Loupes, Loops, and Lupes – How to Use a Jeweler’s Loupe


Loupes, Loops, and Lupes. This Santa Barbara Jeweler thinks one of these is very important. The other two…not so much. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which.

What are Loupes?

A loupe is a small magnifying glass used by jewelers. The glass measures approximately half an inch in diameter, ranges from ten to twenty times magnification, and usually folds in on itself for easy carrying.

Some jewelers will dangle a loupe around their neck like pendant.

Jewelers and Their Loupes

A jeweler without a loupe is like a carpenter without a hammer. If he doesn’t have the basic tools of his trade…you should probably find someone else to design your ring and build your house. He’s definitely not as “professional” as advertised.

If your jeweler doesn’t have a loupe, you’ve grossly miscalculated and you’re talking with the barista in Starbucks next door, or he’s really only pretending to be a jeweler.

It's All About the Details


Shauna Looking at Diamonds for Her Engagement Ring to be. That's How Close That Diamond Has to be to Focus on it Properly

Loupes are important because they allow us to see little things—like rings and diamonds—up close. It takes a loupe to really see if a gemstone is set securely by the bezel or prongs.

Tiny cracks, blemishes, and imperfections come into view with the use of a loupe.

This is particularly true with diamonds. It’s important to always examine diamonds with a loupe.

Among other things, diamonds are graded—and priced!—according to their color and clarity. A loupe is essential in examining these gems.

Most cracks, chips, and inclusions in diamonds can only be seen under magnification.

How do You Properly Use a Loupe?

Correct way to hold a jeweler's loupe

Holding the Jeweler's Loupe Correctly

First, unfold the loupe and slip your index finger—either one will do—into the opposite opening from the glass.

Second, hold the loupe up to your face so the first knuckle on your thumb is firmly pressed against your cheek and the glass is positioned directly over your eye.

Third, with your other hand, move the ring or gemstone to within 1 to ½ inches of the lens.  Keep the hand holding the loupe steady. Don’t move it. I lean my elbow on a table to steady my louple holding hand.

Move the ring or gemstone in or out until it comes into focus, again, usually within 1 to ½ inch of the lens. Move the piece of jewelry around. Look at it from different angles. Take your time.

Looking though a Loupe

This is How Close I Like my Loupe to be

Pay special attention to all the metal settings holding in the gemstones. Look for cracks, wear, and imperfections in the prongs.

Are the metal elements substantial? Does the diamond look secure?

After you’re done with loupe, poke the gemstone gently with a pin and see if the gem moves. Examine all gemstones with a loupe, too. Carefully. Always. Period.  Bottom line: Know how to use a loupe and don’t be shy about asking your jeweler to use his.

Getting Your Own Loupe

loupe for inspection of jewelry

This $15.00 Triplet Loupe from Rio Grande Will Get the Job Done

You can spend $15.00 to $45.00 depending on the lens and other factors. For inspecting your jewelry the $15.00 ones are fine.

I highly  recommend getting your own loupe and doing your own jewelry inspections. I believe you should still have your jewelry inspected by your favorite jeweler as well.


Loops are characterized as round, circular shapes. Lots of mountain roads are known for their hairpin loops. Dancers frequently incorporate loops into their routines.
Kids are especially fond of loopy food: spaghetti, Fruit Loops, and gummy worms. Nature loves a good loop. Straight lines…? Not so much.


Lupes are feminine in nature and usually hail from countries where Spanish is predominantly spoken. Though not directly related to loupes, they often wear items commonly examined by the tool. Some Lupes are more loopy than others—either, physically or personality-wise.

Pronunciation guide: Lupe is a proper noun, thus, always capitalize the first letter. The “u” is long and the “e” is pronounced like the “a” in “date.” The word is divided into two syllables, too, the accent on the first.

I'm thinking you've figured out which one I think is most important. But I do love loopy food too!

Your Personal Jeweler,



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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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12 years ago

Loupes are important because It takes a loupe to really see if a gemstone is set securely.

Tiny imperfections come into view with the use of a loupe. It’s important to always examine diamonds with a loupe.

Your are right a jewler without a loupe is like a photographer without a camera

9 years ago

Where would one buy a jeweler’s loupe for personal use? Also what would you use to clean a sterling silver necklace with gemstones in it? Most liquid jewelry cleaner says “do not use on sterling silver with gemstones”? thank you

J Walter Beil
J Walter Beil
4 years ago

I always see the jewler’s loupe as a single item held up by the eye? How is it done. Mine always falls off. Lol