Herkimer Diamonds in Fonda, New York

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A benefit of membership with the Nassau Mineral Club is that you have access to the Herkimer Diamonds claim in Fonda, NY. This means that you can go to a private plot and dig for the rare, and remarkable Herkimer diamonds.

Joe and I met at the Schenectady train station and had our directions set in GPS, and I had hand written the directions so we have them “old fashioned” style,,,,still we drive around for half an hour when the GPS told us we were criss-crossing the center of the Herkimer Diamonds plot. We should have been pulled up right beside the dolomite shelf itself,,,,so we drove back and forth and finally found someone walking outside their farmhouse. We asked her if she knew where the Herkimer Diamond site was, and she had never heard of the place!  So we asked her, “Any chance that you have an interesting outcrop or rock formation near your residence, on your property?”  To that she also replied she did not know what we were talking about.

Finally we drive past an unmarked drive-way the led to a circle road with variety of trucks and SUVs parked, and it was too early in the day for a party, so we knew we had found the place.

Once you find your Herkimer Diamonds claim, the trick is clearing the rock down 6 to 8 feet below for the largest pockets, so we were told.  We met many nice people along the way working their claims, some with elaborate PVC pipe contraptions set up to drain rain-water, to folks with New York City maintenance crew jack-hammers.

Our claim is around 4 feet below the earth, so we have a lot of potential. The dolomite is very hard, and sometimes you are facing a smooth surface of rock, no fissure, crack or crevice to insert your chisel.  So it is hard work, but a lot of fun when you hit a pocket, albeit small, and you pluck out perfect “diamonds.”  This is very hard rock again we stress.  No wonder that the Herkimer diamonds are rare.  We plan to return with a jack-hammer or a case of Red Bull energy drinks to get to the 6-8’ level.  Check out the photos of the smaller diamonds we recovered. They are beautiful and amazing since they pluck out of the earth as clear as glass, or a diamond.

We would classify this location as “Very Difficult” because of the trek through the wilds that is required, the mosquitoes, chance for snakes, lack of facilities, and need to carry as much equipment as you can yourself through the possible ¼ to ½ mile through the woods.

Have fun!

Be seeing you,

Rockhounding Photo Gallery