An eye doctor once told me that petite women need reading glasses at a younger age than our taller peers. His theory was that our arms simply aren’t as long as taller people’s arms. They can extend their arms out farther, so they manage longer without glasses. It’s as simple as that.
I wasn’t looking at him when he said this, so I have no idea if he was failing at his attempt at a short joke. (He was like that.) I had my own failings to contend with–like failing to extend my arm farther to read the card he had given me, perhaps proving his point.
Serious or not, I have been using (and losing) reading glasses for about 4 years now. I turn 47 next month.
What a wonder, then, to discover a necklace that goes with everything and has a magnifying pendant to make it easier to read menus in dark restaurants! Plus, I can’t lose it because it’s around my neck!
The “Magic Magnifying Loupe” by Osamu Kobayashi is, quite simply, a magnifying glass hanging from a nylon cord. The cord is flexible and can be tied in different ways to shorten it or create a different look. And, because it’s nylon it unties easily as well.
The simplicity of design combined with the functionality of this necklace means that it goes with nearly everything in my wardrobe. Out of all the necklaces I own, this is the one I reach for the most.
And I’m not alone. Mel from Bag and a Beret is the reason I even know the Magic Magnifying Loupe exists. Her husband, Osamu, is the artist behind the necklace. She wears hers in every post on her blog.
When I met up with her, Suzanne, and Sue in Vancouver earlier in the summer she wore it with everything. The one time she forgot it she kept reaching for it and missed having it, especially when she wanted to look at something up close. She said she felt practically naked without it.
Functional Beauty in Miniature
The marriage of style and functionality in the magnifying loupe necklace makes me giddier than a rooster in a hen house. (If, indeed, roosters become giddy in that situation. I can only assume.) But this necklace takes it to the next level of giddiness. We’re talking kid-in-a-candy-store giddy after the kid is high on sugar already having consumed her bodyweight in candy.
It’s a true work of art.
Don’t let the simplicity of the design fool you. Osamu’s necklace is a true work of art. Every piece was created by hand with functional beauty at the core of the artist’s intention. Take a look:
See those little metal pieces that attach to the glass and the nylon cord? And that tiniest of screws that holds it all together? Those bits are high-quality stainless steel. They were hand-turned on a watchmaker’s lathe like the one pictured below. In fact, that is Osamu at work in the photo creating his stainless steel art.
As my daddy used to say,
“Big things come in small packages”
If you’ve ever created something from scratch–be it in the kitchen, the craft room, the artist’s studio, the garden, or wherever you use your hands–you know it can be a challenge to work with something so small that your fingers get in the way. But imagine turning a chunk of hard steel the size of a headphone jack into a screw the size of one that holds your glasses together. And you do this after first creating tools that will allow you to hold onto something so small.
This is Osamu’s work in a nutshell. He is a micro-artist who turns tiny pieces of metal into minuscule works of art.
Osamu thrives in this environment. In an email conversation I had with him he said working on a micro-scale calms him, brings him peace and tranquility. It counterbalances the loud and the large that so dominate the world. The micro has a power that is grander than any larger object out there. He wrote:
“The micro-world is as endless as outer space. When I’m working, an object seems suspended in a serene diffused light. Nothing can disturb it. It’s a calm peaceful place.”
Informed by the heritage passed down to him from swordsmith ancestors as well as the Japanese aesthetic of transcendence and simplicity he grew up in, Osamu’s art finds powerful expression in the minuscule. Add to that his mechanical engineering background and you have an artist that strives, not only for beautiful objects, but for functional beauty.
The Magical Practicality of the Loupe
The magnifying pendant necklace was born out of Osamu’s love of functional beauty. On the one hand, he needed a practical tool that allowed him to look at the small things he works with. On the other hand, the loupe gave him an outlet for his particular brand of creative expression. The end result was a tool that is lightweight, durable, and easy to use, but it is also simply beautiful.
Osamu’s necklaces are available for shipping nearly worldwide through his Etsy store, FineMetalWorkStudio. (He doesn’t ship to China or Russia.) The necklaces are $149US.
Osamu’s art spans the gamut beyond necklaces and microscopic chess sets. His art also includes beautiful rings with suspended rubies. They’re for sale on Etsy as well. Click the photo below to go to his shop.
How refreshing to find a tool that is a work of art made by a real human being–an artist with roots in ancient metalwork.
The Magic Magnifying Loupe combines function with simple, magnificent beauty. It goes with everything in my closet and allows me to see tiny print in dark places. And if that weren’t enough, since it’s wrapped around my neck, there’s less of a chance I’ll misplace it!
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