Equipment to bring mining:
- Hammer or sledge hammer
- Crow bar
- Bandaids; I’ve sliced my finger open on a herkimer I tried to get out of a rock!
- Wear old clothes, you will get dirty
- Close toe shoes
My favorite crystals to go mining for are Herkimer diamonds. These double terminated, 18 faceted crystals were formed 500 million years ago, where the Earth used to be a Cambrian Sea. They only form in Herkimer county, New York as well as in Pakistan. We usually go to Crystal Grove, though we have also gone to Ace of Diamonds. Both offer camping along with the experience of mining. I prefer Crystal Grove as there are 2 mines. There is a shop where you can get a day pass, or obtain a camp site. They offer tools to rent for very cheap prices, such as a shovel for $2.00, a hammer for $5.00 and a sand sifter for $2.00.
The mine on the left is famous for black herkimer diamonds and “Phantom Crystals.” Those are herkimer diamonds that formed with carbon, and obtain a dark appearance. The mine on the right is known for the crystal clear quartz. Herkimer diamonds are a 7.5 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. Typically these crystals form within a rock wall, in a druzy cluster, or within a pocket of calcite. I’ve had lots of luck digging for herkimer diamonds and sifting through the dirt as well.
For those of you who believe in the energy of crystals, herkimer diamonds are amplifiers of spiritual energy. It is said to maintain balance on a mental, emotional and physical levels. They are associated with the crown chakra by connecting our minds to the higher planes of existence, as well as opening up the brow chakra, or our consciousness.
Aquamarine crystals can be found atop the 14,000′ mountains such as Mt. Antero. These minerals range from almost colorless to a pale blue. Personally, this is my favorite gemstone as it is my birthstone! Aquamarine gems are a 8 out of 10 on the Moh’s hardness scale. Aquamarine’s energy is connected to the Earth’s water via exhilaration and relaxation of the sea. It protects all who travel by, over, or near water, as well as open the mind. It assists the throat chakra to have clear and heartfelt communication.
Unfortunately in our travels we arrived in Colorado in October, and all of the mountains were getting hit with snow the whole time we were there. I found a crystal shop at the bottom of the Pike’s Peak highway where they sold raw crystals. Luckily, I found a fairly large piece that was mined right in Colorado! I would highly recommend doing your research and going on a guided tour with professionals. You could also mine for fluorite, topaz and bertrandite.
Peridot is one of the most common minerals to mine for in this state. Peridot can be found on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. A gem-quality peridot will be a light, transparent green. It is a 7 out of 10 on the Moh’s hard scale. Peridot is not formed in the Earth’s crust, but instead brought to life in the molten rock of the upper mantle. These gems are brought to the surface by the large forces such as earthquakes and volcano eruptions. Little bits of history from 4.5 billion years ago. Peridot’s energy brings out one’s inner light, sharpen the mind and allowing new levels of awareness and personal growth to realize one’s destiny. It activates the heart chakra.
Can you believe I found one while walking my dog, and when I got home I had a hole in my pocket?!
Smoky quartz and Rose quartz can be found in the Inyo National Forest in an area called Crystal Ridge. You will need a vehicle that can go off-roading in the sandy desert to get back to the mines, and I highly recommend bringing a shovel and a hammer. This is a very abundant crystal! I found a lot laying on the ground from where serious miners cracked into the side of the sedimentary rock walls where they found a whole plate of smoky quartz. They are a 7 out of 10 on the Moh’s hardness scale. Smoky quartz decreases stress and transform fear, anger and other negative emotions into positive energies. Smokies activate the base chakra, which is the root of physical and spiritual energy for the human body. When that is in balance, we are able to increase strength and stamina with one’s own power and increases independence.