Art Deco, and the History of Mens Rings

Art Deco, and the History of Mens Rings

From lavish emerald pinky rings, to signet rings, to family rings, men have historically adorned themselves with gorgeous and timeless pieces, but since the 1900s the tradition of engagement rings has largely remained focused on women as the recipients. Here at Berlinger, we ask, but why? In our modern world, where men can freely engage their interest in fashion, where same sex marriage is legal, and where we are beginning to sew equality into the fabric of our cultural narrative, it’s time to begin new traditions for the modern man.

For the last year, I have been scouting the globe for gorgeous examples of Art Deco era mens rings. From the train in Amesterdam, to the streets of Los Angeles, here are some of the best inspiration pieces I have found.

Berlinger, Custom Engagement rings for men on Hey Gents

Berlinger, Custom Engagement rings for men on Hey Gents

There’s no denying that the world of marriage is changing in big ways. Seeing an opportunity in a so far untapped market in the jewellery industry, Berlinger Rings provide custom engagement rings for men. The label is breaking down the old fashioned idea that engagement rings are exclusive to women.

Working in a fine jewellery store, Berlinger Rings founder Michelle Berlinger was inspired by an emerging trend she saw of both men and women wearing engagement rings to create a spirit of equality in their marriage. 

Berlinger are leading a new tradition in the modern world, built on equality and individuality. They understand the inherently personal and sentimental qualities that rings possess and offer detailed customisation to reflect personal style.

The collection consists of a selection of male-specific designs that offer the perfect platform for co-creation of the final product. You may not be in the market right now – but you can still support this modern movement on Kickstarter.

Men's Engagement Rings

Men's Engagement Rings

Berlinger Rings | Custom Engagement Rings For Men

Berlinger Rings | Custom Engagement Rings For Men

Berlinger Rings | Custom Engagement Rings For Men

Berlinger Rings | Custom Engagement Rings For Men

Berlinger Rings | Custom Engagement Rings For Men

Beauty News NYC: Berlinger Rings, a jewelry company for men.

Beauty News NYC: Berlinger Rings, a jewelry company for men.

Unique and Beautiful Rings for Fathers day!

An article for Beauty News by Tova Diker

For as long as men have been trying to impress with their money, there has been man-bling. But jewelry can have emotional implications as well; bracelets might show faith in a higher being, an earring might scream “rebellion,” a necklace might allow you to keep a loved one close to your heart.

Or a ring might symbolize love, commitment, reverence, and appreciation.

BERLINGER is a jewelry company that designs exclusively for men and with a feeling of inclusiveness – the company makes engagement and wedding rings for men in support of same-sex marriage. 

However, their narrative isn’t wrapped up in any one ideology. Now the home of two equally unique and beautiful collections (Everyman and Decoman), Berlinger Rings is establishing itself as a tastemaker and creator of fashion rings that celebrate the style of the modern man with classic designs. 

Really, the men in your life deserve to be celebrated, showered with love, and maybe even a little bedazzled. So this year, start with your favorite guy, or your father, grandfather, uncle — any other man who helped shape you into you – and gift them for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or simply to show you care. 

The Rockstar


The Armstrong ring, sterling silver and black diamond, is a rugged piece of man jewelry for the guy who can just slay that Sweet Child o’ Mine solo or at the very least likes to wistfully play old Beatles records while telling you about the good old days.


The Mitch is a sterling silver stunner that says “I belong to an important man.” It’s for the man who runs board meetings and sits majestically at the head of the table.

The Lounge Man


The Jim is a ring for the man in your life who loves you but also loves the couch. He likes things easy, sleek, and classic. He’s a no-frills kinda guy. This simple handmade sterling silver band would be the perfect accessory for his TV remote hand.

The Hippie


The Ellington is perfect for that yoga-doing, chia-seed munching, pot-smoking Deadhead guy who probably also surfs. He is one with nature and, with this sterling silver and turquoise number, everyone will know it.

The Glam Dude


The Fitzgerald is a ring inspired by the Great Gatsby. It’s fit for the man who can throw a fancy shindig at a moment’s notice, who eats caviar by the bucket, and who can taste the notes of oak, chocolate, and smoky soil in a bottle of red wine.

Check out more from BERLINGER RINGS at

Making Metal Better

Making Metal Better

Berlinger, Interviewed by Duncan Hall for True Icon: 

Making Metal Better - Berlinger Rings

Luxury jewellery is something that most either love or despise. It can be seen as excessive, tacky, classist, and almost irrelevant in today’s common culture. However, a New York-based jeweller has brought purpose and relevance to this seemingly crusty market in an effort to reflect contemporary society and inject some meaning onto the things we decorate our bodies with.

