29 Nov2007


Fishpan alert. Skip this post if you are offended by single-use silver implements. You were forewarned.


I lived and worked in Indonesia for several years in the early 1990’s and continued to visit the country frequently until a few years ago. Based in Jakarta during the week, we (Mrs. MM and I, no kid yet) headed out of the city on weekends, either back home to our permanent residence in Singapore, or fairly frequently, to the enchanting island of Bali. Mrs. MM and I loved our brief stays on the island, and we must have visited nearly two dozen times in all. We had our favorite haunts back then, but really it was more about getting away from a very hectic job and simply relaxing in some over-the-top hotel for a couple of nights at a time. And the Balinese are such wonderful people, so gentle, so spiritual, so accommodating to tourists. On one of our visits, we picked up this gorgeous sterling silver magnifying glass. I am blind as a bat without my eyeglasses, so that seemed like a good enough reason to buy a magnifying glass… but no, what really attracted us to this piece is that it was handcrafted by local artisans, using a traditional method of hammering silver discs. I believe the piece was designed and manufactured in the atelier of John Hardy, a foreigner who set up shop in Bali and who has since become rather famous for his beautiful silver pieces. Several chi-chi shops in the U.S. and Europe now carry his unique designs, but we certainly didn’t know that at the time. I have to admit, I rarely USE this item, it is more of a beautiful white elephant really, just something to enjoy as a visual feast. I also like holding it once in a while, it has a reassuring smoothness to it despite the pattern, and its heft is strangely comforting. A pain in the rear to clean, it has developed a nice patina over the years and while it may be something Mrs MM and i enjoy, some others would certainly raise an eyebrow or two quizzically… Here the magnifying glass is photographed on pages of an Atlas of old maps… it seemed an appropriate setting for a favorite doodad.




  1. Maria Clara says:

    It is a collector’s item now. I like the snake-skin like finish of the silver. Pretty soon I will need two magnifying glasses one on top of the other to read magazines as my eyes are eaten up by the computer and indoor fluorescent lightings. How about using a painter’s brush with a fine soft bristle to clean the groove?

    Nov 29, 2007 | 8:23 am


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  3. alicia says:

    Absolutely Gorgeous! I have always like John Hardy designs,managing to purchase only a few small pieces. I have never been to Bali though and have heard that they don’t have a showroom where you can buy things cheaper than at retail. Have you managed to find the secret showroom? And more importantly. would you be willing to share the information? Ha ha! I just might have to go to Bali now!

    Nov 29, 2007 | 8:34 am

  4. Trish says:

    “fishpan alert” You are too funny! HAHAHAHAHA. But yes, it is purteeeh :)

    Nov 29, 2007 | 8:38 am

  5. Marketman says:

    alicia, we purchased this from a shop at an Aman resort, when they still had (maybe still do) access to the atelier of Mr. Hardy. The prices were very retail… but I note that now it is several times more pricey on internet offerings of similar items. They are becoming collectibles, definitely. Maria Clara, I am thinking maybe an old toothbrush might work?

    Nov 29, 2007 | 9:03 am

  6. shalimar says:

    to clean that piece you need a soft cloth, a soft toothbrush for babies, q tip and toothpick then para kasi mga christofle ;-) great piece MM

    Nov 29, 2007 | 9:36 am

  7. Artisan Chocolatier says:


    MM, I think you got your grandma’s gene for finding such ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL art pieces.

    Nov 29, 2007 | 10:12 am

  8. Fabian M says:

    An activity we like using magnifying glasses for are going thru atlases! It’s fun to read a novel set in France, Africa, etc. and to look up the locations in at atlas.

    Nov 29, 2007 | 10:14 am

  9. pusa says:

    very beautiful magnifying glass! have always been fascinated by one because of an old lady i’ve known have used such to read and sometimes she let me play with her reading tool ;)

    Nov 29, 2007 | 10:25 am

  10. lee says:

    The piece has a nice reptilian texture like a snake curled up on a dew. (drama) but really, that magnifying glass is a keeper.

    I was an ant bully in my younger days, zapping red ants on a sunny day with killer beams from my father’s plastic handled magnifying glass…

    i like that atlas of old maps. The Philippines look short, squat, and missing a few thousand islands, nice…

    Nov 29, 2007 | 10:25 am

  11. Michael says:

    This would come in handy just in case you find yourself trapped in a deserted island with no matches to start a fire for cooking. Good thing you just happen to carry your sterling silver magnifying glass with you :)

    Nov 29, 2007 | 12:00 pm

  12. elaine says:

    That is indeed a lovely magnifying glass. I’ve never appreciated single-use implements(as my mom have a quite a few, also)until I started reading about it in your posts. There’s a special cloth for cleaning silver, white gold and it should be perfect with your piece. It does look good with your atlas of old maps(a real keeper)!

    Nov 29, 2007 | 6:43 pm

  13. sister says:

    John Hardy manufactures in Bali, you can visit his large, architecturally interesting, worker friendly, workshops by appointment. Don’t worry about cleaning in between the “scales” the dark areas often highlight the polished area’s design. The same holds true for chased or repousse silver.

    Nov 29, 2007 | 8:07 pm


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