The Herkimer diamond is a beautiful crystal that resembles a diamond, somewhat, in it’s clear “coloring” and its clarity.
However, contrary to its name, the Herkimer diamond is not a diamond at all. It’s a quartz crystal.
What Is a Herkimer Diamond?
The Herkimer diamond is a clear quartz crystal that is double terminated. This means that it is a stone with a termination on both ends, otherwise referred to as faceted.
This rare type of crystal is created inside a pocket of clay, free-floating, unlike most crystals that form on the side of a stone. This crystal does not connect to a stone, which is how it gets its unique shape. The Herkimer diamond is harder than other quartz crystals, which adds even more to its rarity.
The name of this crystal comes from the place where it is most commonly found. It is mined in Herkimer County, New York. It was discovered sometime in the 18th century. They are often found in a natural hexagonal shape.
Interesting Properties of the Herkimer Diamond
While you can find Herkimer diamonds with the clarity of an actual diamond, you can also find them with some interesting “flaws.” These flaws include air bubbles that give them an interesting look, rainbow inclusions, and even black carbon deposits (which are common).
While a flaw may make it look less like an actual diamond, it gives these crystals a unique look. You can even find some that have a smoky look to them, instead of being completely clear. They can also be found with inclusions of other crystals and stones within them, which helps to pinpoint where they originated.
The Herkimer Diamond is specific to Herkimer County, but other similar crystals have been found elsewhere. These other crystals do not have the strength of the Herkimer Diamond though. They are not as tough as diamonds, but they are high on the scale that is used to measure how hard gemstones are. Diamonds rate ten on this scale, and the Herkimer quartz is a 7.5, which is a middle-range between amethyst and topaz.
Strength aside, the largest Herkimer Diamond found without any fractures is 4 CM in length. The crystals have been found larger, but they are always fractured at the bigger sizes.
Why the Herkimer Diamond Is Popular
Because of their natural double terminated shape, and their clarity, the Herkimer Diamond is a popular crystal for professional and craft jewelers alike.
The reason this quartz crystal was given the moniker diamond is because of the aw that word brings. After all, diamonds are much loved when it comes to jewelry of all kinds, from earrings to engagement rings. While quartz crystals are unique looking, the word diamond has a special feel and is better able to get people’s attention.
The hardness of this stone also has something to do with its popularity. Society tends to base the value of a gemstone on this factor, rather than what the stone looks like.
Using Herkimer Diamonds in Jewelry Making
Even with their growing popularity and resemblance to diamonds, Herkimer diamonds are still cheaper to buy than actual diamonds. This makes them an excellent option for jewelry making.
They give your jewelry creations a richer look, just make sure you’re being honest about what you’re selling.
1. The Look
Again, Herkimer diamonds are often colorless, with a great deal of clarity. When they are uncut, they’ll usually have air bubbles. An uncut or partially cut one of these crystals somewhat resembles a chunk of ice.
To make them into the shiny diamond looking specimens you find in the jewelry stores; they are cut out of the larger raw stones with all of the imperfections whittled away.
It’s this resemblance to diamonds, the hardness of the crystal, and its beautiful clarity when cut that makes it a great option for jewelry making. Being clear, they go well in any setting with any metals or mixed with other beads and crystals.
When these crystals are in the raw, they will have some sort of “flaw.” It may be the air bubbles or the carbon deposits. If it’s missing these, it’s most likely a fake.
2. Healing Properties
The healing properties of Herkimer diamonds are another benefit of using them in jewelry making. It is a powerful stone that amplifies the properties of the stones that are used with it. This ability to amplify makes it a great addition to any semi-precious beaded jewelry.
These crystals are also purifying, helping to balance the body and the mind. They work to transmit energy, so people use them when meditating, communicating with spirits, or working with astral projection.
Picking a Herkimer Diamond
When shopping for raw or cut Herkimer diamonds for jewelry making, remember the flaws. Uncut, raw quartz will have flaws.
Whether you opt to buy cut or uncut depends on what you’re making. Healing jewelry works better with uncut crystals.