I admit this to everyone I meet: I am in LOVE with Herkimer diamonds. These beautiful, water-clear quartz crystals were discovered within exposed outcrops of dolostone in and around Herkimer County, New York, and the Mohawk River Valley. They're called "diamonds" not only because of their clarity, but also because when they are found, they look like someone faceted them. But that's not the case; they are actually naturally "faceted" with double termination points, with 18 total facets (six on each point, six around the center).
These precious crystals were formed during the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago), when large masses of ice, miles thick, moved across New York. These glaciers scraped away much of the earth and rock that was once covering the Herkimer diamond deposits. Then there were rivers, and they also took rock away from over the top of the deposits. All of this had to happen before we would be able to discover the Herkimer diamonds at the surface of the earth.
But before we found them, they had to be "born". How did this happen? We're going to tell you this fascinating story, while you view some incredible specimens of the crystals in jewelry and bead form, from some of our favorite Etsy sites.
After the dolomite limestone — calcium magnesium carbonate — was laid down beneath a shallow sea, and then compressed, it was infiltrated by water at least twice, geologists theorize: once by salt water, which ate cavities into the limestone, and later by silica-rich liquid, possibly from the erosion of the rising Adirondacks to the north and Appalachians to the south. The silica accreted into quartz crystals.
What makes the crystals so special is that quartz doesn’t readily adhere to limestone. Instead of growing out of other quartz, Herkimer diamonds are completely formed at both ends, lying loose in their pockets, waiting to be found.
They sell from a few dollars each to a few thousand for an assembly of giant crystals. New Agers believe in the healing properties of the crystals’ purity; the crystals are also used in some Wiccan ceremonies. Collectors just like to admire them. And jewelers wire-wrap them as pendants.
The first time I ever saw them was in a little boutique in Maui, when I was with Shannon. We both fell in love with a beautiful bracelet (subsequently bought) with small wire-wrapped 'cages' that each held a perfect Herkimer diamond. I wish I could include a picture of that bracelet but sadly, it was eventually lost. The closest I can come is a couple of the images shown here.
If you're looking for good sources for Herkimer diamond jewelry or beads beads, check out the ones we've featured on this post:
And if you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Diamonds and Celebs.
Until Next Time,