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  • Writer's pictureShane Moore

I'm sorry, How Much? Part 2 Area 52

My last article outlined what it is like digging at Area 51 and what makes Herkimers far from a dime a dozen. This is another examination of what it is like mining for Herkimer diamonds but at a different location.

As I stated before digging is different in every place. Sometimes, there are loads of ground scores, sometimes not. The pocket layer can be 6 feet down, or 20 or 9. You never know until you get there and dig in.

I know most of you watch our videos and think well they get buckets of crystals from Area 52 every day. This is true, most days we get several five gallon buckets full of sparkly goodness. But there is a good reason for this. Barry.

Area 52 is beautiful. It is a field with panoramic mountain views and tons of song birds. Honestly, heaven must look just like it. When Shane and I started digging there we found a lot of shards and broken pieces on the top of the ground but there was nothing worth writing home about.

Cue Barry and the excavator. Digging at Area 52 is impossible without power tools or a truck. You will dig a couple of feet and then clank, clank clank. There is a layer of rock. This layer makes Area 51's dolostone feel like marshmallows. It laughs at jackhammers and is an entire layer so finding an edge, well, we haven't found an edge.

We call this the cap rock. The excavator, most of the time makes short work of it. Sometimes, not so much. That being said, once under it, veins of Herkimers run through the property like a nest of snakes, nothing we have ever seen. They are rich with all kinds of Herkimers big and small. But again, we need a jackhammer attachment for the excavator to get the cap off and they are pricey and so is diesel.

Using a pecker and jackhammers, we have drilled past the veins in one section down over 9 feet to the pocket layer. Yes, nine feet, you read that correctly. Imagine trying to cut through some extraordinarily dense stone for 9 full feet. This took months.

Cue the darda. With the stone being so difficult to break, the crew has decided to buy a darda. This is another full car payment. A darda breaks shelves of rock away with crazy amounts of pressure. All we have to do is drill holes. This is a lot more difficult then it seems. Remember the rock there is super difficult to drill.

While the guys are using their brute force to get to the pocket layer, Barb and I are almost always up to our shoulders in a hole somewhere. Is this dangerous? Probably. Do we cut our hands? Absolutely. I have no nails, calluses and cuts at all times. Personally, it does a number on all of the auto-immune issues I have. There are many times, I pass out from exhaustion for 10 minutes only to wake up and dig again or cry in pain. But, there's work to do so onward!

The Darda, excavator, drills, hammers and gear cost us a ton of money but is all necessary to get the job done. Now, I am not complaining in any way here.. I know, it sounds like it but no. This is the cold hard facts of what we do. And.....I wouldn't have it any other way. But wait there's more...

Shane cleans cuts and preps the material after to make it look it's best. Each pieces is analyzed for defects, inclusions, oddities. Not much gets passed him. Once it is clean, Barb might make jewelry, I may photograph it or it might go in our cabinet. But that's another story.

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Carol Capron Roby
Carol Capron Roby
Jun 09, 2022

Loved your article and appreciate that you took the time to explain what you do. Have you ever considered allowing enthusiasts, for a fee, to watch how you work? I know I would gladly pay to view your process.

Shane Moore
Shane Moore
Jun 09, 2022
Replying to

Sorry it's our family's private property.


Jun 07, 2022

What a great article !!! I wonder if I’d even make it for an entire day 🤦🏼‍♀️


Jun 06, 2022

The equipment makes it look easy but I challenge anyone to look up how much a dorda costs.... I was shocked to say the least!! Price of diesel is no joke either!!! Looks like a big haul but no one takes into consideration the effort that goes into cleaning & sorting too. The expensive to even get to mines when you live out of state with gas & tolls. It kills me that we often get requests to give away our HD because we have a collection. This blog series really brings to light what all goes into mining.

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