Probably my last trip to the mines this season. Not a great haul today but we did ok. I left with a backpack full of rocks to be cut down and shaped. Maybe I’ll take a day off and get one more trip in. I have a large pile of dolostone rocks with crystals to trim in the back yard.
What Is a Herkimer Diamond?
A unique name for a beautiful stone… exactly what is a Herkimer diamond, you may be
A Herkimer diamond is actually a type of quartz crystal. It’s known for its clarity and its
special feature of reaching a point at both ends, also known as being “doubly
terminated.” This happens because the crystal grows away from the rock where it
Crystals are a fascinating natural creation, and the Herkimer diamond is considered a
How did the Herkimer diamond get its name?
Centuries ago, workers in the area of Herkimer County, New York found a large amount
of the crystals. Because they are clear, usually colorless, and have facets, much like
traditional diamonds, they earned the name “Herkimer diamond.” The misnomer stuck
and is still used today.
The crystals were found in the area even earlier by native Americans, who prized the
stones, but they were not widely known as Herkimer diamonds until the 18th century.
Today, the Herkimer diamond is proudly considered part of the area’s history and
embraced by locals.
Herkimer diamonds may also be called Middleville diamonds or Little Falls diamonds for
areas in Herkimer County where they were found.
Where do Herkimer diamonds come from?
Though similar crystals can be found elsewhere in the world, only those originating in
Herkimer County, New York can be called Herkimer diamonds.
Herkimer diamonds form in cavities inside of dolostone, which is a rock similar to
limestone. The deposits of dolostone in New York are hundreds of millions of years old.
The cavities inside dolostone where Herkimer diamonds grow were believed to be
created by acidic water flowing through the rock. Over time as earth covered the
dolostone and temperatures increased, the quartz crystals formed. (Learn more about
how crystals grow.)
Today, there are a few commercial mines in Herkimer County where you can search for
Herkimer diamonds. They can also be found in natural areas, though make sure you
have permission to prospect from the landowner.
It is certainly a thrill to come upon one or more of these sparkly specimens!
What is a Herkimer diamond known for?
Herkimer diamonds are known for their unique physical properties:
– pointed at both ends
– Composed of silicon dioxide (quartz)
– Colorless to smoky
– Made of hexagonal crystals
– Common inclusions (small areas of concentrated material trapped inside the
crystal) include saltwater, petroleum, and carbon dioxide
– Rated a 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale—harder than steel, glass, and regular
In addition to their beauty, Herkimer diamonds are prized for their metaphysical
properties. Known for being the most powerful of the quartz crystals, their pure light can
be used to:
– Amplify spiritual energy in meditation
– Clear the chakras
– Promote healing, pain relief, and immune defense
– Release tension
– Link people together who are physically apart (attunement)
– Encourage achievement
– Stabilize finances
What is a Herkimer diamond worth?
Considering their clarity and resemblance on the surface to carbon-based diamonds,
Herkimer diamonds are incredibly affordable. Herkimer diamonds are prized by healers
and geology enthusiasts.
They look great in jewelry or in raw form in yoga or meditation studios.
Though not as rare or hard as real diamonds, a Herkimer diamond is an impressive
natural specimen nonetheless. Many smaller Herkimer diamonds cost no more than a
meal out, whereas similarly sized real diamonds would cost thousands of dollars.
Consider the Herkimer diamond a powerful and stunning crystal that is accessible to the
everyday man. Try adding one to your collection or home and find enjoyment in its
beauty and light.