PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
THE ‘DIAMOND’ MINER
BY RACHEL INSWASTY
incredible,” Halleran says. “When you’re in there digging,
sweating, focusing on pulling out these huge hunks of crystal
from tough places, there’s nothing like that feeling where you
feel you’ve just made a brand-new discovery on this Earth.”
Halleran says he has always enjoyed learning about geology
and the various landscapes across our country. He has
visited 48 of the 50 states and comments on how beautiful
and unique each state’s surroundings are.
The Herkimer mine in the Mohawk Valley of New York
state is in an ancient seabed that is estimated to be about 500
million years old. The double-terminated crystal quartz is
rare and only found in a handful of places around the world.
“Being a rockhound was a lot of fun,” Halleran says.
“I made some great friends in the mine: Diamond Jim a
schoolteacher, Big George an engineer, Boston Jimmy a
geologist. We would create different techniques and tools for
digging through these vugs or pockets.”
During the next decade Halleran would amass a huge
Ed Halleran grew up as one of five children in a large
family on the south shore of Long Island, New York.
His Irish father was one of 10, as was his Italian
mother. He can vividly recall digging for clams on the
beaches just south of the village of Babylon.
“Those are really some of the most beautiful beaches in
the world,” Halleran says. “I think living there really got me
started on exploring this beautiful country.”
Halleran’s life thus far has most certainly been well lived
and he has the stories to back it. He is a father and military
veteran, has groomed thoroughbred racehorses, owned and
operated a New York pizza joint in California, driven a big
rig, ran a small motel, dealt blackjack and mined for Herkimer
“I don’t want people to confuse my many jobs with inconsistency,”
Halleran says. “If I saw an opportunity or something
that interested me, I would go for it and worked hard at
After leaving his Laguna Beach, California, pizza restaurant
in 1981, Halleran groomed thoroughbred horses in Maryland
for a few years and then in 1983, ran a small motel in Herkimer,
New York. It was at this time he was first introduced
to Herkimer diamonds or double-terminated quartz crystals
crystals with natural facets on both ends. At the time, he was
in his 30s and completely blown-away by a photograph.
“It was truly incredible what I saw, and I knew I had to see
one in person,” Halleran says. “So, I went to the Herkimer
mine that was run by a local family and I started mining for
the very first time in field No. 2.”
Using a 3-pound crack hammer, often referred to as sledgehammers,
Halleran says he started swinging into the rock to
see what he could find. This started a lifelong love for mining,
geology and the infamous Herkimer diamond.
When Halleran was not running the motel, he was down in
the mine pulling out hunks of crystal. Oftentimes, the quartz
was accompanied by mud, dirt and other debris to sift through.
“There is nothing quite like it. The entire experience is
24 Port St. Lucie Magazine
Edward Halleran holds one of the larger Herkimer diamonds he mined years
ago. Since moving to Port St. Lucie in 2021, he continues to unpack his large
collection of double-terminated quartz crystal.
Four generations of Hallerans, from left, Edward Halleran II, James Halleran
Sr., James Halleran II and Edward Halleran III, gathered in 2002.