Herkimer diamond is something rare, just like natural diamonds. However, most people would assume it’s just another name for a different type of diamond. After all, the name can be misleading. Herkimer diamond is a crystal stone made from quartz—the same silica-containing material found in sand. A piece of rough herkimer diamond has a striking resemblance to natural ones.
Herkimer diamonds, like most quartz crystals, have a hexagonal shape. They exhibit double termination on one end, unlike regular quartz crystals. Herkimer diamonds have a more elongated appearance compared to other quartz crystals. This is due to their pointed (faceted) ends.
Ideal Herkimer diamonds can measure up to 1 inch long, even though some have been known to have much larger sizes. Typical Herkimer diamonds often appear clustered, with the appearance of tiny crystals converging onto a more significant piece.
Their crystals have an exceptional, clear appearance that confers an attractive glow that can give lovely patterns of reflections. Even though some Herkimer diamonds may have impurities like black carbon sediments and air bubbles, their range of different hues and shades confer a dazzling brilliance when they contact natural light. These shades can range from hazy to colorless, all with a certain twinkle.
Herkimer diamonds mature in clay deposits, unlike other quartz crystals that depend on the host rock. Herkimer diamonds are not of identical composition. Some of them may contain:
i) Phantom, skeletal, or twin crystals though in sporadic cases.
ii) Decayed plant matter
iii) Anthraxolite, the dark, lustrous graphitic coal.
iv) Enhydro crystal which has a trapped water content
History of Herkimer Diamonds
The Mohawk River in New York is the site of the first discovery of this precious quartz. The name derives from Herkimer County in upstate New York. This area was inhabited by the Mohawk Indians, who were the first people to extract this type of quartz. Eventually, it became known as the Herkimer diamond, a combination of the geographical area it was first discovered and its resemblance to regular diamond. There have been reports that you can find Herkimer diamonds in Canada, Afghanistan, China, Norway, and England. Apart from Herkimer County in New York, you can find Herkimer diamonds in Arizona, US.
Herkimer Diamonds vs. Real Diamonds
This is always a topic of discussion for those unfamiliar with Herkimer diamonds. Most people associate natural diamonds with affluence and wealth; real diamonds are carbon atoms arranged in a lattice. This gives it its admirable qualities, including exceptional sparkle and unmatched hardness.
Herkimer diamond, on the other hand, is made of silica. Silica has oxygen and silicone as its constituent elements. While they may share some physical properties and a name, they are very different. Natural diamonds are much more expensive than Herkimer diamonds.
Uses of Herkimer Diamonds
There is a lot of spirituality and mystique surrounding Herkimer diamonds. Whether or not such beliefs are supported by concrete evidence is a matter of opinion. They are used in specific religious and spiritual sessions. Practitioners of yoga and other belief systems postulate that Herkimer diamonds can activate Chakras—the specific energy points on different parts of the human body. Herkimer diamonds are said to switch on the spiritual, physical, and emotional energy necessary for healing.
The unseen energy derived from these stones is said to help people if they find themselves in unfamiliar situations. People have been known to place Herkimer diamonds in all sorts of places in their homes, whether in the bathroom or bedroom. It is said that these stones can provide the right emotional and spiritual balance that helps to release body tension.
Herkimer Diamond Price
In addition to all the purported spiritual and emotional advantages these stones confer, it is a decorative item sought after by many people. The 4 Cs of cut, carat, clarity, and color determine their quality, much like natural diamonds.
Herkimer diamonds are used as pendants or can be added to other jewelry pieces like rings and anklets.
As mentioned, the price of Herkimer diamonds is far lower than that of natural diamonds though higher than many other precious stones. A 5g Herkimer diamond, for example, can cost about $75. Of course, the 4 Cs are always at play. You can expect to pay much more than $75 for 5g of it for rarer types.
All in all, these unique quartz pieces are decorative and have spiritual significance to many people.