A horse enthusiast with a passion for gemstones, Karina Brez was voted one of the top three equestrian jewelers in the world by readers of Equestrian Living Magazine. She is a third-generation jeweler and a GIA graduate gemologist. After selling her jewelry for 10 years at The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, she’s launched a wholesale equestrian jewelry collection and opened Karina Brez Jewelry, a retail store in Palm Beach. As 2012 Miss Florida USA, she helped the children’s charity Horses Healing Hearts raise more than $100,000.
Q. Competing in a pageant was on your bucket list 10 years ago. What’s on your bucket list now?
A. To grow my brand to a household name. To be known as the equestrian jeweler.
Q. How did you become interested in horses? Did you grow up riding?
A. I’ve always loved horses. But coming from a family that immigrated here and not having the means of having a horse, that wasn’t an option for me growing up. But I still loved them. I started riding in my early 20s. I don’t have a horse, I don’t have the time, unfortunately. When you ride it’s a time commitment. It’s muscle memory; you have to do it at least three days a week. But now I’m trying to get my daughter into it. She’s only 4.
Q. And where did your interest in jewelry come from?
I grew up in my parents’ jewelry store, Rimma and Alex Brez. I helped them as a little girl. Then I started drawing art. I learned the art of selling, but I didn’t want anything handed to me. I wanted to pave my own path. I was going to go to school in London for accessory design. But my parents are very traditional. My older sister went into accounting and my dad being a second generation jewelry, he wanted me to do something in the jewelry industry. I said I’m going to do something completely different. I went to school at the GIA, started doing appraisal courses and I started a business, Palm Beach Gemologist when I was 21.
Q. How did becoming Miss Florida begin to change your career direction?
A. I designed my gown for the Miss USA pageant and I incorporated moonstones and silver work and crystals in the embroidery work. All the girls thought it was so cool and they asked me why don’t I design jewelry. I decided to go forward with that and do what I do best. Art has always been my thing. Knowing jewelry, I decided to combine my love of horses and my knowledge of gemology and I formed my own company in 2012.
Q. Tell me about your equestrian jewelry collections.
A. Horse Luv is based on a heart shape formed by two horses. It’s like an optical illusion of a horse. People love that it’s not too horsey, that it symbolizes a lot of different things. Huggable hooves bracelets have a minimalistic look with attention to detail. The more you look at it you realize they are two horse hooves. The bracelets are available in different sizes, small, medium and large. Let the horses hug you back.
Q. Why did you choose Palm Beach for your retail location?
A. It has always been my dream to open a Palm Beach store. My first and earliest memories are of my parents taking me to walk the streets here, and I admired the windows in amazement, aspiring to one day create something special and worthy enough of being sold here. Decades later, I promised myself that if after 10 years business was successful, I would fulfill that dream.
Q. What has the reaction to your store been, so far?
A. It’s been a really good reaction. People say they’ve never seen anything like this.
Karina Brez jewelry is available online at karinabrez.com, and at her new store at 240 Worth Ave., Unit 116, Palm Beach, FL 33480. Showings are by appointment only Saturday through Monday, and the store is open Tuesday through Friday, until the November 2021 official grand opening. For sales inquiries, contact Karina Brez at (561) 400-4085 or email [email protected].