Whether you’re a gemologist or jewelry maker, a microscope is an essential tool. Even though it’s probably one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you’ll buy, it’s well worth it. With the best jeweler’s microscopes, you can identify gemstones, make really small and detailed alterations in your work or take pictures and videos of your appraisals.
However, with so many products on the market today, and the fact that a microscope is a long-term investment, it can be tricky to find what you really need. If you’re going to invest a lot of money in this tool, you need to know exactly how it’s going to serve you.
That’s precisely the reason why we scoured the market and reviewed the best microscopes for any need! Keep reading to find out why these microscopes made the cut and how they can help you take your jewelry-making to the next level.
Also, don’t forget to read our buying guide, where we go through all the things you should consider when shopping for a new microscope!
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Our top choice when buying a microscope on a budget is the Gemoro 1574 Elite 1020M Microscope. This crafty little device delivers unmatched value for a relatively low price. In fact, the Gemoro 1574 is one of the few high-end microscopes within this price range. It’s a perfect choice for students, hobbyists or everyone who’s just starting their jewelry-making business.
One of the best things about this device are the superior Japanese quality optics. With the Gemoro 1574, you are definitely signing up for crisp, clear, distortion-free viewing that doesn’t leave out any detail. You won’t find microscopes specialized for jewelry work with the same quality in the same price range.
The Gemoro 1574 is also portable and easy to use. It’s small and relatively light, with many functions available at the touch of a button. Plus, unlike most of the models within this price range, the Gemoro 1574 has a 360-degree rotating head and a stable gem holder, which makes it a good choice for display.
“for the price, you’re getting an exceptional tool.”
Unlike other budget models, the Gemoro 1574 offers professional brightfield and darkfield illumination with a sliding baffle. This will allow you to look at even the shiniest of jewels without being blinded or distracted by the reflection of light. Plus, this microscope comes with an adjustable iris diaphragm that controls the spread of the lower light source. This means you’ll have even more control over the contrast and brightness.
Finally, the Gemoro 1574 comes with a 5-year mechanical warranty and a 2-year electrical warranty.
One major drawback of this model is the limited working space, which can be problematic for experienced jewelry-makers who need more space for their tools while working.
For most people, the best microscope would be the GemOro 1587 Elite, as you’ll get good quality for an affordable price. The model offers all of the features of microscopes that cost twice the price, like quality optics, large zoom magnification, darkfield, and a gemstone holder. It’s one of those microscopes that can work well for newbies as well as professionals.
One of the best features of the GemOro 1587 Elite model is the patented Rollerball gem clamp for multiple-facet inspection. Unlike conventional stone holders, the gem clamp allows for more advanced examination and sure, precise adjustments.
“All in all, a fantastic microscope that will be a perfect fit for most people.”
This model boasts remarkable brightfield and darkfield illumination thanks to multiple LED sources. One of them is a lightbox on a flexible gooseneck arm that you can easily adjust, and even use to twist the light backward, so that you can fit the piece you’re inspecting better. This is also a huge benefit as you can use it as a separate color gradient to reveal even greater details on the piece you’re inspecting.
The head of the microscope rotates 360 degrees and can be elevated 45 degrees, which is especially beneficial in jewelry stores for client viewing.
Unfortunately, this model might be a little inconvenient for some ambitious professionals. Like our budget pick, since it doesn’t offer large working space, so freedom of movement is limited.
The GemOro 1587 Elite model only comes with a 2-year limited warranty. Compared to our budget choice that comes with a 5-year mechanical warranty and a 2-year electrical warranty, this model falls short.
For professionals to whom budget is not a concern, our top pick is the Leica Microsystems 10450311 A60 F Stereo Microscope thanks to its durable, sturdy build, eagle-eyed precision, perfect illumination, and a flexible arm that allows amazing freedom of movement. It’s definitely the best microscope for professionals working long hours on diverse pieces of jewelry.
“Once again, we can see why Leica is on top in their field.”
One of the things that sets this Leica model apart from other jewelry microscopes is its flexible arm. It provides the ultimate freedom of movement while you work! Plus, you can reduce muscle and eye strain from long working hours by manipulating the positioning without sacrificing precision.
The Leica 10450311 A60 F microscope provides an amazing working distance of 122 mm. Large working distance is important for jewelry makers because it allows us to handle tools and jewels with ease, without the microscope getting in the way.
Compared to conventional models, this microscope offers 100% greater depth of field with its powerful Leica Fusion Optics technology. The technology will save you a lot of refocusing time and allow you to inspect with impressive precision, even for the tiniest pieces. Once again, we can see why Leica is on top of their field.
