Far from being a real diamond, but could you imagine breaking into rock and seeing a small cavity containing the occurrence of a perfectly formed, highly lustrous, sharp edged, exceptionally clear and colourless crystal? You’d think “Ah! We’ve found Diamonds!” I’m sure of it.
Named after the Herkimer County in New York U.S.A, where they were discovered, these doubly terminated crystals are actually Quartz. The “Little Falls” Dolostone matrix in which they are found is dated back to pre-cambrian times, over 500 million years ago.
Forming at the bottom of a shallow sea in its beginnings, Dolostone was subject to centuries of deep burial under sedimentation to a depth of five kilometres and a steady increase of temperatures upwards of 175 degrees. Gradually, the silica contents in the organic material and other chemical constituents started to dissolve through extremely slow cooling and began to crystallise. Voila! The general rule of thumb for a crystal is that the slower the cooling of the solution, the slower the crystallisation process and the bigger the crystals.
The name “Diamond” was adopted as a nod to their amazing clarity and precise formation. Although this is what is expected of Diamond crystals, often they aren’t so perfectly formed and certainly the clarity is another great challenge. Upon further inspection, there are some clear factors that separate Herkimer Diamonds from the real deal. Herkimer Diamonds display typical Quartz crystal characteristics; 6 prisms, two terminations each with 3 major and 3 minor rhombohedra. They have a hardness of 7, compared to the highest ranking of 10 of a diamond. Common inclusions found are two or three-phase inclusions, negative crystals (exhibiting Quartz forms), healed fractures (sometimes with yellow iron staining) and flakes of black hydrocarbon.
Although named after Herkimer County, these crystal beauties are also found in Tibet, Afghanistan and various other locations in the world. Made in Earth sources all of their Herkimer Diamonds from Herkimer County and sells exquisite, handcrafted Herkimer Diamond rings, pendants and earrings for both men and women. More recently, the brand has created a bridal collection using this gem as the centrepiece for various bridal ring pieces. A bespoke design service is also available for brides-to-be with Herkimer’s being top of their most-wanted list! Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made in Earth, talks about his passion for these remarkable crystals.
“Herkimer Diamonds, although simple double terminated Quartz crystals, are just fascinating! We always show our clients a specimen of a crystal in matrix to help explain how they are found and just how incredible they look protruding out of a cavity of Dolostone. Knowing how the crystals form is important in helping explain why most Herkimer Diamonds have an indentation or rough surface over one or several crystal faces. This is the breaking point where the crystals have been dislodged from the matrix and is evidence of where they once lived.”
They may not have had the same formations or hardness as a Diamond, nor the hefty price tag, but these gems are enchanting and distinguished in their own right. So why not take a peek at our Herkimer Diamond jewellery collection in one of our galleries. I suppose, technically we cannot call them Diamonds, but I think there’s something more extraordinary about these crystals than conventional Quartz rings, earrings and bracelets and so the name is still fitting.