Naturally Tumbled Quartz from Cape May, New Jersey.
Hand Wrapped in Solid Sterling Silver Wire by Holly Pisaturo, Jewelry Designer and Fabricator
Pendant 1.5" x .75"
The History of Cape May Diamonds
Cape May Diamonds: by Karen Fox
“These beautiful gems we call Cape May diamonds are pure quartz crystals,” says Jeanette Bartolomeo. “They are, in fact, semi-precious stones with a hardness of seven compared to a genuine diamond’s hardness of 10.” Like real diamonds, they are hard enough to cut glass.
Cape May diamonds are our today-connection with the Ice Age. Thousands of years ago, giant sheets of ice covered much of the East Coast. As the glaciers melted, moving northward, they deposited quartz pieces, chipped and torn from the upper reaches of the Appalachian Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania. The Delaware was a young river then, over the millennia growing into the powerful body of water it is now, traveling 200 miles from its head waters to Delaware Bay to its rendezvous with the Atlantic Ocean. The waters sweep along the quartz pieces, breaking, buffeting, polishing the stones as they roll toward the Atlantic. Some scientists say it takes a stone 3,000 years to make the journey. The river continuously dumps quantities of the pebbles at the mouth of the bay where strong winds whip waves, tossing the stones onto the beaches. The decaying World War I Concrete Ship, the Atlantus, at Sunset Beach acts as a washing machine, the water swirling around it, and throwing up pebbles from the depths of the bay.
...If held up to the sunlight, they are translucent. The stones range in size from a pea to an egg, though there are rare treasures that are the size of a baseball. Colors vary...
The human story begins with the Kechemeche, a tribe of the Lenape of the Algonquin Nation. As the Kechemeche fished and hunted along the bay, they were the first to find the sparkling crystals on the sandy beaches from Cape May Point north to New England Creek, including areas that would later be named Higbee and Diamond beaches. The Native Americans came to believe the translucent gems possessed supernatural powers, bringing good luck and friendship. Bonds of friendship were often sealed with the best stones as gifts.
In the late 1600s, as the whalers from New England and Long Island came ashore, they faced little resistance from the Kechemeche, who were a curious people, not a warring tribe. They traded with the new settlers, and sometimes closed their deals with their prized beach gems as signs of peace and good will.
The greatest story told portrays King Nummy, the last chief of the local Lenape, bestowing his precious Cape May diamond on whaler Christopher Leaming as a signature of friendship. This tale has been passed down through the ages as a legend of the mystical powers of the humble pebbles found on the bay beaches.