Johannesburg-born Michael Berger loves transforming graceful hands into eye-catching stages. Appropriately, his hand-made collections feature kinetic jewelery pieces that move and spin on the wearer's hand. The jewelery designer follows in the footsteps of his mentor, Professor Friedrich Becker, an outstanding artist and master craftsman who had a decisive influence the art of the goldsmith in the second half of the 20th century. His legacy was the introduction of the forth dimension to jewelery design: movement.
Berger, himself a master goldsmith, views jewelery not solely as adornment or a means of communicating the wearer's affluence. "There is undoubtedly a certain playfulness involved if you design kinetic jewelery," explains the designer, who recently opened his own studio in Düsseldorf. Kinetics - defined in physics as the dynamics of bodies which are accelerated by forces - is the driving force which makes Berger's unusually shaped rings so fascinating. At first glance, his stainless steel or gold ring sculptures seem to be attractively heavy, clearly shaped pieces. It is when you put them on and start moving your hands horizontally in flowing movements that their full magic is revealed: the top elements, which nestle closely together, start to move and rotate. This finger-dance, initiated by the wearer, is made possible by the microscopic bearings that join the top and bottom section of each ring.
Even when not in motion, Berger's rings are objects of stunning beauty which conceal yet another unexpected feature: these rings can stand. In each ring design Berger includes a minute, flat base, allowing these appealing sculptures to be admired from all sides. The rings are available in a variety of different designs - set with glittering diamonds or gems, or completely plain, but always the center of attention with their clear, modern lines.
Wearers of Berger's unusually mobile creations share their taste for these fascinating pieces with a jury comprising museum, artistic and design experts: Michael Berger was awarded the 2004 Jewelery Prize of North Rhine Westphalia and the 2005 Bochum Design Prize.