“While it’s the best microscope on our list, the Leica Microsystems 10450311 A60 F Stereo Microscope is also the priciest.”
While it’s the best microscope on our list, the Leica Microsystems 10450311 A60 F Stereo Microscope is also the priciest, making it unaffordable for some people.
Additionally, the microscope doesn’t have a stone holder included.
The Leica Microsystems 10450311 A60 F offers extended warranty packages of 3 or 5 years that you can purchase separately. Although it’s a great warranty, you’ll need to dip into your savings further for it.
If you’re a beginner and have a tight budget, we recommend the Gemoro 1574 as a great starting microscope that you can work and train on. It comes at an affordable price but still manages to deliver more-than-decent quality and a crisp, clear image.
Plus, it’s portable and easy to handle, with handy features for showing stones. If you’re a student, just starting a jewelry-making business or if you own a jewelry store, this model is a great option for you.
“Our top choice for most people is the GemOro 1587 Elite.”
Our top choice for most people is the GemOro 1587 Elite. You’ll get a super-sturdy and pro-level design, great optics, and a supreme lighting system that lets you inspect from every side without being blinded or distracted by reflecting light. You might have to sacrifice a little freedom of movement with the working space this microscope allows, but if you want a professional jeweler’s microscope for a good price, the GemOro 1587 Elite is the right choice.
Finally, our all-time favorite model is the Leica 10450311 A60 F Stereo Microscope because it’s built from the highest quality materials and has a stable but extremely flexible armstand. The superior armstand prevents muscle and eye strain and allows an incredibly large working field for a lot of freedom. Plus, with the powerful Leica Fusion Optics technology, you’ll get unmatched depth of field and precision. This model is the smart choice for experienced professionals.
How To Choose The Best Jeweler’s Microscope
If you’re still undecided on which microscope is the best fit for your unique needs and preferences, then this buying guide is for you. Here we’ll address the most important factors you need to keep in mind when looking for the best microscope.
One of the first things you need to think about is how much you can spend on your microscope. If you’re unsure how much you should spend, think about your commitment to this craft, as well as your goals and aspirations.
“If you’re unsure how much you should spend, think about your commitment to this craft…”
For example, if you’re a student, you probably don’t need to invest a lot of money, as your working environment and needs can quickly change. On the other hand, if you’re a professional with a growing business, you might want to get a more professional tool that will last you many years.
“we strongly believe that even a budget buy has to come from a reputable brand.”
We chose to review more high-end models since we strongly believe that even a budget buy has to come from a reputable brand. A jeweler’s microscope is a long-term investment and should last you years. Plus, the cheaper models available out there won’t be enough to satisfy the needs of a jewelry-maker. Although you can find models starting from $20, you can expect a good microscope for a jewelry-maker to be within the $300 to over $2,000 price range.
Make sure the microscope you choose has a large working space. As a jewelry maker, you’ll need to be able to move freely and manipulate jewels and workpieces under the eye of the microscope. Not only do you need space for the jewels, but also the tools.
Some models come with a strong base but without a stand, allowing for more space. Others come with a built-in stand that limits the space but provides stable support for a closer examination of the jewels – most beneficial for gemologists and for use in jewelry stores. These are usually removable for work.
As a jeweler, there are a few specific features you want your microscope to have:
Magnification range of at least 10x, but higher is also beneficial, as you’ll work with stones with different dimensions.
Another crucial feature for jewelers is a darkfield. Viewing gems on a brightfield might be blinding and distracting which is why the main goal of the darkfield is to prevent brightness from bouncing back at you. This is the reason why we chose to only review products that feature a darkfield.
“…the main goal of the darkfield is to prevent brightness from bouncing back at you.”
A stone holder is important because it secures the gemstone in the desired position for closer and more detailed examination. The stone holder makes the microscope a lot more convenient. Both Gemoro 1574 Elite 1030PM and GemOro 1587 Elite 1067Zx Plus come with a stone holder. However, if you get a model without a stone holder, you can later buy a stone holder separately for around $20 to $50.
“The stone holder makes the microscope a lot more convenient.”
A built-in camera or a trinocular tube for adding a camera is a bonus because it will allow you to live-stream, film, and take pictures of your jewels without disturbing your work.
We hope our reviews and buying guide for the best jeweler’s microscopes of 2020 will help you make an informed shopping decision.
If you want to get more information about the prices, in-depth specifications, and customer reviews of each of our recommendations, follow the title links.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that you can find even more great jewelry-making tools among the many resources we offer at Ganoksin. If you have any questions, comments, or any other feedback for us, don’t hesitate to reach out to us through our contact page.