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What are Lorgnette glasses?

lorgnette glasses

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, silvergold, 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.

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