How to use a jeweler's eye piece

Written by kristin mcfarland
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How to use a jeweler's eye piece
Use a jeweller's eye piece to examine stones for flaws. (bright jewel image by Galyna Andrushko from Fotolia.com)

A jeweller's eyepiece, called a loupe, is a small, hand-held magnifying device used by jewellers, gemologists, artists or anyone who wishes to examine her world a little more closely. Use a jeweller's loupe to examine your own jewellery for damage before taking it to a professional, or use it to study a gemstone's quality before purchasing it. Although you can use a loupe for many tasks, knowing how to hold and use the eye piece will make a vast difference in what you see through it.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Variety of gemstones
  • Tweezers (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Ensure that your surroundings are brightly lit. Make sure the stone receives direct lighting, but prevent glare by ensuring the light does not shine directly onto your eye from the side of or behind the stone. Sunlight or artificial light mimicking sunlight provides the best light for inspecting gemstones.

  2. 2

    Hold the eye piece between your thumb and forefinger. Rest the elbow of the arm holding the loupe against a table to keep it steady. Hold the loupe with whichever hand feels most comfortable to you.

  3. 3

    Hold the loupe about half an inch from whichever eye feels comfortable to you. It's important to hold the loupe close to your eye, because this is how it was designed to be used. Holding it far away from your eye like you would with a magnifying glass will not provide sufficient magnification to show flaws in a gemstone.

  4. 4

    Hold the gemstone in your other hand or, if desired, in a pair of tweezers. Ensure that the stone is well-lit before examining it.

  5. 5

    Look through the eye piece and examine the gemstone by moving the stone, not the eye piece. Rotate the stone to see a variety of angles. Compare the stones you have, so you can learn what various flaws and cracks look like.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a 10x magnification for examining jewellery to ensure that you can see flaws.
  • A single-lens loupe may distort the item you are examining. Look for an eye piece with three lenses to ensure the highest quality viewing.
  • Make sure that your body does not come between your light source and the item you are examining.

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