Loupes are useful to fountain pen lovers because they allow the user to examine a pen closely. Pen collectors should be wary of imperfections in the surface of their pen and study the nib carefully before making a purchase. One area that requires closer examination is the cap lip. Nibs that have misaligned tines, manufacturing irregularities, are severely scratched or have damaged tipping should be avoided.
The BelOMO 10x loupe is a magnification device manufactured by the Belarussian Optical & Mechanical Association. Founded in 1957, the BelOMA produced cameras and optical devices for the USSR. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the organisation continued to produce optics in Belarus. The organisation claims to have held “the leading position in the optical branch of the USSR”. Today it produces military optics and has seen partnership with the well known German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss.
The BelOMO loupe is Made in Belarus, and comes in a simple cardboard box which contains an instruction manual which bears the date of manufacture and quality control stamp. It does not come with a protective leather casing, but would not require one given the rugged finish. As compared to the Baush & Lomb “Hastings” loupe, the BelOMO has a considerably larger field of view and rugged construction.
The loupe itself is produced with high quality optical glass and treated with an antireflective coating. The 10x Triplet loupe is by far the most popular of the loupes produced by BelOMO because it offers the most comfortable field of view. Applications of a loupe include grading of diamonds and the examination of rocks and minerals.
In order to use the loupe, one simply holds it to the eye and moves the object towards it. Holding the loupe far from the eye and close to the object results in ambient light reflections, which make it hard to inspect the object.
The BelOMO loupe is available for approximately US$36 – US$40 and with a variety of different magnification strengths. It can be purchased from various online retailers on eBay and Amazon. While the loupe may appear expensive, it is a lifetime investment and will come in handy for countless other applications.