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The jewelry industry is filled with business jargon and having even the basic knowledge would make a big difference. If you’re new in the industry, we’re here to introduce you to every gemologist’s best friend — the jeweler’s loupe! Are you a seasoned jeweler? Don’t worry. Stick with us and enjoy this quick jewelry tool refresher. Let’s get started!
What is a jeweler’s loupe?
A jeweler’s loupe is one of the most common tools used by every jeweler. It’s a monocular handheld magnifying lens used to inspect gemstones with greater clarity. With the loupe’s magnified view, jewelers can see tiny details such as hallmarks, blemishes, cracks, inclusions, and more. It also helps them and the customers inspect whether the stones are adequately set or secured by a bezel or prongs.
When shopping for loupes, you might encounter different terms that could be tricky, especially if you’re new in the industry. Let’s take a look at them.
A triplet loupe has three (3) lenses. It reduces the distortion around the edges and ensures great color correction; thereby, providing you with a more accurate view of your gem.
A doublet contains two lenses. It also magnifies and provides a clear view of your gem but not as superior as the triplet. Be wary when shopping for loupes as there are doublets labeled as triplets. You can tell the difference between the two by the amount of distortion around the edges and chromatic aberration. As we mentioned before, triplet reduces the amount of distortion. It also has the best correction of chromatic aberration or color fringes.
Watchmakers typically use a singlet. It’s a single-lens eye loupe useful for examining dials and marks. Since watchmakers don’t assess colors as gemologists do, a singlet works fine for them.
Other Loupe Terminology
Now that you know the differences between different lens types, let’s make you more well-versed with other loupe terminologies. Understanding these terms is critical before you purchase as these factors can significantly impact the quality of your work.
- Focal length
Focal length is the distance between the loupe and the object. The longer the length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification.
- Field of view
The field of view refers to the size of the area visible through the lens. Take note that as magnification increases, the field of view decreases.
- Depth of field
The depth of field refers to the distance between the closest and furthest points at which a magnifier in a fixed position stays in focus. In this case, the depth of field decreases as power increases.
- Magnification power
Loupes come in different types with different numbers signifying its magnification power. For instance, a loupe with 3X magnification power makes the object appear thrice its actual size. A 10X loupe is the Gemological Institute of America‘s standard for grading diamonds.
Jewelry Industry Standard: The 10X Triplet Loupe
A 10X triplet loupe is the standard and the most preferred loupe for gem evaluation and is used by gem grading labs. It allows you to detect even the minutest details and eliminates color fringing and distortion at the edges. When buying a loupe, opt for a color that doesn’t add more reflection on the object.
Due to its functionality and performance quality, you’ll find that a 10X triplet loupe is more expensive than others. If you’re still a gemologist student, you’ll find that a less expensive model can also give you as much information but don’t disregard the benefits of investing in the best quality jewelry tool.
Now that you’re oriented to the most common tool in the industry, stay tuned to this page because next time, we’ll discuss how to use a 10X loupe. This one requires consistent practice but you’ll be a pro in no time!