Do you know if Herkimer diamonds are rare? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
Of all the precious metals and stones around the world, diamonds are certainly the ones that have captured our collective imagination the most. There are actually a number of different types of diamonds and other stones that look like diamonds, but some are much rarer and more valuable than others.
If you’ve heard of this particular stone before, you might be wondering: are Herkimer diamonds rare?
These stones are not diamonds at all. This article will give you all the facts you might need about Herkimer diamonds and just how rare they truly are.
Table of Contents
What Is A Herkimer Diamond?
To understand this rather unique and specialized stone, we need to know exactly what they are.
Herkimer diamonds are not in fact diamonds of any kind, it is just the name that has been given to this specific type of gemstone due to their appearance. They are, in fact, a special version of quartz that can be found in one unique location.
These particular quartz crystals derive the other part of their name from the area where they can be found, as they all originate from Herkimer County in New York State.
Although these stones are not entirely unique to this area, only crystals that come from this region can actually be called “Herkimer diamonds”, and they are quite a collector’s item.
Similar crystals discovered in the area are also referred to as “Middleville diamonds” or “Little Falls diamonds”.
The more generic name for this type of quartz is “doubly terminated quartz” or “double-terminated quartz”, which is a rare shape of the quartz crystal.
Are Herkimer Diamonds Rare?
The question of rarity with these particular crystals is an interesting one. Due to the very special and particular way that they have formed, crystals of this kind are actually quite uncommon in general, but part of their rarity is also down to the name that they have.
If you want to get your hands on a true “Herkimer diamond”, it has to come from the right place, which does increase their rarity in a slightly artificial way. There are a number of other places where these kinds of crystals can be found, though, which makes them a little less rare overall.
At the mines in Herkimer County, there are a huge number of actual crystals. Unlike true diamonds, some pockets in the rock are known to contain thousands of these special crystals.
They are so abundant that you can even go on prospecting tours of the mines and take home any Herkimer diamonds that you find for yourself.
Where Can Herkimer Diamonds Be Found?
True “Herkimer Diamonds” have to come from the Herkimer Country area, but this is not the only place in the world where such diamonds exist.
Double-terminated quartz has also been found in many countries, including:
The specimens from these areas are almost identical in their physical and chemical properties to actual Herkimer diamonds, but they do not bear the same name, simply due to the fact that they are not from Herkimer County.
How Many Herkimer Diamonds Mines Are There?
There are actually quite a large number of different commercial mines in the Herkimer area that specialize in uncovering these particular crystals, and they can be found all the way along New York State Routes 28 and 29,
Some of the most notable of these mines include:
- Herkimer Diamond Mines
- Ace of Diamonds Mine
- Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground
If you want to discover some of these special crystals with your own two hands, it does not cost too much to go prospecting at these locations – and you can even borrow the tools that you need.
What Is The Difference Between Quartz and Diamond?
To understand the difference between true diamonds and these unique but curiously diamond-like crystals, we need to know what actually sets them apart.
- Quartz: A crystalline mineral composed mainly of silicon dioxide, The molecules align to form a six-sided hexagonal crystal.
- Diamond: A solid form of carbon. Its atoms are arranged into a very specific crystal structure called “diamond cubic”.
From the structure down to the elements that it is made from, quartz and diamond are fundamentally very different things, and Herkimer diamonds are therefore very far removed from what a true diamond actually is.
Quartz is much more common than diamond, and it is much less valuable, although the Herkimer diamonds in particular are quite a rare version of the mineral.
Quartz is, in fact, the most abundant mineral that can be found in the Earth’s crust, and it can be discovered in all kinds of different rocks.
What Are Herkimer Diamonds Worth?
So, does the diamond name translate to the same level of value as you might expect from the world’s most precious stones? Not quite.
Despite their unique and beautiful appearance, Herkimer diamonds are not particularly valuable, and they can be found in many different places for a very reasonable price.
On the Herkimer Diamonds Mines E-store, you can find a variety of different stones for sale that were mined in the area.
|Single Grade B Diamonds||$6|
|Herkimer Diamond Matrix||$80|
|Extra Large Clusters||$2000|
You will also find a lot of different quartz crystals online that claim to be Herkimer diamonds, but it can be hard to know where they have actually been mined.
Similar doubly-terminated quartz crystals can be found all over the world, and other quartz crystals can also be shaped to have the same kind of appearance after they have been collected.
Although they are not expensive to buy, these crystals are very valuable to jewelers and collectors because of their unique shape and high clarity.
Read also >> How Much Is a 1 Carat Uncut Diamond Worth?
How Are Herkimer Diamonds Formed?
What makes Herkimer diamonds so special is down to the way that they are formed.
The crystals themselves usually form within cavities in dolomite rock (called “vugs”) that were formed by water seeping into the pores of the stone. They are particularly unique in shape and clarity because they are barely in contact with the rock itself, which allows them to develop into a naturally “diamond-like” shape.
Herkimer diamond crystals are mostly made up of silicon dioxide, but they can also have very minor inclusions of other elements like air, water, organic plant material, or iron pyrite.
What Do Herkimer Diamonds Look Like?
What makes these particular quartz crystals so sought-after is their appearance. They have incredible clarity and wonderful natural faceting, with 18 different faces.
They appear quite a lot like diamonds that have already been perfectly cut and shaped.
What really sets them apart from most quartz crystals is the fact that they are “doubly terminated”. This means that they have two separate points – one on either side of the crystal itself. A typical Herkimer diamond will have two pointed ends, with six faces on each, and six rectangular faces on its sides.
Most quartz crystals form with one end attached to the rock, so it will only have a single natural point on one end, which is the traditional shape most people will be used to.
The “ideal” Herkimer diamond is around 1 inch long, but it can range greatly in size.
Some are so clear that they can almost appear like glass, and they are actually quite hard as well. While true diamonds are one of the toughest naturally-occurring elements on the planet, scoring a 10 on the hardness scale, Herkimer diamonds score a respectable 7.5.
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So, are Herkimer diamonds rare? In some ways, they are, although they are not actual diamonds.
Herkimer diamonds can only carry the name if they have been mined in the Herkimer County area of New York, and they are a very particular and uncommon shape of quartz crystal.
These crystals form with two separate points, giving them the natural shape that true diamonds are traditionally cut into, and they tend to have very high clarity as well.
While they may not be very expensive to buy, their beauty certainly makes them worth a lot to the right person.
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