What exactly are the world-famous Cape May diamonds and where can you find them?
If you are looking for a unique souvenir from your visit to New Jersey’s southernmost town, head to Sunset Beach and search for a Cape May diamond. These are pure quartz crystals, that when polished, cut, and faceted, resemble an actual diamond.
In the Beginning
Over 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age, massive ice sheets covered much of North America including New Jersey. These glaciers trapped rocks and sediment and, as the ice melted, quartz pieces began their long journey toward the sea. Cape May quartz travels from the water of the Delaware River towards the Delaware Bay and into the Atlantic Ocean.
They were first discovered by the Kechemeche Indians, part of the Lenni-Lenape tribe, in limited areas around the Delaware Bay. These translucent rocks were thought to have mystical powers.
Hunting for Cape May Diamonds
Today, visitors to Cape May comb the sands of Sunset Beach, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, looking to find their own Cape May diamonds. Just look for the clear, sparkling quartz among the pebbles. The clearer the quartz, the more treasured the “diamond”.
Want to learn more about these shiny stones? Click here to watch this short video segment from CBS Philly, when they visited Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ.
And if you do go hunting for diamonds during your visit, keep your eyes out for other Cape May beach treasures. Sharks’ teeth, agates, Indian arrowheads, and black quartz are also popular finds at Sunset Beach. And be sure to bring a bucket or a bag with you to collect your keepsakes. It’s easy to fill up your pockets very quickly!
And if you don’t find enough of these Cape May souvenirs on your own, you can always stop by the Sunset Beach gift shop. There you will find a wide assortment of Cape May diamond jewelry, including earrings, rings, and necklaces.