By Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief
For 11 years, El Paso, Texas-based jeweler Susan Eisen of the eponymous retail shop has been connecting with consumers by way of her weekly radio show on KTSM 690 AM. Her 30-minute program is called “Crazy About Jewelry Radio,” named for her book, “Crazy About Jewelry! An Expert Guide to Buying, Selling and Caring for Your Jewelry,” published in 2007. If you know Eisen, you know just how passionate she is about jewelry education—she’s got an alphabet soup of jewelry credentials as impressive as a Michelin-starred restaurant.
“I like to promote the industry by explaining what these organizations—ASA, AGS, GIA, AGTA, AGA, JVC, ISA, JSA, etc.—do and why it’s important to be a member and be accredited with them,” she says.
In fact, at press time, Eisen was reminded once again about the importance of education and accreditation: a client came into the store with a yellow Diamond ring with an appraisal from a now-defunct shop citing an incorrect lab report number and an insurance document featuring an additional typo. “When you deal with accredited persons, the buck stops with them,” she says. “This is why I talk a lot about why it matters to be credentialed.”
For sure, program discussions include those relevant to her consumers, including ones they’ve told her about. Fraud is a big one—“So my consumers can’t be victimized,” she says—but others include interviews with officials from nonprofits about charitable initiatives and unique (and inspiring!) personalities.
“I have a formerly homeless customer whom I interviewed who now has three Ph.D.s and buys jewelry!” she exclaims. “I also cover whatever I feel is important at the time, including controversial topics like natural and manufactured [lab-grown] diamonds.”
The show allows her to differentiate herself from other jewelers, talk about behind-the-scenes jewelry efforts, and what it takes to stay educated and up to date. This is especially important “in this age of the Internet where much of the information there is not accurate or written to promote sales only,” Eisen notes.
Topics of malfeasance—and poking fun at fraudsters—may be her favorite. For example, she’ll record some conversations with tricksters who call claiming she owes the IRS or some other group money and will go to jail if not paid immediately.
“I play along with it and run it on my radio show,” she says about the move made to educate listeners on how to deal with these sorts of scam artists.
Other times she’ll caution about jewelry deals that sound too good to be true—they usually are. Some people buy what they think is a gold coin, but isn’t when X-rayed, or bought what was supposed to be a super valuable gem online and it wasn’t.
“There’s so much fraud,” she says. “One person bought an Emerald ring for $3,000 in an online auction and was told that it was worth $50,000. They were given false papers with it and the Emerald was cracked and not what it was supposed to be.”
As for return on her time and talent investment, it’s hard for Eisen to point to specific sales and say they came to her from the radio program, but she doesn’t really mind.
“It is a big weekly commitment for me, but it’s another one of the great things I enjoy about the joys of the jewelry business!”
Editor’s Note: Due to technical issues, Eisen’s online archive of programs isn’t available but local listeners can tune in each week at 12:30 pm Mountain Time.
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