Kitchen Witch Cafe


Herkimer Diamond Mining for Beginners

Above: Examples of Herkimer Diamonds in Rock Pockets

Have you ever imagined that you could find your own crystals? Not afraid of a little work & enjoy reliving some stress breaking things open? Herkimer Diamonds are unique double terminated quartz crystals found only in Herkimer County, New York State. They are mostly generated in dolomite or porous rock that leaves room for the quartz to grow at both ends (double terminated). Even if you are an amateur there are quartz to be found and fun to be had, experiencing mining for the first time.

To start you are going to need some basic tools:

  • Safety Goggles or Glasses to Protect Your Eyes

  • Thick Gloves to Protect Your Hands

  • Long Pants to Cover Your Legs

  • At Least One Rock Chisel

  • A Drilling Hammer

  • A 18 – 32” Pry Bar

  • At Least One Metal Wedge

  • Spray Bottle With Water

  • A Bucket to Carry Your Tools & Large Specimen Finds

  • Paper & a Separate Container to Carry the Delicate Herkimer Quartz Crystals

  • Optional Tool Additions: Additional Hammers or a Sledge Hammer

Above: Waterfall at the Herkimer Diamond Mine

Where to Go:

  • KOA Herkimer Diamond Mine

  • Ace of Diamonds Mine

Above: Mining with wedge & hammer on a rock wall.

How to Find Herkimer Diamonds

  • Look for porous rocks on the ground or against a rock wall face & crack them open with a chisel & hammer. Fractures in the rock are easiest to break open. Keep in mind if mining on a rock face the surrounding rock above & how it might fall if lower rock is removed or broken. Rocks with smaller crystal inclusions on the surface have a better chance of having a Herkimer Diamond within them. Be gentle if your think you have a find, Herkimer Diamonds are fragile & fracture easily if hit roughly with your chisel or hammer.

Above: Pourous Rock from Herkimer Mine

Above: Breaking open a rock face.

  • Walk the mining site itself scanning the ground for glistening amongst the dull ground, especially areas with more sandy/gritty floors. It is possible to find Herkimer Diamonds exposed in the open after rain or by others overlooking their mining without even having to break open any rocks.

Above: Herkimer Diamond Mine Quarry Pit

In four hours we were able to find two small specimens & a bunch of quartz inclusions within larger pieces of rock. It was a benefit to go after a light rain & on a cool September weekday when there weren’t a lot of other visitors around. I highly recommend the experience for anyone who enjoys crystals, the outdoors, or scavenging for treasures. Check out some of our finds below. Also if you are intersted in the uses of Herkimer Diamonds follow this link:

Good Luck & Have Fun! Much Love & Good Karma, Mama Nature

Above: Quartz Crystals

Above: Small Single Terminated Quartz