I Spy With My Little Magic Loupe Necklace

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!

Introducing the
Magic Magnifying Loupe

monocle reading glass magnifying glass loupe
I spy with my little magnifying loupe necklace!

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.

magnifying loupe pendant necklace
I like to tie a knot in the nylon cord at my neck to create a choker that then drapes down the front in a line.

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.

magnifying loupe pendant monocle
A collage from Mel’s blog with some of the many ways she styles her magnifying loupe.

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.

Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi, magnifying loupe necklace pendant monocle
I’m in rad company when I wear my magic loupe. Check out Mel in her high-fashion outfit, complete with magnifying pendant.

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:

magnifying glass pendant necklace monocle loupe
Photo by Osamu and Mel Kobayashi.

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.

watchmaker's lathe creating stainless steel clasps for monocle magnifying necklace
What you can’t see in that photo are the swordsmith and gunsmith ancestors who gave Osamu life and identity and who now live on through his work. Photo by Osamu and Mel Kobayashi.

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.

micro chess set by Osamu Kobayashi.
This piece is entitled “Moment of Silence.” It is a full micro chess set. The chess board is 3.8 mm X 3.8 mm (0.15 in). It’s stainless steel with a hand-engraved grid and micro dots. The white and yellow gold chess pieces have a base of approx. 0.33 mm (0.013 in). Photo from Osamu Kobayashi’s website.

More of Osamu’s art can be seen by clicking here.

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.

magnifying glass pendant loupe necklace

Osamu’s necklaces are available for shipping nearly worldwide through his Etsy store, OSK Micro-art Studio. (He doesn’t ship to China or Russia.) The necklaces are $195US.

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.

FineMetalWorkStudios

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!


Affiliate link disclaimer: Please note, some of the items linked may be affiliated with companies I am associated with. By clicking the affiliated links and purchasing from those stores, I might receive a small commission. By purchasing from these stores, you support the work I do here and I greatly appreciate your support!

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    • Yay! I’m so glad you received the emailed post, Jodie! Thank you for your cheers and support for my work and for Osamu’s! It really is a fabulous piece.

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • Sherry, I am gobsmacked by this post! You have put Osamu’s thoughts so well into your words and images here. He is thrilled. Thank you so very much. I am happy that we can both wear his loupes. They are special, and it’s wonderful that you feel the energy that he puts into his work. Your support of artists everywhere is amazing. What an honour that Osamu could be included among them.

    • I’m so glad you and Osamu both like the post, Mel! I have such deep admiration and respect for both of you.

      Being “louped together” together we know just how magical that loupe is. It is an expression that Osamu created but it’s also an expression we choose to share with the world each time we wear it. It’s sort of bonding in a way and I love that idea. It makes me smile deep to my toes. And we mustn’t forget my father-in-law! He’s going to be louped as well. I will give him his magic magnifying loupe this weekend. Let’s see how long it takes for my mother-in-law to steal it. 🙂

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • You are an exceptionally generous and appreciative person Sherry. Osamu is a uniquely gifted artist and I think you have revealed something of his soul as well as his talent here. When I first started to follow Melanie I checked out the link to her paintings and also the works of her husband Osamu. I was really quite astounded by the works of these two individuals!
    I loved this post and hope to purchase a loupe at some future date.