Michelle Berlinger, who heads up Berlinger Rings, carves her passion and her message into pieces that aim to really reflect the world we live in today, as well as disrupt social norms and perceptions around jewellery.

With a brand-spanking new men’s line out, I thought it was about time to get her on the line and find out what the buzz in New York was all about.


Tell be about you and how you became this jewellery extraordinaire?

My jewellery making career started when I was thirteen and on the national gymnastics team and I broke my back. I was in a body cast and very unable to move. My dad’s friend was a jewellery designer and gave me some beads to make a necklace and that was the first thing that piqued my interest in jewellery.

I had always kind of been fascinated with stones and rock and like most kids, I had a rock collection…

Lol wut, no they didn’t…. anyway

During this time when I was very broken (in the physical sense) I really picked up jewellery making and by high school I was selling my designs to some local stores in LA.

As soon as I got to university I found out there was a jewellery making studio and I got a job there. I spent the rest of my university career in the jewellery making studio. In my final year of university I applied for this program that let me study how jewellery is used as a symbol and how it is used to communicate identity. The program also let me make jewellery myself so I spent most of my final year at university making jewellery that communicated a stance on feminism, equality, and empowerment.

That academic interest then branched into a business idea that jewellery can be used to communicate not just identity but social chance and progress.

Why do you do what you do?

I have always been super handsy – I like to touch things.

Interesting… elaborate?

To make things that you wear is a really tangible way to be and feel value in your creative work. As an artist, I would rather make something that is creative and useful rather than not really touchable. The fact that you can engage with my work, touch it, and wear it everyday is really important.

The other thing I love about what I do is the symbolic nature of the materials I work with. The fact that the stones and metals come from the earth and then are made into something that’s reflective of humanity is something that is incredibly interesting to me as an artist.

The Capone Ring, made with 14k gold and blue sapphire - part of the Decoman collection

The Capone Ring, made with 14k gold and blue sapphire - part of the Decoman collection

How do your pieces reflect humanity?

Well let’s look at it from a historical perspective - 100 years ago women were wearing corsets and this was a tiny reflection of the incredibly structured society at the time. From this our fashion has continued to parallel and mimic our society over time. Not only that, it has continued to symbolise our personal and family values. Whether it is something that is passed down through generations or seen as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Today, jewellery is much more affordable to the average person so its now even more reflective of social norms and the world in which we live.

With all that in mind, no one company has used jewellery to reflect something positive. I mean, Tiffany’s talk about how their rings represent love and foreverness but that’s what jewellery has always really represented. It’s nothing new. No one has created pieces that represent a progressive ideal. No one has created jewellery that says “look at the way our society is changing for the better.” Jewellery should represent that now so that it can be something great and we can make a new part of history where the rings do represent love and everything it always has but it also loops the wearer into something more relevant and modern.

Have any brands had an influence on your own organisation?

Toms is a really nice example for us. But honestly, there isn’t really anyone within our category that is doing what we’re doing.

We want to represent something more than just a luxury brand. We want to inject a more purposeful narrative into our brand in a way that other luxury brands have not done. If you look at most other luxury brands that are making rings for marriage or engagement its all about either the very cool David Yurman thing or the super luxury Cartier thing or the glitzy Tiffany’s thing, but there is no real meaning beyond that.

The reason why I’ve started this brand is because I don’t see anyone doing what I am doing within the luxury jewellery market.

You’ve just released a brand new collection of men’s rings. Why did you decide to do this?

Well, I was working in a luxury jewellery store and a woman came in and I was talking to her about her ring and then she motioned for her husband to come over and she was like “honey, show her your engagement ring” and he proudly showed me his ring and I was like “holy fuck that’s so cool, I’ve never seen that before” and she told me that she gave the ring back to him when he proposed because she didn’t want to be the only one wearing an engagement ring.  That was like the coolest feminist thing I’ve ever heard and so that day I called my business partner and told her this story and that we’re starting a men’s engagement ring brand that then morphed into wedding and fashion rings.

The whole idea of having men’s engagement rings that men could give to their boyfriends, women to their husbands, etc. seemed really empowering. We wanted to break down the idea that engagement rings are just for women.

And it works really well. We’ve had couples come to us and they’ve kind of co-created their rings together which is a much more equal way of doing things. It really signifies a partnership.

