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What on Earth Is Herkimer Diamond?

What on Earth Is Herkimer Diamond?

The silicon mineral quartz is one of the most abundant minerals in the world. You can find them as crystal formations in igneous rocks or environments with geothermal waters. Quartz comes in many varieties, shapes, colours, and sizes.

But there is one rare type of quartz which is the apple of the eye of many gem collectors and aficionados. It is called the Herkimer diamond. This crystal may carry the name (and somehow, the appearance) of the world's most popular gem but Herkimer diamond is every inch a quartz mineral.

Let's talk about Herkimer diamonds a little more in detail in this article.

The Physical Properties of Herkimer Diamond

The most salient characteristic of a Herkimer diamond is its double terminations. And being a type of quartz, it shares the same set of physical properties with other quartz varieties.

Herkimer diamonds are often transparent and have a colourless to smoky colour. They also occur in clustered or intertwined crystal growths, often as tiny crystals (1 long) attached to larger crystals.

They are usually included with various minerals, the most common of them are hydrocarbon minerals. The presence of these minerals produces microscopic to visible particles in the crystal.

An abundance of hydrocarbon minerals can give a Herkimer diamond a rather smoky colour. Liquid inclusions in the form of petroleum and salt water can also be present in the crystal. Some crystals can be included with dolomite, calcite, pyrite, and sphalerite.

Why is it called a diamond? It is because the crystal has naturally formed facets on its terminations. Also because it looks as brilliant and attractive as a diamond when polished. A true diamond is rated 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, while a Herkimer quartz is 7.5.

Herkimer crystals are used to make earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

The History of Herkimer Diamond

These unique quartz crystals were first seen in Herkimer County in New York almost 500 million years ago.

It is said that these crystals were discovered at the bottom of a shallow sea where they solidified inside sedimentary stones called dolostones (dolomite and limestone) together with pyrite and silicon dioxide.

Over time, sediments buried the stones when the temperatures increased.

This resulted in thermal splitting which caused the dissolution of molecules that had been holding the quartz mineral. Then the quartz eventually came out of the solutions slowly and produced the Herkimer diamonds we know today.

Some anecdotes state that Native Americans discovered the crystals in the 15th century in water streams. Fascinated by the crystals' pointed edges, the Mohawk Indians used the Herkimer diamonds as tools and ornaments.

Today's Herkimer supplies are mined in Arizona, Afghanistan, China, and Norway. However, large-scale mining for commercial Herkimer is done only on occasions. It is performed through small-scale mining (i.e., pocket mining using crowbars, heavy chisels, and sledgehammers) as it doesn't require deep excavation.

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The Lore of Herkimer Diamond

There is no information surrounding the folklore of Herkimer diamonds. But the crystal is thought to vibrate if you wear/carry it and the person you are speaking to is dishonest.

The Metaphysical Properties of Herkimer Diamond

Herkimer diamonds are used in healing people and environments. It possesses brilliance, clarity, and frequencies that remove energy blockages. It facilitates physical healing by increasing the capacity of the body to process Light energy.

It is a powerful crystal for removing stress, radioactive energy, and electromagnetic pollution. You can use it to grid your home, bed, or meditation space.

When used in the workplace and other competitive environments, Herkimer crystals usher positive energy, prosperity, and achievements.

They are believed to improve understanding and the storage of knowledge during research and study. The use of Herkimer diamonds in business is also thought to promote wise company spending.


King, H. (n.d.). Herkimer Diamonds. Geology.com. Accessed at https://geology.com/articles/herkimer-diamonds.shtml

Herkimer Diamond Meanings and Uses. (n.d.). Crystalvaults.com. Accessed at https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/herkimer-diamond/

Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Herkimer Diamond Mines. Accessed at https://www.herkimerdiamond.com/frequently-asked-questions/

Lalous, G. (n.d.). Book Review: Collector's Guide to Herkimer Diamonds. Gia.edu. Accessed at https://www.gia.edu/book-review-collectors-guide-herkimer-diamonds

Herkimer Diamond History and Heritage. (2018, March 12). American Geode. Accessed at http://www.americangeode.com/blog/herkimer-diamond-history-heritage/

5 Most Effective Energy Healing Techniques and How They Work. (2019, August 16). Times of India. Accessed at https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/home-remedies/5-most-effective-energy-healing-techniques-and-how-they-work/articleshow/70698807.cms