Born and raised in El Paso by parents who promoted her artistic talent since she was from five years old, and pursuing her dream to major in art, Susan Eisen enrolled in art metals as a Bachelor of Fine Arts Student. Her love for design, soldering and cutting metal, forming sheets and wires into jewelry, and playing with gemstones led her to fall in love with the art of jewelry making. Having learned the skill for making jewelry from her two metals professors at UTEP, Wiltz Harrison and Rachelle Thiewes, she ventured into the world of jewelry design with very little business background and only her hands and the movement of metals and gemstones to guide her. She opened her first retail jewelry store and art gallery named Tiara in May of 1980 in a small 1920’s office turned shop in El Paso’s Art Museum district downtown. Having very little financial assistance, she spent the days alone in the store dreaming, designing, and fabricating her own pieces. She spent the next few years learning the trade, working with customers, exhibiting at art shows, and finding out the many things she needed to learn about in the jewelry industry. Because most jewelry stores are run by families who inherit the business from their ancestors, her journey to learn the business was a labor of love. In fact, until today, her labor is her love and her hours at the store feel like an artist playing is their studio. She discovered her love of design and the desire to create more each day and when the gemological knowledge of gemstones became necessary, she enrolled in classes at the Gemological Institute of America in California. Walking through the buildings at GIA she knew she was in the place in her life she would remain forever, learning about gemstones and their properties but more importantly building a love for the fabulous colors and shapes that surround gemstones. Her Graduate Gemologist degree was only the beginning of her learning.
Over the years, Susan Eisen realized that not only did she love to create from precious metal, but that having and succeeding in business was a constant challenge, also requiring education, skill and creativity. This combination of aesthetics and business kept her brain cycling through ideas every day of her life. Rather than being a jewelry store owner alone, she ventured into creating products that would make life easier for others.
She applied for and received 5 trademarks and one design patent for her creations and pursued their manufacture and marketing. She began to carry other brands, jewelry by known designers and well known watch brands. But carrying these products and handling the day to day duties of a jewelry store owner required energy that she had previously used for her jewelry creations.
Her life was inundated with business chores, hiring and training personnel, handling finances, ordering products, meeting customer needs and her desire to design jewelry fell by the wayside. And then one day, while reading one of her many business magazines she read an article about writing a book. Being that she loved challenges and had them every day of her life, she embarked on the journey to create a book about her love for jewelry. It took her 3 years to finish her book “Crazy About Jewelry-The Expert Guide to Buying, Selling, and Caring for our Jewelry” and while she was writing it she began to listen to the new age music she loved when she first starting designing jewelry. And soon, the creative spirit in her awoke and could no longer be silenced. Her love for creating was not willing to take a back seat to her jewelry business.
Over the past 28 years, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches has gone from a small one person jewelry and art gallery to a major player in the jewelry industry today. Her awards are many including Woman Retail of the Year from the Women’s Jewelry Association, top 31 jewelers named “Americas Best Jewelers” by National Jeweler Magazine, and Best of the Best Jeweler in El Paso for multiple years.
Susan Eisen remains the center of the business. She continues to offer her clients her unique style of design and manufacture, her serious dedication to high craftsmanship in her work, and her desire to make each customer a happy one with jewelry they will cherish forever. Re-opening her art gallery in 2008 begins her travel back to her roots, exploring designs and art, and bringing her home to where she belongs, an artist in the ever changing world of gold and gemstones.