Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do You Own a Loupe?

While it may seem silly, it is important to own a jewelers’ loupe. This is a simple device that allows you to see things at 10x, 20x or 30x normal. It’s basically a small magnifying glass. How many times have you needed that? I’m betting a bunch of times. It’s a handy little appliance that can help you see just about anything better, not just gemstones and jewelry. There are many instances where seeing something a little better has helped. You can use it to maybe read the fine print in some contracts.

When purchasing a loupe look for a triplet, this means that there are three lenses that works together to enlarge what you’re looking at without distortion or color distractions. A single lens loupe may distort the object you’re viewing. Most of the time a 10x loupe is perfectly fine for viewing gemstones and diamonds, while a stronger loupe can magnify an object better it doesn’t add any useful information to what you're observing. It’s kind of like viewing those pictures of a germ blown up. It’s cool to look at but doesn’t give you any useful information unless you’re a biologist.

 Swarovski loupes, pretty but impractical

There are plenty of loupes on the market and some come in gold or other colors. There are even loupes with Swarovski crystals embedded all over. These designs are cute but don’t help. Look for a jeweler’s loupe with a black frame since this color will reduce the amount of reflection that can alter the color of the object you’re viewing. Loupes are relatively easy to use. You first have to establish your seeing eye, look through the loupe and then slowly move the object back and/or forth until it comes into focus. You may like to turn the object to get the best view. Have a firm grip on the object; you don’t want it flying across the room if you slip. It probably is best to start with a ring, maybe even on your finger.

It might take some getting used to so play around and experiment with different object. Jewelry, buttons and even your hand are all great things to practice on. The more you use your loupe the better you will get at viewing jewelry. Everyone should have a loupe to view jewelry. They’re inexpensive and helpful in evaluating jewelry, the pieces you want to purchase as well as those already in your collection. You can inspect for chips or other problems in existing jewelry before you lose a stone. Owning a loupe is helpful and can open a new world into your jewelry.

Gold can cause reflection and 30x might be overkill

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