A lorgnette is a pair of spectacles with a handle, used to hold them in place rather than fitting over the ears or nose. The word lorgnette is derived from the French lorgner, meaning to take a sidelong look at Middle French, from lorgne, which means squinting.
Lorgnettes are round shaped spectacles with one hand handle, unlike the normal two hand glasses. To use a lorgnette, you have to hold the one hand and look through the frames to see properly over a book or laptop.
What are lorgnette glasses?
- It was usually used as a piece of jewellery rather than to enhance vision. However, fashionable ladies usually preferred them to spectacles.
- They were very popular at masquerade parties and often used at the opera.
- It was worn popularly in the 19th century.
- The lorgnette was employed as a prop and affectation by early 20th-century trial lawyer Earl Rogers. However, it featured on the front cover dust jacket of his biography.
- They can typically be identified as a pair of spectacles on the end of a handle.
- The handles of a lorgnette may vary in length or may be incorporated in various decorative or functional ways.
- Lorgnettes were made from various materials, including tortoiseshell, horn, silver, gold, enamel, and various jewels.
- Many lorgnettes had handles. This also served as a protective case for the lenses to fold into, making it easier to carry around.
- The fan lorgnette and the double lorgnette are examples of variations of the lorgnette.
- A fan lorgnette is an accessory where the lorgnette is hidden in the fan and inconspicuously observe others. However, an unusual variant of the fan lorgnette is the French/Spanish “Flirtation Fan” or “Even tail Cocarde”. Also, it has unique mirrors, opening and closing methods.
- A double lorgnette (also known as dual-purpose lorgnette) consists of two pairs of spectacle lenses with different power. However, there is one for far-sighted vision and one for near-sighted vision.
- These glasses are antique frames. Although, designed to be held in front of the face with a handle instead of fitting around the ears or nose like prince Nez.
- Lorgnette glasses date to the 1700’s they were more popularly used during the 1800s.
- Lorgnette Glasses were often used to help see while in the opera or otherwise as a fashionable accessory.