The Wide Range of Forms found as Herkimer Diamonds
The “perfect” form of a Herkimer diamond would look like the drawing in the logo (or a mirror image - termed left handed or right handed). But such crystals are hard to find. In the search for such a crystal many different shapes (crystal form, or habit) are found. The slide show illustrates the diversity of these shapes.
Different Herkimer Diamond Shapes - Why Does This Happen?
It may be surprising to some to see such diversity in the shapes of double terminated quartz crystals that can be found within the Herkimer Mining District. The slide show presents these varied forms. along with a discussion of what the “perfect” crystal might look like. The first slide shows your average small Herkimer diamond in a small vug (small cavity in the rock) along with a variety of singles, crystals not on matrix. Photo 3 is locally called a “piggy back”.The second most common form are larger crystals, which vary in size and condition. The largest crystals come from Diamond Acres in Fonda.The third most common form that Herkimer diamonds take is as a group of crystals. This is fairly common in pockets, but the groups are often collapsed. Reconstruction of these pocket groups has become a fine art of careful pocket cleaning and lots of patience. Small groups, 2 to 5 crystals, can be found still connected naturally.
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The three most common forms, plus the hopper form (see the hopper page), probably account for 90 % of the Herkimer diamonds that are mined. Herkimer diamonds occur in many other crystal forms (habits) which vary from being scarce (tabular and parallel growth) to being rare (Dauphine, Cumberland, and others). The crystal form of some Herkimer diamonds has been modified by an interaction with hydrocarbons. This is not shown here but can be found on the quartz - hydrocarbon page.