These STONES!  These stones have been throwing a party in my right brain and it's leading to the sweetest design hangover...that...I don't wanna' get over...(queue shiny disco ball!)
I have seen Herkimer's before---but mostly in pictures.  When I laid my little hands on these babies in person, I was smitten.  Totally blown away, in love, and compelled to share my beautiful find with you.
Herkimer Diamonds Natural Quartz CrystalsHerkimer Diamonds Natural Quartz CrystalsHerkimer Diamond Natural Quartz Crystals
Herkimer Diamonds are not real 'diamonds' but are dual-terminated, quartz crystals mined in Herkimer County, New York State.  Simply put, they have two pointy ends, very rare in crystal formation.  What amazes me is that these beautiful stones emerge from the ground exactly as you see them pictured here!  The are already 'cut' to sheer, natural perfection.  They are not cut and shaped after mining but Herkimers are born this way!
This natural formation is a result of being formed inside the cavities of 500 million year old dolostone (yes--you read that correctly: 500 million.  Dr. Evil is now in the house).  Since they are not embedded in the rock, like most other minerals, they are free to form the dual terminal points that set them apart. They are free to be.
Herkimers were found and mined by Mohawk Indians and early European settlers. Due to their beauty, they were considered highly valuable.  Herkimers were used for tools, trade, and amulets up until the importation of glass beads from Europe in the 1600s.
Most Herkimers are clear but some contain inclusions.  The most common inclusion is hydrocarbon, which can create a smoky color in the gems.  Herkimers may also contain pockets of salt water and liquid petroleum (dying to see that!).  Most jewelry designs tend to use the crystal-clear Herkimers...however, after getting over my initial freak-out upon finding these awesome gems, I chose the ones that contained flecks of pyrite and quartz.  These two minerals impart a sparkly, metallic quality yet still allow for a lot of clarity.  I found them far more rich and interesting than the super clear crystals and they pair well with aged, hammered sterling silver and brass.  
As a result, the bar has been set and I will be forever searching for more sparkly and intense Herkimers!  But that is part of the challenge and part of the love of designing with natural's not mass produced and's endlessly unique. 
Herkimer Diamonds are said to be an amplifying stone that magnifies the vibrations of other stones.  In addition, the dual terminations (points) are believed to transmit and receive energies, making them the most powerful of all quartz crystals.  
In my quest for a deeper understanding of this beautiful mineral, I discovered that there is a Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA Resort!!  I am totally geeked out about this! This may become a must see on my list for this summer, especially since I am just a stones throw away in Pennsylvania!  (Yes, I went there...)  Check it out at   I warned my boyfriend and plied him with the promise of upstate wineries, so I think we are good to go...
For more information about Herkimer Diamonds, please see these resources below!