, not humid. We’re literally on the bridge between two worlds, Mexico and the US. We’re mostly bilingual and have a variety of clients from all walks of life, including many Mexican customers.”
What does Susan love most about the jewelry business? “Everything! The people, stories, creativity, appraising, designing, and challenges every day. I’m lucky to have great kids, spending time with my 90-year-old father and wonderful customers. Life could not be better. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing!”
Mia Katrin is an award-winning jewelry designer featured in over 100 top stores nationally. She is available for lectures and seminars. To add her Collections or book a lecture: www.jeweljewel.com, 877-539-3569, facebook.com/MiaKatrinforJEWELCOUTURELLC, subscribe to her YouTube channel www.youtube.com/channel/UC2B-53XBuB_HD5-bofc5jAA