11 Jul

herkimer byzantine detail

For almost a year now I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tracey Chareas, owner of The Ruby Door and creator of most of the amazing jewelry in the store. She and I share a passion for stones, both precious and semi-precious.

A recent series of pieces that Tracey has done focuses on what are known as Herkimer diamonds, and they are amazing.

herkimer double point crystal

Pure Herkimer Quartz Crystals
( Note the Double Terminations )

Herkimer diamonds are not, in the molecular sense, diamonds at all. They are a particular and rare type of crystal quartz that has points, or prisms, on both ends. The scientific term for a crystal’s prism point is its ‘termination’. While the overwhelming majority of quartz crystals have only a single termination, Herkimer crystals possess a double termination. In other words, both ends of the crystal finish in points, which allows for light to refract and reflect within the crystal far more brightly.  Interestingly, it is still not known with certainty what causes this rare type of formation to occur.

herkimer cluster 145

Classic Small Clear Herkimer Diamond Cluster
on 14k Gold Chain
by Tracey Chareas Designs

These crystals were originally discovered in Herkimer, New York in the late 18th century. Herkimer crystals come in a variety of shapes and colors – from small, clear examples to larger, more opaque versions. These larger crystals are my personal favorite. They either look crisp and icy or have subtle, smoky occlusions that lend an air of age to them — as if they were recently unearthed in some archaeological dig. (And, for all practical purposes, they were.)

herkimer 3 on rose chain

Three Large Herkimer Diamonds
of Varying Clarity on 14k Rose Gold Chain
by Tracey Chareas Designs

Quartz in general carries some very interesting properties, and it’s no coincidence that crystals have been used for centuries as a healing aid. When electrified, the molecular lattice structure of a common, single-terminated quartz crystal can actually transmit electricity – albeit only in one direction. Those who are inclined to work with crystals for healing often use Herkimer quartz crystals because, unlike their more common single-prismed counterparts, the double termination of a Herkimer diamond can transmit energy both ways. Consequently they are often popular as jewelry not only for their shine and sparkle, but for their deeper energy-transmitting properties.

Most Herkimer crystals are now mined in Australia and other countries, but they can still be found in the Herkimer region of New York State. Specimens from this region are highly prized and collectible for their extreme clarity and sparkle.

Often accented by antique components or handcrafted metal work, when Tracey puts her hand to them the results range from minimal and organic to positively Byzantine.

Herkimer Diamond and Vintage Chain 2

Clear & Smoky Herkimer Diamond Necklace
on Hand-Knotted Silk with Vintage Chain
by Tracey Chareas Designs

Matched with a vintage brass watch chain, these Herkimer diamonds at right range in size and color with a rich, multi-hued patina.

Below, an amazing necklace composed of gradated medium to very large frosty white and clear Herkimer diamonds with handmade brass chips.

herkimer byzantine full

Graduated Herkimer Diamond & Brass Chip
Necklace on Hand-Knotted Silk
by Tracey Chareas Designs

All pieces by Tracey Chareas are limited edition or one-of-a-kind.  For more information, to inquire about a specific piece or a custom order, call 617.720.2001 or email

Thanks for all your support.

Be well,



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