ALBANY, 04/29/14 – The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.3051) that would designate the Herkimer Diamond as the official state mineral. The legislation, sponsored by Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta), celebrates the distinctive quartz crystals from the Mohawk Valley.
“Formed almost 500 million years ago and known worldwide, the Herkimer Diamond deserves to be properly recognized across New York,” said Senator Seward. “I am extremely proud that the state senate has approved legislation naming the Herkimer Diamond as the official mineral of New York State.”
Doubly terminated quartz crystals from the Mohawk Valley are commonly referred to as Herkimer Diamonds due to their diamond shape and are unique to New York. They are known around the world as some of the clearest quartz mineral specimens found to date.
“The Empire State has a proud tradition of recognizing features that make it unique. While we may not be able to agree on the state’s top vegetable or state soil, there is no such debate when it comes to minerals – everyone digs the Herkimer Diamond, a rare treasure well-deserving of ‘official’ statewide status,” added Seward.
New York State has previously designated an official gemstone (garnet), fossil (sea scorpion), shell (bay scallop), bush (lilac), salt water fish (striped bass), and reptile (snapping turtle), to name a few. Currently, there is no official state mineral.
“The Mohawk Valley is filled with treasured connections to the past and exceptional tourist attractions that draw thousands to our region. The official state mineral designation for the Herkimer Diamond will add to our uniqueness and provide yet another reason for families and tourists to visit, bolstering our local economy,” concluded Seward.
The bill has been previously approved by the senate on several occasions, but has not been acted on by the state assembly. It has once again been sent to the assembly where companion legislation is sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Marc Butler, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney.