My Grandfather's Loupe

A jeweler's loupe is a small magnifying glass, usually ten-power. Some are hand-held, while others fit into the eye socket. My late father Norman gave me the one you see here soon after I returned to the family business as an adult, after college and three more years pursuing another career. That was thirty-nine years ago.

This one, made of steel, is a folding model, to fit into the pocket. It has "MADE IN HOLLAND" stamped on the other side. (Amsterdam was Europe's leading diamond cutting and trading center until World War II, when it became Antwerp.) Dad said this loupe had belonged to his father Samuel, who founded the family business in Oklahoma City in 1904. When Dad gave it to me, it was inside a little leather pouch with a snap, which I think Dad commissioned after he got it from his father. He loved to add his touch to things. I used to call it my grandfather's gun in my father's holster.

When I started my own business in 1991, I carried my grandfather's loupe in my pocket all the time. It was my talisman and linked me to my past. One day, I put it in my safe. Over the years I took it out less and less and finally put it up for good. Once in a while, as I'm looking for something else or just straightening up the shelf, I notice it. I think of my father when I do.

At times I still use other gifts my father gave me — such as tinkering with jewelry designs  — but in my own way, seeing things with my own eyes and knowing how his gifts belong to me in a way no physical possession can. Now, any loupe I pick up might be my grandfather's, it is all in how it is used: the attention, understanding and appreciation, rather than the instrument itself. Every piece I examine echoes with the beauty and meaning its maker gave it and its owner gives it.Then what was old becomes new with each generation's gift to the next.

I try to show the value of jewelry in my work: by creating it in new items; finding it in estate pieces, and conserving it through appraisals. The historic role of gems and jewelry is to preserve wealth, not only financial but also as family and community memory. This has been part of the human story for thousands of years. It is still true today.

To hear the story of each person's jewelry  — the fine mist of hopes and dreams and memories surrounding it — is to come to know and serve you. This is my privilege, jewelry being such an intimate thing, and a joy, because of all the beauty. Please contact me.