Doesn't that almost diminish the tradition of one of the partners surprising the other with an engagement ring?

Yes, but honestly not as much as you might think. In my experience it’s been around 50/50. Half of the time, one partner will have two engagement rings made and then surprise their partner, and the other half of the time both partners will come in and choose their rings. So the traditional surprise aspect of the engagement is still relevant and important, but perhaps not as much as we may think.

The Frank Ring, made with 14k silver - part of the Everyman collection

The Frank Ring, made with 14k silver - part of the Everyman collection

What styles have influenced your collection?

I am mostly inspired by heirloom objects that I see in my travels and everyday. For example, I’ve spent the last three months stopping people throughout Europe and New York and asking them about their rings. It was usually older men and they would tell me all these stories about their family rings which were mostly from the 1920s or the Victorian era. My collection is then based on this art-deco style era, but obviously they’re well made for modern life.  They all aim to have this heirloom-style narrative or authenticity.

How have you gone about creating a narrative for your collection?

We first started by Instagramming the rings that we found people wearing and telling the story of the ring. Our collections are then very small - only five pieces because we want the rings to have purpose and meaning. We spend time carefully matching stones and metals or thinking about the design in order to create a story behind each ring that speaks of both our purpose as a brand and the cultural relevance of the various parts of the ring itself.  All the rings have intention.

For men especially, we recognise that masculinity materialises itself on so many different levels and that men have either different or reluctant approaches to jewellery and rings in particular. This means by having smaller collections we can easily create pieces that are reflective of many different types of men.

How have you designed this first collection?

For this collection, we’ve primarily worked with grey diamonds (black diamonds, sapphires, turquoise, and jade also feature). We think the grey diamond is gorgeous and has this rustic beauty that we love. Our styles are also super comfortable, they’re quite low-profile, they don’t come up high off your finger, and the metals like platinum are very durable. Yes, that can mean they’re a bit more expensive but it also mean’s you can wear it everyday and it stay in perfect condition and not have to have any repairs.  This is great for men who are active, who like subtle designs, and who don’t want to worry too much about what’s on their finger, but who also want a piece that can communicate something about them or what they personally believe in.

Engagement Rings and Breaking Down Gender in Fashion

Engagement Rings and Breaking Down Gender in Fashion



Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Now Serving Steak & Eggs

It’s telling that the story still goes dogs: man’s best friend, diamonds: girl’s. Don’t roll your eyes, I know the parallel is fraught. It’s the same story that decides what color your room is as an infant and whether you get Power Rangers or Pretty, Pretty Princess at your awesome gender-specific birthday party. The point is, we now live in a world where Harry has already met Sally and it turns out, male-female friendship, shared interests, equality — it’s all possible. So maybe diamonds can be a man’s best friend.

The jewelry industry has always been a bit primeval. It’s an industry dedicated to the seduction of women through strategic marketing to men. If a man loves you, he’ll give you a diamond. If he gives you a diamond, you should probably sleep with him. It’s the civilized answer to hitting a female over the head with a club and dragging her into a cave. And while getting a diamond is preferable to a concussion, the idea is the same: relationships are a man’s decision.

So in 2015, it’s time to let the woman do some of the heavy lifting, some of the clubbing and dragging.

Or we can put away our weapons and simply ask for mutual commitment.

The gesture of a woman giving a man an engagement ring may seem small and unremarkable. But it’s a politically-charged action of empowerment, a means of returning agency to a woman and reminding a man that he too has a support system now. We live in a world where men not only can but shouldexpect equal contribution to a relationship. We also live in a world where men can marry other men. They should be welcomed into the marriage tradition with a choice to display their love and commitment through the same age-old physical totems we all use. And we can’t ask them to wear the dainty bling we give to women. First, they are men and deserve fashion tailored to their own tastes. Second, they just won’t fit. Aesthetic argument: check. Utilitarian argument: double check.

Whether the marriage is between a man and a woman or two men, the onus of the relationship — money, decision-making and all — should fall squarely on four shoulders.

It’s the 21st century. Women can “lean in” and the house they live in? They bought it. So a redefinition of marriage and relationships is just a necessary evolution to accommodate not a different kind of woman, but the only kind of woman. Not a different kind of relationship, but the only kind of relationship. And while traditional gender roles will always be the prerogative of some, it will be one lifestyle choice among many.

BERLINGER RINGS is the first company creating engagement, wedding, and fashion rings exclusively for men. We’re changing the narrative in luxury fashion to promote equality — one ring at a time. Click here to check us out.