Industry Experts

The family of Graduate Gemologists at Susann’s Diamond Jewelers dazzles customers with gemstones and exceptional customer service.

By: Stephanie Kusy
Photos by: Paul Marshall

Susann’s Diamond Jewelers isn’t your typical jewelry store. Yes, there are radiant rubies, elegant emeralds and stunning sapphires waiting inside, along with a large display of dazzling diamonds sure to please any customer. Yet there’s so much more. When patrons enter the store, a familiar face will always greet them. Family owned and operated, the Bartels take pride in providing exceptional customer service.


The family of five loves being a part of their customers’ special events. From helping arrange proposals to helping pick out a unique anniversary gift, the Bartels each have their own memorable story. These experiences build trust with their clients, an important factor when it comes to buying fine quality jewelry. They travel all over the country to deliver items to clients and maintain strong relationships with the industry’s most prominent vendors.

It’s a wonder they landed in the Sparkling City by the Sea back in 2012. The sun and sand lured the family here from Kansas after they searched more than three years for a location to set up shop. They have truly made this store a home away from home, and they want customers to feel the same way.
The family boasts 75 years of experience in the jewelry industry between all of them. Both Audie Bartel and his son, Colton, hold Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist degrees, which is the training authority in the American jewelry industry. They know everything about diamonds, diamond grading and gemstones. They specialize in diamonds, bridal, colored stones, custom design and jewelry repair.

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Some customers seem surprised when they learn all repairs are done in-house. “It’s a level of trust I think we have here also,” Colton Bartel says. “We actually like to show them their piece under the camera and explain what the issue is and why it needs to be fixed, so they can see exactly what we’re talking about.”

I experienced this all firsthand during the interview with this lively family. The family fully supports playing dress-up when it comes to jewelry and immediately adorned my fingers and neckline with rare gemstones, allowing me to see the jewels dazzling color and lustrous beauty for myself. I learned that you should gaze at jewelry in a mirror to see how it appears to others and step outside to see how it appears in natural light because both display different gem qualities. A rare alexandrite ring exhibited emerald green, red and purple-blue colors depending on the light source. While I felt like a queen (they literally had me try on a crown), they say this experience is typical for those interested in trying on multiple pieces of jewelry.


“We have a passion for it,” Karla Bartel says. “It’s not something you can train. We enjoy what we do, and we want our customers to enjoy it as much as we do. We want them to try everything on. We don’t want them to pick through a looking glass.”

This for sure isn’t a run-of-the-mill jewelry store. At one point, the Bartels displayed two 10-karat diamonds, each costing more than seven figures. Unfortunately those sold, so I wasn’t able to try them on. “We think everybody deserves the best,” Audie Bartel says. “It may not be as big as they want to buy, but it’s the best they can buy at that time and can be proud to wear it.”

Susann’s Diamond Jewelers intends to give back to the community, as well, with their new initiative. They’ve developed a new partnership with New Life Refuge Ministries, a local charitable organization created to bring awareness and help individuals affected by the human sex-trade industry.

Susann’s Diamond Jewelers developed the “Courage Coin” pendant, which is a necklace featuring a gold or rhodium plated penny. The penny represents the lives saved by New Life Refuge Ministries. Similar to the penny, these individuals have been tossed aside, forgotten and considered not worth the effort. The store takes pennies that faced a difficult journey and gives them a bright and shiny future. On a necklace and always close to the heart, the pennies will never be forgotten again, and can be proud of what they have become. Susann’s Diamond Jewelers will donate half of the profits for each “Courage Coin” pendant directly to New Life Refuge Ministries to help provide bright and shiny new futures for these young ladies.

The family loves to meet people and get to know their customers. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry for a special occasion, Susann’s Diamond Jewelers makes sure your purchase sparkles for lifetimes to come.

For questions or to set up an appointment, please contact Susann’s Diamond Jewelers via phone at 361-991-7565, via Web at or in person at 4254 S. Alameda in the Town and Country shopping center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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