Herkimer diamonds are beautiful quartz crystals found around Herkimer, New York. The crystals are stunning works of nature that have a diamond-like geometrical shape hence the name “Herkimer diamonds”. While not actually diamonds, they are lovely gems that make for unique jewelry.
What is a Herkimer Diamond?
Herkimer diamonds are a unique type of quartz crystal discovered within exposed outcrops of dolostone around Herkimer County, New York and the Mohawk River Valley. Herkimers are doubly terminated crystals, meaning they are pointed on both ends. Since quartz typically has only one termination, Herkimers are a distinctive exception. Their uncommon shape is a result of the crystals growing with very little or no contact with their host rock.
The bedrock in which these special quartz crystals are found began forming approximately half a billion years ago during the formation of the rock strata Dolostone. While still beneath the sea, water seeped through creating “vugs” which are a cavity or large pore in a rock that is commonly lined with mineral precipitates. Herkimers are sourced above ground by cutting open rocks and searching for them in these open cavities.
Because the first discovery sites were around Herkimer including Middleville and Little Falls, the crystal is also known as a Middleville or Little Falls diamond. They became largely recognized after workmen discovered them in large quantities while cutting into the Mohawk River Valley dolostone in the late 18th century. Although these double-pointed quartz crystals have also been found in abundance in Tibet and Afghanistan, as well as in other countries only crystals found in and around Herkimer received that name.
Are Herkimer Diamonds Good for Engagement Rings?
The “diamond” in a Herkimer’s name is due to both their clarity and natural faceting as these crystals possess double termination points and 18 total faces (six on each point and six around the center). Herkimer crystals are often used in jewelry because their natural “facets” are both beautiful and interesting. These characteristics result in a natural sparkle that can only be obtained in faceted diamonds through time-consuming work. Because they are uncut, untreated and left with their natural faceting, no two are exactly the same.
Actual diamonds are found in a rough form that requires cutting to get smooth faces and a desired geometrical shape. Herkimer diamonds are beautiful as soon as you take them out of the rock or clay deposits. While actual diamonds are found and mined miles below the earth’s surface, Herkimers are sourced above the ground, making them one of the “greenest” gemstones. Herkimers also cost significantly less than diamonds.
With a value of 7 on Mohs scale, Herkimer, like all quartz, is hard enough for daily wear, but may be prone to scratches, so you may want to consider a more protective setting if you choose this stone for an engagement or wedding ring. These stones are typically transparent and pack some serious sparkle. A Herkimer is perfect for those that find beauty in a raw, earthy and organic look and enjoy the uniqueness that each stone possesses.