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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Camp Sharktooth - The Herkimer Diamond Mining Edition

 Saturday, August 21, 2021

Hi Blog!

The purpose of Camp Sharktooth is to give our grandson, William, chances to explore the world in which we live. There were several reasons we chose Cooperstown, New York for the next edition. This area would allow William to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, reconnect with his relatives in Albany, New York and mine for Herkimer Diamonds. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Because of weather and family schedule, Saturday was our day to visit Herkimer Mine. Because there were thunderstorms predicted for Saturday afternoon, we got an early start. William needed hiking boots for school this year, so he brought them with him to break them in. Climbing all over the rocks at the mine should do the trick. There are many ways to lace your boots. Dave shows William some of his favorite tricks.

We arrived at the mining village just after it opened and there was already a line. Herkimer Diamonds are beautiful double-terminated quartz crystals found only in Herkimer, New York. Incredibly, these phenomenal gemstones are close to five hundred million years old. The crystals are magnificent works of nature, found in the rock, having a diamond-like geometrical shape.

After getting checked in and watching the "how to find Herkimer Diamonds" video, we began our search. There is more here than just Herkimer Diamonds. William shows off a nice bit of white quartz.

Dave is busy "sluicing" gravel for diamonds that have already eroded from the bedrock.

Kathy is busy cracking open some likely rocks.

William is busy trying to persuade a small diamond out of a big rock.

Kathy takes some time to sift through some loose gravel for the elusive gem stone.

After gathering some diamonds by sluicing and smashing, it was time for the pan and scan. There are a number of areas in the mine where paydirt has been deposited. If the sun is shining in just the right way, you can actually see the diamonds sparkle right on the ground. This was probably the most success we had all day. By lunch time, we felt we had enough to head home.

There were a number of good rocks that we didn't have time to work on at the mine, so we filled our bag and brought them back to camp to work on. Dave was in charge of the heavy hitting and William did the fine digging and cleaning.

With toothbrush in hand, Sir William began cleaning the collection. We ended up splitting the rocks into two categories:  the milky white quartz and the clear Herkimer Diamond.

William is carefully designing a display case for his diamonds.

The display case didn't hold the diamonds as well as we expected. The larger diamonds created space for the smaller diamonds to fall. Nevertheless, it is still a pretty good collection.

While we didn't strike it rich, some of the small stones are perfect specimens. William certainly earned his mining pin after this outing. 

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