Karina Brez’s love for the horses influences her jewellery designing as well.
Ukrainian-American Karina Brez earned the title of ‘Miss Florida USA’ in 2012, and decided to come up with a jewellery collection after fellow contestants were impressed by the design she created for her pageant dress. Growing up in Palm Beach County, riding and the love of horses influenced Karina’s jewellery and she officially launched her namesake line in January 2013 to explore her passion.
She walks us through her journey:
How did you hone your skills to become a jeweller?
I did a long-distance education programme at GIA, and would occasionally fly up to New York for diamonds, finishing my coloured stone identification test in Carlsbad, California. Within my family, my sister (who has a Master’s degree) and I were the first to get a formal education, yet I am a third-generation jeweller. My father wanted me to follow in his footsteps and continue the family business. Honouring my family and wanting to trailblaze my own path, I continued to work within the industry, but in a different context, choosing to work with appraisals instead. I started a company, Palm Beach Gemologist long before my jewellery designs came to fruition.
What was your debut collection and what inspired the pieces?
Believe it or not, my first collection was called the Garden Collection. It had butterflies that looked like flowers, which were altered from a naturalistic representation. In addition, I developed an entire collection of natural amber pieces, featuring amber from the Dominican Republic, which had flower and bug inclusions.
Are you an avid equestrian rider?
I’m not an avid equestrian rider, but I do love to ride for pleasure when time permits. I have always loved horses, and my jewellery collection is a byproduct of my happiness and passion of equestrian sport.
What are your signature pieces informed by?
I started volunteering at Horses Healing Hearts and was inspired to create a symbol to represent the love between human and horse. In addition, I love optical illusions, and wanted to create a design that is subtle, growing on you and inspiring you the more you look at it. That is how both Huggable Hooves and the Horse LUV, my signature trademarked collections, came to be.
We’d love to know more about the design details and inspiration for Unicorn Horseshoe collection, your newest offering.
My daughter helped inspire this collection, with her love of rainbows and unicorns. The trellis pays homage to my first pop-up boutique, I had a trellis for the walls and the theme of my store is a garden of jewels. I like to pay close attention to detail in all aspects of my work, including on the back. The details always matter. I also include my signature logo with the hidden butterfly, bringing luck to the wearer.
What is your vision for your brand?
My vision is to be the top equestrian jewellery designer in the world, and to partner with a major luxury retailer, who would exclusively carry my brand.
You recently opened your store in Palm Beach, Florida. How does the decor celebrate your love of horses?
My store is located on the glamorous Worth Avenue, in Palm Beach. The concept of the store is a garden of jewels, with beautiful displays representative of topiaries and green walls. The inside of the cases are palomino ultra-suede and pony hair (not the real kind, but vinyl). After showcasing jewellery over the last 10 years, it was important to remain true to my look, with a garden at a horse show. Therefore, I wanted to reincorporate that theme, but fewer faux plants and more green wood and gold inlay of a trellis patter, gold ceilings and with a stunning 10-foot geometric crystal chandelier.