When one thinks of a magnifying glass, they tend to think of the big Sherlock Holmes type lens. However, in actual use, you want a lightweight, and powerful magnifier that has impeccable optics and is simple to use. Utilizing the best magnifier for demanding jobs like inspecting diamonds and gemstones is essential to their occupation, while hobbyists who collect rocks and minerals just need to buy a decent magnifier that they can afford to lose.
How to Use a Magnifier
Hold the lens up next to your eyes while bringing the object close to it - about a few centimeters from your face. The idea is to focus your attention through the magnifying lens, the same way you look through eyeglasses. If you normally wear glasses, you will need to keep them on. A magnifier won't correct for astigmatism as well.
How Many Times?
The X (times) factor of a magnifying glass refers to how much it magnifies. An average magnifying glass makes objects look 2 or 3 times bigger, which means it magnifies 2X or 3X. Geologists often like to have 5X to 10X magnification; however, anything higher than 10X is difficult to use in the field because the lenses are too small.
5X and 6X Lenses are the most popular choices for an average user as it offers higher magnification without sacrificing the field of vision (diameter of the lens). On the other hand, a 10X magnifier will reduce the field of vision significantly, but it will give you a closer look at tiny rocks, crystals, minerals, microfossils, etc.
Some Flaws to Watch For
1) Always check the lens for scratches
2) Place the magnifying glass on a piece of white paper and see if the lens adds any color of its own. Then pick it up and examine other objects, specifically objects with more colors.
The view through the magnifying lens should be crystal clear with no internal reflections. Highlights should be sharp and brilliant, with no colored fringes. The lens should be achromatic. A flat object should not look buckled or warped. A magnifier should not be loosely put together.
Quality Is Important
Given the same X (times) factor, a larger lens is always better. There are tons of cheap inferior magnifying glasses out there claiming 20X, 30X, and even 45X magnifications, yet they sell for less than $10. These are false claims as any magnifier over 20X magnification will have such a small field of vision that they are no longer considered magnifiers, but rather loupes. Higher quality lenses with high magnifications are also more difficult to produce, consequently they tend to be more expensive.
Buying a brand name magnifier, while not always a guarantee of quality, means you can contact the manufacturer if anything goes wrong. Fancii Optics offer a 100% money back guarantee on all our magnifiers. If you are not satisfied with our product within 60 days of purchase, we will refund you your money back.