By Ashley Bailey
Jewelry loupes are small magnifiers that allow you to see diamonds just like a professional jeweler. These loupes come in various magnification levels, but the 10X loupe (which magnifies the object ten times) is the one used by diamond experts for official diamond grading. More powerful loupes may intrigue you with the possibility of discovering every possible detail, but such tiny characteristics would rarely (if ever) be visible to the naked eye.
Triplet loupes contain three lenses and are often considered to be of better quality than those loupes that contain only one. These single lens loupes often distort the objects that are being magnified and have been known to add extra flashes of color that cannot directly be attributed to the stone. These extra flashes can be especially deceiving when trying to determine the quality of a diamond. The three lenses in a triplet loupe are arranged in such a way that distortions and additional flashes are eliminated.
When holding a loupe, many professionals recommend a technique that places your index finger through the "loop" produced by the lens case once the loupe is opened. Then, resting your hand on your cheek, bring the stone towards (or away from) the loupe to focus. This technique maximizes the stability of your grip and allows you to concentrate more on the details of your stone.
Once you have established a stable grip and have focused your stone accordingly, begin your search for characteristics in a systematic fashion. Look closely for cracks, chips, or inclusions that might affect the value of your stone. Additionally, pay close attention to the overall workmanship of the jewelry it is mounted in to ensure your overall satisfaction of the piece. Feel free to ask questions; Whiteflash is always happy to assist you.
These tips are a great place to start learning more about diamonds and gemstones in general. Practice slow, methodical investigation and you'll soon be grading stones like an expert!