What Is a Jewelry Magnifying Loupe?
Jewelry professionals use a magnifier, also called a loupe (pronounced loop), to inspect gemstones and other jewelry. These magnifying loupes have special lenses that allow our eyes to focus on an object at a much closer distance than is normally possible, making the object appear to be larger and revealing tiny details we couldn't see with our normal vision.
Magnifying Loupe Lens Variations
- One: Loupes made with a single lens are generally of poor quality, distorting the object you're magnifying and adding flashes of color that obscure the view.
Three: A triplet loupe is a jewelry magnifier that contains three lenses placed together in a way that corrects distortion and color problems.
Choosing a Magnification Power
Loupes are labeled with a number, followed by the symbol "X," which means "times." For example, a 2X loupe makes an object appear two times its actual size and a 5X loupe shows you a five-fold increase.
Best Loupe for Jewelry
A 10X triplet magnifying loupe is a good choice for viewing jewelry, and is the type of loupe used by professionals to grade diamonds and other gemstones. Anything visible through a more powerful loupe, while interesting, isn't included on a grading report.
Look for a magnifying loupe with black framing around the lens, because black eliminates reflections that can alter the color of the object you are viewing.
Photo of loupe courtesy of National Jewelers Supplies.