Diamond Loupe

The object pictured is my paternal grandfather’s jeweler’s loupe which he used to examine the diamonds that he cut. Diamond cutting required precision and was a skilled trade within the diamond industry. He would be given diamonds to cut on commission from traders and his work was expected to be of the highest quality. In this work, the loupe was essential for examining and planning each fine cut. Symbolically, though, the loupe is larger than its function as a trade tool. It shows my grandfather’s efforts to provide a better life for his family. A Jewish immigrant from Poland to the United States in the 1930’s my grandfather was fortunate to learn the skilled trade of diamond cutting. This work, along with my grandmother’s own modest job as a clerk at S. Klein’s on the Square, was able to propel both of their children to college. My father was able to attend CCNY and later to become a lawyer. After my grandfather passed away, my father kept his loupe. Today, he carries the loupe in an interior pocket of his briefcase.His briefcase comes with him all over and the loupe sits nestled inside amongst files and notepads. He says that he keeps it there to keep his father’s memory with him. Sitting in the briefcase of an accomplished lawyer, the humble loupe also shows the story of familial mobility within the United States. It is not juxtaposed with the professional trappings of my father’s work but instead fits in with them because it is connected by one family story of mobility within the Jewish experience of mid-century New York City. 

Place(s): New York City

– Rosie Fatt

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant