“Herkimer Diamonds” are a type of quartz crystal found only in certain parts of Upstate, New York. This is an open-pit mine, which means you are not underground and are in the elements. The crystals are all over, wherever Mother Nature left them 500,000,000 years ago. It’s your goal to find them! We do find other minerals here at Crystal Grove, which tend to be associated with Herkimer Diamonds, such as: Calcite, Dolomite crystals, anthraxolite and pyrite!
To mine for Herkimer Diamonds, you need luck & hard work. There are 3 basic approaches:
1. Luck! Walk around looking for exposed crystals on the ground. This technique works best on a sunny day after a rain.
2. If you are more ambitious, you can sift through the dirt looking for loose crystals. This is a good technique for younger children.
3. If you want a real hard rock mining experience, try working the ledge, looking for matrix specimens (crystals still attached to the rock). The matrix is dolomitic limestone and is some of the hardest rock on earth. With luck and hard work, it is possible to find something special; time, experience and lots of big tools come in handy also.
There is a lot of quartz out there, so find a spot and start working! With a reasonable effort, you will find something. Realistically, if this is your first visit here, plan to have a unique and enjoyable experience and if you find a beautiful quartz crystal, consider it a great bonus!
Large specimens tend to have internal fractures and dings; the gemmy crystals (double-terminated and water-clear) are more likely to be 1” or less.
The yellow on some crystals is due to iron, which can be removed from the outside, by soaking overnight in a mild acid. The black in some crystals contain anthraxolite, a hydrocarbon material.
There are 3 collecting areas adjacent to our campground. You will be given a mine map once you’ve paid your mining fee and signed your release. You drive right up and park next to the mine. The mine is not handicapped accessible.
Important items you will want for your mining trip:
- Work boots or sturdy shoes (no sandals)
- Protective goggles or safety glasses
- Digging tools (hammer, chisels, sift kits or screens, buckets)
Ziplock bag to hold crystals
Suggested items for mining:
- Bug repellant and sun screen
- Long pants/Jacket (depending on weather)
- Lunch, snacks, water (no glass containers)
- Money for souvenir shop
- First-Aid Kit
- Small hand tools