An eye loupe is a small magnifying device worn over the eye to see small details closely. It is commonly associated with jewelers, but is used by many other professions, from watchmakers to engineers of small electronics, and for appraisal of precious gems, coins or stamps.
In fiction, someone wearing an eye loupe is used as visual shorthand for several things. If it's a one-shot, never-seen-before character, this immediately tag him as some sort of expert coming to appraise whatever valuable artwork or rarity is at hand.
Otherwise, an established character pulling out one is a sign that he's Crazy-Prepared
, or more commonly, greedy
. The Miser Advisor
or The Scrooge
frequently owns one, ready at all times to appraise the value of anything they grab.
An eye loupe can also show up for quick gags and humorous situations, often in a completely unexpected setting (including anachronistic). A common stereotype is for a woman offered an engagement ring to immediately examine it with a loupe. Or the humor might be in establishing something is very, very small and requires the tool to be seen.
Anime & Manga
- In the Ranma ½ manga, Nabiki Tendō wears an eye loupe to appraise the "engagement ring" Ranma's mother tasked Ranma to give to his fiancée. Nabiki deems it of no monetary value, which doesn't change its symbolic value. Turns out, it's not an engagement ring at all, although for once it isn't because Nabiki was deceptive about it.
- Played with in Alice in Wonderland, where the Mad Hatter uses a salt shaker as a loupe to examine the White Rabbit's watch.
- In the Looney Tunes short Goo-Goo Goliath, the drunk Delivery Stork switches of the families of a human baby and a giant baby (because the giant one was too heavy to fly to the top of the beanstalk). At the end, we see the adult giant taking care of the human baby, using an eye loupe to change his diapers.
- In some old Donald Duck cartoons, Daisy Duck would be the one to use the loupe to check jewelry (like an engagement ring from Donald), for instance Donald's Diary (at 4:38 on the video).
- Duckman: In the episode "Pig Amok" Cornfed offers Bernice a diamond ring. Bernice accepts it and immediately checks it with a loupe.
- In Futurama, when the bead the native Martians traded their land for turns out to be a giant diamond, Bender pulls out a loupe to examine it.
- Jeweler's loupes are often an accessory worn by the Steampunk crowd, often attached to goggles. Like the goggles, they do nothing.