A Rich History...
Though we have no proof of exactly how the Herkimer Diamond quartz was first discovered, it is a topic full of local lore. One legend claims that two Revolutionary War soldiers happened upon some Herkimer Diamonds laying loose in the soil. Sure they had struck it rich, the soldiers brought what they assumed were genuine diamonds back to their commanding officer, General Herkimer. Should the soldiers find more crystals simply laying in the dirt, General Herkimer hoped to fund and win the War! It was only after the gemstones were examined by a visiting mineralogist from New York City that they discovered the mistake in their assumption.
In the 1800s, a man by the name of Albert Taber owned property adjacent to the Herkimer Diamond Mines property. Taber had a habit of exploring the woods surrounding his property for hours at a time, sometimes at night, and almost always alone.
After a bad fall on some ice in the middle of the woods, Taber was knocked unconscious. He lay there in the snow for several hours before anyone found him, at which point it was too late. When the search party returned with Taber’s body, they discovered his pockets were full of brilliant, clear crystals. From this point forward, locals were known to find Herkimer Diamonds on what was once Taber’s property.
For years, those in the region where the Herkimer Diamond forms took these precious crystals for granted. It was not uncommon for farmers to find the stone while plowing their fields, or for locals to see them glittering among crushed stone driveways and small roads. Herkimer Diamonds found in places such as these were often broken, or worn-down products of severe weathering, but Herkimer Diamonds nonetheless.
Word started to spread about the special quartz crystals only found in Herkimer County, New York. The locals first starting prospecting informally in 1955, leaving a daily digging fee in the mailbox of a farmer who was known to own property laden with crystals. This was often discovered through observing the cows at pasture. Every now and again, a cow would lose its footing, breaking through the surface and stepping into a pocket full of Herkimer Diamonds.
The mines were operated through that mailbox honor system for many years, until demand for the crystals began to increase. A group of investors led by Van Atty purchased the mines; Mr. Atty then began operating the mines alongside his wife. The Attys continued to develop the property, including the addition of a small rock shop and campground for visiting prospectors.
In 1979, the Herkimer Diamond Mines was purchased by Rudy and Rena Scialdo, and has remained in the Scialdo family ever since. Since 1997, the business has been owned and operated by Dr. Renée Scialdo Shevat, the daughter of Rudy and Rena Scialdo.
Dr. Renée Scialdo Shevat continues to advance the international reputation of the Herkimer Diamond. They can be found in collections globally, whether the collector prefer the stones as stunning geological specimen, or set in brilliant jewelry. The Herkimer Diamond Mines have worked with countless jewelers around the globe, creating unique styles and reaching millions of customers in the global market.
A national treasure, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History displays a fully reconstructed Herkimer Diamond pocket!
The Herkimer Diamond Mines Today...
Join Dr. Renée Scialdo Shevat as she takes you on a virtual journey through the Herkimer Diamond Mines and explains the many facets of the Herkimer Diamonds!
How are Herkimer Diamond Quartz different from other diamonds?
Herkimers rival true diamonds. A true diamond found in the rough is exactly that, a rough appearing glass-like stone. The true diamond must be painstakingly cut by man to give it smooth faces and a geometrical shape. On a hardness scale, a true diamond scores a ten. Herkimer Diamond quartz crystal falls at a 7.5 on the scale, giving the real diamond a close race. They are naturally faceted, each having eighteen facets and 2 points.
Our unique collection of fine jewelry and gift items feature these incredible gemstones, mined right here in the USA! Our staff miners collect and select the finest quartz crystals for use in our exclusive products. When you are buying from Herkimer Diamond Mines, you are buying from the source of the natural material!
Congratulations for choosing Herkimer Diamond Mines. With such rare and unique items, may your selections bring you joy!
Plan a trip to the World Famous Herkimer Diamond Mines in Herkimer County, New York and visit the Trading Post, open seasonally from April through October.
Our sister retail store, Gems Along the Mohawk in Herkimer, NY, is open year round and features many styles of Herkimer Diamond jewelry.