Experience the Herkimer Diamond Mines
Discover all the ways you can find and enjoy your very own Herkimer diamonds and gemstones.
The mines will open starting april 6th through october 31st, 2024
01 Mine for Herkimer Diamonds in the above ground mines
Our above ground surface mines give you the unique opportunity to search for Herkimer Diamond quartz crystals hiding in the rocks. There are a few ways to find them, but most folks like to simply use a hammer to reveal the beautiful 500 million-year-old crystals hidden inside. Everything you find is yours to keep!
02 Discover gemstones at the Sluice Mining Station
Sluice mining offers another exciting mining experience. Purchase a special bag and head to the Sluice Station where you can screen away the debris to discover your very own treasures. This experience is perfect for miners of all ages.
03 Design and assemble beautiful custom jewelry in the artisan centre
After you have collected your Herkimer Diamonds and gemstones, create your own custom jewelry. At our Artisan Center, you can choose from a variety of jewelry-making accessories to create your masterpiece and show off your finds.
Experience the wonder and delight as you uncover some of nature’s most beautiful gifts.
Schedule and Hours
Closed-toe shoes and eye protection are required to enter the mines. Tools over 12 lbs and powered equipment are not allowed.
The mines are subject to closure during unsafe weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, harsh rains, thunderstorms, etc.
For those mining with us for more than 1 week at a time, we require that you rotate to a different area weekly.
2024 Season – Opening April 06, 2024
Mining Registration – 7 days/week, 9am – 5pm EST
Fee includes an all-day prospecting ticket, gem collection bags, and use of a rock hammer. Instruction will be provided prior to entering the mines.
Hammer rentals are included with admission, but we require an ID/license in exchange until hammers are returned. Any children aged 4 and under will not be given tools.
Age 13 and up – $18.00 per person (+$2.00 Saturdays & Sundays)
Age 5 to 12 – $14.00 per person (+$2.00 Saturdays & Sundays)
Age 4 and under – Free
Active military discount available with ID
Guaranteed finds in ALL bags. The only bag containing Herkimer diamonds is the Herkimer Diamonds Dirt Bag.
Herkimer Diamond Dirt Bag: $15.00
Small Gemstone Bag: $15.00
Motherlode Gemstone Bag: $30.00
Fossil Find Bag: $15.00
Frequently Asked Questions
The mines are all above ground “surface mines” which are easily accessible to guests of all ages.
What should we bring?
We suggest that you come prepared with safety eyewear, gloves, and closed toe shoes. You may also bring any additional equipment, such as chisels, screens, small shovels, buckets, and other hammers (up to a 12 lb sledge). We recommend you dress for the weather and bring sunscreen if necessary.
How are Herkimer Diamonds different from other diamonds?
Herkimer Diamonds rival true diamonds in their appearance. 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 facets and a geometrical shape. On a hardness scale, a true diamond scores a 10. Herkimer Diamond quartz crystals fall at a 7.5 on the scale, giving the real diamond a close race. They are naturally faceted, each having eighteen facets and two points.
How were Herkimer Diamonds formed?
The bedrock in which the quartz crystals are found began forming approximately half a billion years ago as the Cambrian Sea lapped against the southern shores of the Adirondack Mountains. The sediments (calcium magnesium carbonate) slowly accumulated beneath the sea’s salty waters and were gradually compacted under the weight of thousands of feet of additional sediments. This formed a layer of rock called dolostone. Water seeped through the pores of this rock dissolving part of the rock and creating “vugs” (small holes or cavities). It is in these cavities where we find a blanket of crystals, the Herkimer diamond.
What are collection methods?
The collection methods range from casually looking along the mining area, digging through the rubble, or using crowbars, sledgehammers and heavy chisels to break through the rock. The most popular tools are a 2-to-3 lb crack hammer and a bull point chisel used to break them out of a single rock.
What is pocket mining?
In mining, pockets are a localized rich deposit of minerals. Some pockets are known to contain thousands of diamonds. Pockets are typically between 1 and 6 feet wide and have a dome-like top. When these domes are broken open, the inside reveals a lining of small, white cubic-shaped dolomite crystals or, occasionally, beautiful black drusy quartz. Most pockets will contain crystals of various sizes, with the largest being up to eight inches long and three inches wide. All pockets will contain very small shining crystals called microcrystals. As the crystals move up in size they tend to lose clarity and are more cloudy.
Are there special Herkimer Diamonds?
Yes, there are Herkimer diamonds that contain exciting surprises! Some crystals contain anthraxolite which resembles bits of black coal within the crystals. Another special discovery would be an enhydro crystal which describes a crystal with a water bubble inside. An extremely lucky find is an enhydro, which contains species of anthraxolite, floating in the water bubble. Other valuable crystal, specimens you may see consist of twins, doubles, clusters, tabulars, smokies, skeletals, and phantom crystals. Come see if one of these rare finds may be awaiting your discovery!
What constitutes a perfect Herkimer Diamond?
The most brilliant, clear, and sparkling Herkimer Diamonds are usually those less than 1 inch long. Crystals commonly occur intertwined or clustered with tiny, perfect crystals attached to the backs of larger ones.
Can you be of any age to prospect?
We welcome miners of all ages, but children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult in order to keep the experience enjoyable and safe.
Can we keep everything we find?