These are quartz crystals that have come from Herkimer County in New York State, or nearby Montgomery County. They are unusually clear, and often look like diamonds, especially in the smaller crystals under 1″ long. As they get larger, there will often be beautiful sheets of rainbow colors in the Herkimers.
The bigger crystals may turn tan, or brown, called smoky Herkimers. These crystals seldom exceed 1 pound in weight, but individual crystals can grow to 10 pounds or more. In crystallography, Herkimers are called “beta crystals” which grow in a higher temperature range than typical “alpha quartz.” The beta crystals have a different atomic structure, which only exists at high temperature. As they cool down, the atoms reposition themselves into the alpha crystal structure. As the crystals shrink a little, cracks are formed which appear as beautiful colors. These are called “iris rainbows.” Beta crystals are found in many parts of the world, and are often described as Herkimers, which is not accurate.