Are you ready to find a gem that is more rare then diamonds, exquisitely beautiful just as they right out of the ground?
Then mining for Herkimer diamonds at the various Herkimer mines in Middleville, NY may be the treasure hunting adventure for you.
What Are Herkimer Diamonds?
Herkimer diamonds are actually not diamonds at all, but a rare form of quartz crystal that forms inside the Dolomite limestone that is found in the area. Herkimer diamonds are crystal clear and formed with termination points at each end of the crystal.
Quartz crystals are most often formed when they attach themselves to other rocks, and therefore form with only one true termination point. Herkimer diamonds on the other hand were formed in a suspension inside pockets in the limestone and thus never attached themselves to other stones, so are formed with a termination point at each end.
The Herkimer mines around Herkimer, NY are one of the only places in the world where Herkimer diamonds can be found in abundance. These gems are sometimes found in small deposits in other parts of the world, such as Arizona, Nevada, and Afghanistan, but they considered anomalies, whereas in this area they are the rule.
How Valuable Are Herkimer Diamonds
So now that you know what Herkimer Diamonds are, you may be asking yourself, “How valuable are Herkimer diamonds?”
The best answer is, it really depends. Small crystals can range from a single small crystal being valued at just a dollar or two, up to large multi-piece formations going for several hundred dollars*.
The real value in Herkimer diamonds is in just enjoying finding them. Either by your self just enjoying what nature has to offer, or in seeing the fun and excitement in the faces of your family members on being out on a real treasure hunting vacation. That is were the real value of Herkimer diamonds is.
How To Mine For Herkimer Diamonds
Hunting for Herkimer diamonds is hard rock mining. The crystals form inside of pockets in limestone called “vugs”. Vugs can range in size from a quarter inch across, all the way up to several feet across, and can contain anywhere from one to several hundred Herkimer diamonds in them. To get at the vugs you literally have to break the limestone open.
To find the really big vugs you may have to move several tons of material, but something experience miners know is that the big vugs all formed at about the same level in the stone. So once you find one you may be just feet away from finding your next large vug with hundreds of Herkimer Diamonds in it just waiting for you to find.
The key to moving a lot of material is to look for natural fissures in the stone, and then using a sledgehammer, chisels, wedges, and pry bars expand these cracks until the stone falls away. Keep in mind you’re looking for the large vugs so any small diamonds contained in this stone is of little concern to you.
Please realize that moving large amounts of stone can be dangerous, so although it is wonderful to make amazing discoveries, always keep the safety of yourself and those around you as your number one concern, and never set aside good judgment due to your excitement.
If you’re not up for the full hard rock mining experience, then you can just look through some of the discarded stone on the ground, that others have already removed from the walls. Simply break up the stone and see if any Herkimer diamonds formed in any small vugs inside of it.
Another option is simply to walk around and look under the material in the mine. The soil in this area has Herkimer diamonds in it simply due to erosion, so you might be able to find ones that others have missed laying about on the ground. The best time to do this is after a nice rain, it washes the dust and grime off the stones, and makes them quite easy to find gleaming in the sun.
Can you imagine how amazing it would be to open up a vug several feet across and pull out hundreds of these gleaming crystals? Then you may be up for a little more work then most, but the payoff can be much, much bigger also.
How To Clean Your Herkimer Diamonds
Once you get your Herkimer Diamonds out of the ground the process of cleaning them is quite easy. All you need is a bucket, soap, water, a toothbrush, and some elbow grease, there’s not a lot to it, but it can really enhance the appearance of all those spectacular gems that you found.
List of Herkimer Diamond Mines
To get your own Herkimer diamonds you’ll want to go to one of the great sites below:
Ace of Diamonds Middleville, NY
Herkimer Diamond Mines Herkimer, NY
*Please understand the fact that although some gems are sold at a price like that, the odds are very much against a person not directly in the mining business ever even seeing a gem of that quality. Treasure hunting vacations are not about getting rich, they are not about the treasure you find in the ground, they are about the treasure you find in searching for the beauty that nature has to offer, and the treasure of enjoying time with family and friends. Enjoy your trip for these things and you will have a treasure hunting vacation of a lifetime.
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