Frequently Asked Questions about Herkimer Diamonds: There are several questions the public frequently asks and these are covered here.
Why are they so perfect, like cut gems and so clear?
Why are some of the crystals smoky in color?
Why are the mines different from each other?
How were these made?
The answer to this can be found by clicking on the “How were they made? button at the top of the page.
This question is a little more complicated to answer because it involves a number of different things to happen. This will be explained in the slide show. Understanding how they were made will help you with the answer to this question. Basically, in order to get welll formed crystals, with sharp faces that are also clear you need to have two things 1) room to grow in a way that prevents “impurities” and 2) protection against natures natural stressors which can create impurities after the crystal is formed. In the Herkimer Mining District there were a unique set of events that helped Mother Nature make these flowers of the mineral kingdom.
The smoky color is due to radioactive elements (carried with the hydrocarbon fluids) that have cause the internal atomic structure of the quartz to change. In doing so it causes light to act differently when it bounces off of the crystal.
The one thing each mine, deposit, has in common is that they produce Herkimer diamonds, but at the same time each mine has it’s own unique features. There are basically two reasons for this 1) variations in the intensity of the mineral forming events (click on crystal photos top of this page) and 2) the amount of vertical flow versus horizontal flow occurring at that mine - including its proximity to major fault structures.
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The information, and photography, on this website is copyright protected by W. David Hoisington, Ph. D. unless another author/photographer is cited.
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Updated - 03/09/2019
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Thank you Shannon Haley Wilbur for the donation of 30 samples from the Fonda region.1/05/2019 and 3/2/2019Check out her Facebook.