Treasure Hunting for Herkimer Diamonds

November 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Destinations, Featured

rock hunting
Herkimer diamonds are double terminated quartz crystals that are found in Herkimer County, New York, hence the name.  These crystals have usually have a shape that is very similar to diamonds with 18 facets and two terminators or points at the end.  These beautiful gemstones were formed close to five hundred million years ago.  They are formed extremely slowly in pockets of rock and can be clear or cloudy in color and may be found in a verity of colors depending on the impurities present in the crystal.These quarts crystals range in size from microscopic to over eight inches long and three to four inches wide and in rare cases even larger.  The best gem quality crystals are usually found in the one half inch to one inch range and will have excellent clarity, which is the reason they are nicknamed diamonds.  As the crystals become larger in size they tend to become less clear.

Herkimer diamonds are naturally faceted and have a hardness rating of 7 where diamonds have a hardness of 10 and it must be cut to give it smooth faces and the traditional diamond like shape.

How are they formed?
Millions of years ago calcium magnesium carbonate was deposited on the ocean floor.  As more and more of the sediments were deposited on the ocean floor the calcium magnesium carbonate and other minerals was compress into a rock strata called Dolostone which is quite similar to limestone.  Cracks can develop in the dolostone and then sea water will dissolve part of the rock leaving pockets where the quarts crystals form.  Pockets can contain from 1 to thousands of these quarts crystals of all sizes.  These pockets usually range in size from ½ inch to six feet in diameter.

Many of the crystal prospectors believe that they contain metaphysical properties.  They are believed to be able to activate your third eye and enhance the dreaming state.  When worn they may bring about a greater access to your psychic abilities.

At Herkimer Diamond Mine located in Herkimer County, New York, you can purchase an all-day prospecting ticket for around $10.  Prospectors can dig through the rubble near the mine area and break open rocks looking for the Herkimer diamond deposits.  Common tools used for prospecting are a 2 to 3 pound hammer, chisel, crowbar, safety glasses, gloves, 5 gallon bucket with water and some type of hoe or rake to move the piles of broken rock around.  Basic tools can be supplied by the mine staff with proper identification.  Visit the Herkimer diamond web site for current hours of operations and prices.

Up to 500 people a day from all around the world may visit the mine to prospect.  Hunting for Herkimer diamonds is great fun and a lot of hard work.  If you are lucky your will find a large pocket of crystal within the quarry walls.  One or more of the diamonds may be found by searching the rock rubble near the quarry walls scattered across the quarry floor with little or no effort.  Another common prospect method is to select and break open a rock with a heavy hammer and look for a cavity with crystals imbedded within.

Metal Detecting for Rare Pallasite Meteorites in Glorieta NM

June 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured, Howto

Meteorite Hunting for Rare Pallasite Meteorites in Glorieta New Mexico.

Treasure Hunting for Meteorites

January 21, 2005 by  
Filed under Featured



Treasures are falling from the sky.  A natural object originating in outer space that survives the impact with the earth’s surface is called a meteorite.  Most meteoroids burn up when entering the Earth’s atmosphere.  However, it has been estimated that over 500 meteorites do reach the surface each year and they will range in size of a marble to basketball size or larger.  Only about five or six will be recovered each year and pound for pound, meteorites are move valuable than gold.

If you are lucky enough to have discovered a meteorite you could get about $4.00 a gram or $125.00 an ounce.    Meteorites have been found all over the world but some of the best hunting places to start looking for them include deserts and dry lake beds.  Known meteorite impact areas like Barringer Meteor Craterin in Arizona and Odessa Meteor Crater in Texas can also produce good results.  Meteorites have also been found in California, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Nevada.

Meteorite Types

Chondrules meteorites is composed mostly of silicate and small amounts of organic matter.  They are believed to have originated in the asteroid belt and are considered to be the building blocks of the planets.  86% of the meteorites that fall to the earths surface are Chondrites.

Achondrites meteorites is composed of igneous rocks that is believed to be the remains of the asteroid crust.  Meteorites that have hit Mars and our Moon and have blown off material that has later found its way to earth fall into this category.  8% of the meteorites that fall to the earth are Achondrites.

An iron meteorite is thought to have been the core of asteroid that were once molted.  The denser metal separated from the silicate and sank to the center of the asteroid.  Later the asteroid collided with another asteroid and was broken up into smaller fragments.  5% of the recovered meteorites recovered fill into this category.

The last 1% is composed of iron and silicate materials.

Professional meteorite hunters will use custom designed and expensive tools.  As a hobbyist you can hunt for meteorites with a metal detector, rock hammer, shovel, gloves and a rare earth magnet.  Be very careful with rare earth magnets because they will damage credit cards, cell phones, computers, PDAs and other electronic equipment.  Never care one near your wallet or in your pocket.

After finding a likely rock with your metal detector check your find with the rare earth magnet.  If the magnet sticks, and the rock looks like it has been melted and some rust spots are evident then you may have found a Meteorite.

Black Diamond

One final note.  Always be on the lookout for crystals in your meteorites because it could be a diamond.  The study published in 2006 analyzed the hydrogen in black diamond samples using infrared-detection instruments and found that the quantity indicated that the mineral formed in a supernova explosion prior to the formation of the Solar System.  These diamonds were formed by carbon-rich cosmic dust in an environment near carbon stars. The diamonds were incorporated into solid bodies that subsequently fell to Earth as meteorites.  If you really want a piece of history then consider looking for meteorites.  You may end up with something as the solar system itself.

Happy Treasure Hunting.