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Bench Microscope

Hello. I am 63 years old and have been doing general bench work for 32 years. My eyes are not what they once were. If I size or clean a customer’s ring and some of the tiny (.0025) diamonds come out, I have to reset them. For magnification I use an Optivisor #4 and #10 lens. Now, when I use the #10 lens, the ring is so close to my face that I hardly have room to use my gravers. A friend suggested that I get a bench microscope. I see in my Stuller tools book that they are not cheap. $2,000 to $2500. I could spend that amount if this tool is a must. My question is, who out there uses a bench microscope and feels like it is a necessity and who does not feel the need for one, and why? Thank you in advance.
Dale Pavatte
Diamonds For You, Decherd, Tennessee

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a microscope for your jewelry projects? We recommend:

I’m about your age and against my better judgement, my brother talked me into buying a Meiji scope and an Acrobat stand ten or twelve years ago. After an uncomfortable break-in period of about three weeks, I suddenly found I couldn’t live without it. I now own five, one for myself and one for each of my bench employees. Even the youngest at 25 years old uses hers constantly… The increase in productivity and even more importantly, the improvement in the quality of craftsmanship by everyone is remarkable.

Get one, Dale. It’s worth every penny. When you finally get over cursing me out and fighting with the darned thing, you’ll be happy you did.



Hi @dalepavatte,

I just got off the phone with Andy “the Tool Guy” and he said YES! a microscope is definitely worth the investment. It makes life easier all around - easier on the eyes, easier to do pavé and beadwork, and easier to do a number of other setting types. It pays for itself in 3-4 months with the time and energy you save on each job, not to mention the wear on your eyes. And it eliminates the need for other equipment like glasses and optivisors. If you need any more advice or information, you can reach out to our Tools Tech Team at 800-877-7777 ext. 4300.

All the best,
Stuller Marketing


Don’t waste another 'nano-second" more, buy the darn microscope! After the
first setting job, you’ve paid for it!!!
Your good friend…Gerry!

Gerry Lewy
Toronto, Ontario.


Do it.

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I don’t intend to be arguing with Randi or Andy the Tool Guy, but don’t give up your Optivisor just yet. At 63, you’re still going to need it at times. You’re still going to need your glasses too, even if for no other reason than you still have to drive home after work.:sunglasses:

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Hi Dale

You and I are about the same age, actually I’m a little younger but I imagine you’re better looking so it all works out.

If you get one you’ll need some extra stuff. A biggie is drop down plates, one for your bench pin and one for your mini ball (that’s actually a shelf). Oh yeah, you’ll want a GRS mini engraving ball.

The drop down plates are needed because without lowering your work you’d have to raise your chair ridiculously high to get it in focus.

The mini ball is needed because with it you can easily rotate your work and slide the ball into the field of view in the same motion. If you try to use your benchmate you’ll constantly be forced to move your scope whenever you move the work. The shelf provides a nice place to keep your stone tray and burs too.

I’ll attach a couple of pics. Note that I add lightning on either side as well as the led ring light on the scope. That really helps.

Also note that I like a snack. The crackers are Big Wheat Thins. I like the big ones because they’re easier for my old eyes to see. :wink:


Hi Dale

I purchased a good microscope a few years ago from aliexpress. Since purchasing a few of my colleagues have come to have a look and purchased them from the same company as well and we are all very happy with them. the one i have is called a

if you simply copy and past this into the aliexpress search it will come up with the one i have.

I did look carefully at extras like different objective sense replacements and eyepieces as well as a nice cover and light ring all in total including shipping it still came to under $700 use

I did some work with an engraver in Tempe Arizona who has a very class Olympus that must be worth 8 to 9 thousand and can say that the one i purchase is comparable with the one that he has with the exception of the mounting boom. He has an acrobat stand for his. You can get this stand instead of the boom but I’m not sure what the code number is.

there are many of these on the site but the company i dealt with is called Srate optics. I still have all the ordering details and description from the contact that i dealt with for my order. If you email me i am happy to forward this information to you.

I am very happy with mine and will probably purchase a few more bells and whistles for it in the future from the same company. They were very easy to deal with and gave me fast service that was well packaged.



Mark, does the mini engraver’s ball work any differently than a full size engraver’s ball, or is it just a matter of working height? Specifically, if you want to check the piece you are working on from the side and you rotate the ball, the piece drops out of the small area of view & focus, which would require readjustment of the scope, yes? Any different with a mini ball?

Neil A

Oh yeah, Dale. The microscope is wonderful. My optivisor gathers dust now. Don’t deprive yourself any longer. I actually use a dissecting scope which is not as versatile as a 'scope on a boom, because it sits on a surface. In your shoes, I’d get a 'scope on a boom with attached light. You deserve it!

Judy in Kansas, who is preparing for a show next weekend. Really getting into 3-D pieces and piercing.


Try the brandname AmScope on Ebay and look for a boom stand microscope.
You can have them in a single or double arm version.
It’s not a Zeiss quality but it does the job and I’m quiet happy with the
one I have.
You’re going to love the price range!
Check it out for yourself if this one can help you out.

Best regards


Neil, I think that’s correct. I say, I think, because my full sized one was just collecting dust until I sold it. I like the small one because it’s so easy to switch between it an the bench pin. I went from a benchmate to a mini ball. When moving the benchmate from top view to side view, it rotated out of the scopes field of view. The mini ball you are able to slide back into view without much thought. It’s lightweight and easy to move. If I was using a full sized one I think I’d want a dedicated bench for it. It’s possible that the full sized one can shift enough to stay within the field of view, I’m not sure. It was the ease with which I could move the whole shelf and mini ball that convinced me to use it originally.

@mpandfamily Thanks for the clarification.

Here I thought the large engraver ball was for bulky men’s rings and the mini was for dainty women’s rings.

:wink: Just kidding.

Neil A

At a Bench Jewelers gathering in Buffalo maybe 10 years ago, I sat down at a Mejii, Acrobat set up that Joel McFadden was doing a demo on.

I was stunned at the difference, at how,much more detail I could see.

Immediately after that I purchased my own set up, and I have to say that it is the one tool that improved the quality of my work THE most, although the laser would be a close second. While I might not need the laser, I could not begin to do what I do today without the microscope.

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GRS has a "positioning vise (ball) that has a positionable center of rotation for working under a scope.


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I am turning 60 this year. I have been working through a microscope for 20 years now. I wouldn’t want to work without it. By a meji or another expensive brand. Don’t do the knock off $800 scope. The optics are not as good. I set my engraving block on a piece of wood in my drawer to get it at the right height. This allows me to slide it around easily to re position it under the scope. In my opinion that is easier than the positioning vice. And the wood was free.


Mini engraving ball and high quality tools and benches for setting.

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I bought Juras complete set for the mini ball from Otto Frie and have been very happy with it.

I would first go to a low vision store and see what they suggest. Though they deal primarily with people how have serious vision issues they can also help artists who do close up work.

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I’m 70 and have needed help beyond my eyeglasses and optivisor for many years. I love the magnifying lamp I bought from Dazor ( www dazor com ) many years ago so I could find the holes in crystal beads and do wire wrapping and closing jump rings. Now I use it for metalsmithing as well. I love the long focal length and large sweet spot.

They make heavy duty professional and industrial lighting and magnification and I picked my desk lamp after long discussions with well informed customer service people. Loved the desk lamp so much I bought a floor lamp the following year so I could roll it to various stations. My husband also gaive me a small portable one to take to classes. While not cheap, it may be more versatile than a microscope and less expensive. Call them! 1-800-345-9103

Mary P