Ace of Diamonds Mine, Herkimer Diamond Development, Crystal Grove and vicinity near Herkimer, New York
Source: Bob Pixley
My family and I (2 adults and 3 children, ages 9, 11, and 13) have just returned from a week in the Herkimer region. We visited the Herkimer Diamond Development, the Ace of Diamonds Mine and one other location that we heard about from members of our local (Stamford, CT) Mineralogical Society.
That other location was...Crystal Grove. It is currently under new ownership, from what I understand. Well, if you are looking for fantastic crystals in matrix, this is the place I recommend. The price to go in and dig is half that of the other locations, and the yield is far, far superior. For those of our younger, or more fatigued family members, there is plenty to pick up off of the ground in the form of loose crystals.
We brought home approx. 150 lb. of rock with exposed crystals (nests of stuff 1-1/2" with smaller ones) and we gathered it all inside of 4 hours, because quite frankly, it was HOT and our younger members were TIRED. They also have a spotless campground, and camping there is very reasonable. The owners are lovely personable people. The owner drives around in his golf cart every hour to see that all families are finding good stuff. If they seem unhappy with what they have found, he will direct them to a good site and tell you where to dig or bust rocks, depending on your inclination. The rock shop that they have at the site has the most reasonable prices for great stuff that I have seen lately.
They are located between Exits 29 and 29A off the NYS Thruway, in St. Johnsville. The phone is 518-568-2914. For Camping reservations call 1-800-KRY-DIAM. Email: .
Source: Rocks-and-Fossils Gopher Server
After you get off the thruway at exit 30 travel on Rt. 28 north for about 7.5 miles. (this will wind you through the village of Herkimer). Right before the village of Middleville you will see two places side by side on the left. One is the Herkimer Diamond Corporation and the second is the Ace of Diamonds mine. Both places are OK. Bring your sledge and eye ware. Its hard work!
The Hastings' property quartz digs are 100 yd. west of the Barker/England Rd. intersection on Stone Arabia Rd. in the Town of Mohawk, Montgomery Co. The area is mostly set up for long term (seasonal) pit digging and has a waiting list for spots. The daily fee for lower impact collecting may still be only a dollar, paid at the house. I think that it's worth the price of admission just to see the pits and the labor involved. The seasonal people are generally quite pleasant despite being prone to back problems. Heavy boots are in order because of the rubble. There are no facilities.
I've had very good luck at The Herkimer Diamond Development. There is also a KOA campground across the street. Next door the HDD is Ace of Diamonds, also good collecting. If your after Mud pockets HDD will be the place of choice, but be prepared to work hard for 2-3 days. Bring 16 LB sledge hammers along with your 8 LB crack hammers, lots of chisels and points. The rock you are working in is dolomite limestone, very hard material! Also bring a few pairs of leather work gloves, the rock shards are very sharp. Have fun.
Hickory Hill is on Hickory Hill Road which starts on the east edge of Fonda off Rt. 5 across from Coal Yard. Up several miles to Martin Road. Stay on Hickory Hill. Site is on left about 1/2 mile past Martin. There is a swing gate nestled in among bushes. You can either pay $125/day for any number of people or go one of the summer holiday weekends Memorial, Fourth of July or Labor day. Fee last year was $5/day with free camping. Pit toilet, no showers. Bring your own Toilet paper for safety, they occasionally run out. Digging at this site is far easier than Ace of Diamonds or Herkimer Diamond Mines but quality on average is less. Harder to find really nice matrix pieces.
Source: Rocks-and-Fossils Mailing List 6/3/95
There is an interesting garnet site in the Adarondacks of New York, just south of Indian Lake near Old Forge. It is the area where 90% of the COMMERCIAL grade garnet is currently mined, but a few years back, a 60-70 carat gem quality specimen was found. For $3.00 you can drive down into their pit, and for $1.00/lb. take what you find. Last year we found some nice samples for our rock garden.
Source: Glynismith@aol.com 6/29/99
We went to the garnet mine today. It is south of Indian Lake but not towards Old Forge. It is actually 13 miles south of Indian Lake on Route 28. in the village of North River. It is located on Barned Mine Road, at the end of the road. about 5 miles all uphill.
For better location reference it is on the back side of GORE Mountain ( the major ski resort in the area).
Previously posted info stated admission was 3 dollars and a dollar a pound for what you take out. It is now $6.75 for an adult (12 and older) and $4.75 per child. However it is still a dollar a pound for what you take. Please note no tools except digging tools are allowed. Tours leave (from the gore mountain mineral shop, it is on top of the mountain just inside the gate) on the hour and are 45 mins long.
Aside from the monetary and the incomplete directions it was a very fun day especially for my daughter whos birthday is in january.
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