Herkimer Diamonds are not actual made of Diamond at all. They are beautifully formed double terminated pieces of Quartz that closely resemble the shape of a Diamond. The name Herkimer Diamonds comes from the fact that these stones where originally discovered in and around Herkimer county, New York, USA.
Herkimer Diamonds are very popular with mineral collectors because of the shape of double terminated quartz crystal. Usually Quartz only has a single termination (ths is the pointy end) but Herkimer Diamonds have a termination at end. This makes them very unique and relatively rare.
During the excavation of the Mohawk River Valley in the 18th century, large deposits of Herkimer Diamonds were found. The rush of mining that occurred after the discovery was akin to the Diamond rush and that is why these quartz crystals are referred to as Herkimer Diamonds.
It is believed that Herkimer Diamonds formed very slowly over time which has lead to them being extremely clear and free from inclusions. The host rock, known as dolostone is very rigid and protected the Herkimer Diamonds from any movement or mechanical force while they grew. Most Herkmer Diamonds are found in pockets that also contain druzy crystals. The picture below outlines this beautifully.
InterestinglyHerkimer Diamonds are actually harder than normal quartz. Herkimer Diamonds sit at 7.5 on the MOHS scale while Quartz sits at 7. This could be attributed to the perfect crystal structure formed by slowly growing over many years. Herkimer Diamonds are considered the most optically clear quartz specimens in the world.
The color of Herkimer Diamonds is generally colorless, although some Herkimer Diamonds are available in different hues.
Herkimer Diamonds have beenmined in New York, Germany, Canada, China, and England.
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