Treasure Hunting At Herkimer Diamond Mine

What Are Herkimer Diamonds?

Treasure Hunting At Herkimer Diamond MineHerkimer diamonds in Arizona are double terminated quartz crystals. They are located Herkimer County, New York. Herkimer crystals are shaped almost like diamonds, including 18 facets and two points at the end. Although they are not technically diamonds, the remarkable clarity is reminiscent of authentic diamonds. The amazing Herkimer gemstones were formed around five hundred million years ago. Their formation is very slow and takes place in pockets of rock that are frequently found in the New York area. The crystals are found in several different colors, depending mostly on the impurities that were present in the crystal.

The quartz crystals vary in size from microscopic to more than eight inches long and three to four inches wide. In rare cases, even larger sized quartz crystals have been discovered. The highest quality gems tend to be in the one half inch to one inch range. These stones have fantastic clarity, which is why they have been given the nickname diamonds. As the crystals become larger, they tend to become cloudier.

The Herkimer diamonds are naturally faceted. Their hardness rating is 7, compared to diamonds, which have a hardness of 10.

How Are Herkimer Diamonds Formed?

The process that resulted in Herkimer diamonds started millions of years ago, when calcium magnesium carbonate was deposited on the ocean floor. As more sediments were deposited on the ocean floor, the calcium magnesium carbonate and other minerals were compressed into a rock strata, known as Dolostone. Dolostone is similar to limestone. When cracks develop in the Dolostone, letting sea water into the rock, the salty sea water dissolves part of the rock, leaving pockets where the quartz crystals then begin to form. The pockets can contain anywhere from one to thousands of quartz crystals of all sizes. The pockets typically range from a 1/2 inch to six feet in diameter.

You can explore the Herkimer Diamond Mine located in Herkimer County, New York. On your visit, you can purchase an all-day prospecting ticket for about $10. The ticket lets you become a prospector for the day. You can dig through the rubble near the mine area, breaking open rocks looking for Herkimer diamond deposits inside.

To prospect at the Herkimer Diamond Mine, you need prospecting tools. The tools used for prospecting include a two or three pound hammer, a chisel, a crowbar, safety glasses, gloves, a 5 gallon bucket of water. You also need some kind of hoe or rake to move the piles of broken rock around. You can bring your own tools, or get them at the mine. Basic tools are supplied by the mine staff with proper identification.

Herkimer Mine sees as many as 500 visitors a day. The mine is world famous and people come from everywhere to tour and prospect the mine. Looking for Herkimer diamonds is hard but fun work. With some hard work and lucky, you could be the one to find a large pocket of crystals inside the quarry walls. You can also search the rock rubble scattered on the floor near the quarry walls. The rock rubble may yield more of the diamonds without the difficult work of breaking up the rocks. Many prospectors will select rocks and then break them open with hammers, searching for a cavity that may hold crystals.

Visiting the Herkimer Mine should be on your New York tourism list. It provides a very rare opportunity see a mine up close and prospect, with the added bonus of finding your own diamond-like crystals.

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2018-01-08T17:27:48+00:00 May 7th, 2014|Categories: Diamonds|0 Comments

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