Someone came up with a sparkling idea 40 years ago, and the interesting concept is still going strong today.
Crystal Grove Diamond Mine & Campground is located just outside St. Johnsville in Oppenheim, at the foothills of the Adirondacks in Fulton County. Visitors to Crystal Grove can enter the mine and dig for quartz crystal diamonds, which are not found anywhere else in the world.
The quartz stones are actually referred to as Herkimer diamonds, and the largest one found at Crystal Grove measured eight inches long and was about the size of a Nerf football.
“Some people say the diamonds are named for Herkimer County, but the legend is that the Revolutionary War hero, George Herkimer, was interested in them,” says Cecily Myers, who owns Crystal Grove with her husband, Evan. “Those interested in the metaphysical consider quartz to be the great healer. Sometimes, though, people just put them on display in their collections.”
Crystal Grove Diamond Mine also has a comfortable campground on site, with cabins that provide access to a small trout stream, bird watching and trails. The campground was established in 1970 to capitalize on the excitement and interest shown by tourists who enjoyed the mining experience.
The cabins sleep four persons each, with a double and a bunk bed. The rate is $60 a night, and reservations are recommended because of Crystal Grove’s growing popularity.
As for the mining, Myers says you don’t have to be an expert to prospect. A shovel, hammer and chisel will help, but even small garden tools will do the work. Eye protection is recommended, and safety glasses are available in the mine store.
“Sometimes you get lucky with the mining, and sometimes you don’t,” she says. “And if breaking rocks isn’t for you, just sifting through the dirt will also often reveal these stunning, sparkling gems.”
Read about more outdoor activities in Gloversville, NY.