What’s in a name? While it’s easy to mistake Herkimer Diamonds for a diamond based on the name, they are actually quartz crystals. Don’t let that fact disappoint you because they happen to be the rarest double terminated quartz in the world.
The name “Herkimer Diamonds” is an inaccurate name, yet these quartz crystals have been called diamonds for over a hundred years. The name is deeply embedded into the history and novelty of these beautiful gemstones. Still, it’s important to distinguish that when buying Herkimer Diamonds, you are actually buying quartz.
Why the confusion? Herkimer Diamonds are named after diamonds because they have a stunning visual illusion akin to the sparkle of a diamond. But they differ in many ways including size, clarity, shape and color. Herkimer Diamonds have a signature shape and appeal which draws the attention of collectors from all corners of the world.
Whether you’re an avid gemstone collector, jewelry lover or use crystals for healing, here’s everything you need to know about Herkimer Diamonds.
What is A Herkimer Diamond?
Herkimer diamonds are made from quartz crystals that are double terminated. What does that mean? Quartz is generally only single terminated, but double terminated means there are two ends of the gemstone that are naturally faceted to a point.
Gemstones that are double terminated are rare, and Herkimer diamonds are the rarest double terminated gemstone you can find. If you love these beautiful gemstones, it’s wise to buy them now as the availability is decreasing with growing popularity.
Where Are Herkimer Diamonds From?
Herkimer diamonds develop from floating liquid pockets that slowly evaporate over millions of years the earth’s sedimentary host rock. It is this slow process that creates such a clear and visibly flawless stone. The reason Herkimer diamonds are eye-clean and appear to be free of inclusions is because the host rock is very hard and protects the gemstones while they form into beautiful crystals.
Herkimer quartz is rare, however hundreds of years ago in New York’s Mohawk River, a quartz-rush followed the discovery of Herkimer Diamonds. The first people to discover these fascinating crystals were Mohawk Native Americans and early pioneers and settlers in New York. The name “Herkimer” comes from the original location where the gemstone was first discovered, Herkimer County, New York, U.S.A. Now they are also mined from deposits in Canada, England, Germany, Afghanistan, Ukraine and China.
Double terminated quartz is in high demand, which is decreasing the supply of this unique crystal. What makes double terminated quartz so desirable? Let’s examine the key features of Herkimer Diamonds, and why they are beloved treasures to people around the world.
What Do Herkimer Diamonds Look Like?
Herkimer Diamonds are exceptionally clear quartz, though they can vary from clear to smoky. There are even variations available in red, yellow, orange, golden, black and rainbow. Valuable Herkimer Diamonds are eye-clean, with minimal visible inclusions. However, they actually have many inclusions from internal particles of hydrocarbon. These microscopic inclusions are only visible in large quantities, transforming the gemstone from colorless to smoky.
What makes Herkimer Diamonds so exceptional is their unique shape. Double terminated quartz crystals are pointed on each end with a hexagonal shape; they look like a geometric football.
The slow process by which Herkimer Diamonds are formed–over 200-500 million years–creates an extremely hard and durable gemstone. In fact, they are harder than traditional quartz, ranking 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
The availability of Herkimer Diamonds is rapidly dwindling. As a result, it’s rare to find one available larger than 3-4 inches in length.
Herkimer Diamond Meaning and Uses
Early settlers and Native Americans first discovered Herkimer Diamonds in streams and fields and held them in high regard. These treasured stones became amulets, tools, and trading currency, and are now popularly used as both healing crystals and jewelry gemstones.
Holistic and Healing Properties
Wearing Herkimer Diamonds is thought to provide holistic and healing benefits to the wearer. Because of their double termination, Herkimer crystals are able to invite, transfer and transmit energy in a fluid course through the stone. Additionally, they are used as an “attunement stone,” which helps people deepen their understanding of their surroundings, friends, loved-ones or social environment.
Herkimer Diamond cleansing properties are so powerful that when they are combined with other healing crystals, they amplify their power. These therapeutic healing crystals are believed to transmit energy, heal the body of ailments and strengthen the immune system.
Many people choose to put Herkimer Diamonds throughout their home, or under their pillow to promote a good night’s sleep, but they also make gorgeous jewelry items.
Herkimer Diamond Jewelry
Herkimer crystals are beautiful for jewelry due to their natural shape and facets, which illuminate beautifully from a variety of jewelry items. Some of the most popular items are Herkimer Diamond earrings, rings and necklaces.
Part of what makes them such attractive gemstones for jewelry is their clear color and clarity. Herkimer’s gorgeously distribute light, and will adopt and enhance the hue of the accompanying jewelry metal. Another benefit of wearing Herkimer Diamond jewelry is that the wearer obtains the healing properties of this extremely rare and powerful gemstone.
How Much Do Herkimer Diamonds Cost?
Herkimer Diamond value varies depending on the size and quality of the stone. Even the most expensive Herkimer Diamond will never cost as much as a true diamond, because after all, it is a quartz crystal. Still, there are Herkimer jewelry items that can fetch a high price due to the novelty and the rarity of the stone.
The price of Herkimer Diamonds will ultimately depend on how many carats you buy, and whether it’s a jewelry item or loose stone. Buying loose Herkimer Diamonds can range in price from $10 USD for small stones, and up to thousands of dollars for larger stones, which are extremely rare.
As you can see, Herkimer Diamonds are a lovely gemstone that combines an other-worldly, ethereal element with powerful healing properties. While they are not technically diamonds, Herkimer Diamonds are the rarest form of quartz crystal in the world, which puts them in a class all their own.