How to use a jewelry loupe

Finding Your Dominant Eye

One eye is your dominant eye. Usually, if you are right handed, your right eye is dominant and if you are left handed, your left eye is dominant. But there is a quick test. Point to an object across the room with both eyes open. Close your left eye. Does your finger appear to jump to one side? If the answer is yes, then your left eye is dominant. Try the same test with your right eye closed. If your finger appears to jump to one side, your right eye is dominant.

Holding the Loupe at the Proper Distance

You will hold the loupe to your dominant eye keeping both eyes open. This is very important because you will strain your eye if you don’t keep both eyes open. It’s a little strange at first, but pretty easy to do with some practice.
Next, while holding the loupe, rest your thumb on your cheekbone. The loupe should be about one inch away from your eye at this point.

Bringing the Object into View

Finally, bring the object to the loupe. This is extremely important. Do not bring the loupe down to the object.
Sometimes, you may need a little more light so try to move under a light source or just tilt your head back a bit.

Getting the Best Field of Vision

People make two mistakes when trying to use a loupe. They want to use it like a magnifying glass holding the loupe about the object about a foot away from their eye. While you will see magnification, the “field of vision” is limited. You will see five to six times more surface area when you hold the loupe to your eye.

How to Choose a Loupe

The best loupes are made of three glass lenses stacked on top of each other. They are called triplets. This stacking creates some distortion at the edges, which can be corrected. Make sure the loupe you purchase is fully corrected for both distortion and color. While you don’t have to spend a lot of money, you should expect to pay between $24 and $60 for a good loupe.

It’s not enough that they are advertised as “triplets”. The seller needs to guarantee that they are fully corrected.
Finally, don’t buy plastic lenses. They don’t work well no matter what they say. You may think you are saving a few dollars, but you will end up throwing it away and buying a better one later. If you invest in a good loupe, it will serve you for years.

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