Philadelphia, PA - Sunset Beach on Delaware Bay in Cape May, New Jersey. The journey of a Cape May Diamond begins when quartz rocks fall from the Pennsylvania mountain range into the Delaware River.
What Are Cape May Diamonds
This happens near Delaware Water Gap, in the upper reaches of the Delaware River. Over time, the pebbles are washed along until they finally reach the shallow, muddy waters of Delaware Bay.
The small pebbles finally make their way to the shoreline of Sunset Beach, where beachgoers each year can search for their very own Cape May Diamonds.
What you will find are clear quartz crystals that, after being polished, look like diamonds to the untrained eye.
It is believed that the wreck of the World War One concrete ship, The Atlantus acts as a barrier that diverts the tides and currents carrying the Cape May Diamonds from the mountains of Pennsylvania toward the Atlantic Ocean.
In this way, the journey of the quartz pebbles is changed, and they are washed ashore here instead of flowing into the nearby ocean.
Scientists estimate it can take over 1,000 years for a stone to move approximately 200 miles from the mountains of Pennsylvania to its final resting place on Sunset Beach in Cape May, New Jersey.
The most significant Cape May Diamond ever found weighed almost eight ounces.
Nearby gift shops sell polished Cape May Diamonds, but it's more fun to search the beaches around Cape May for your own "diamonds." Buff them to a shine, and you'll dupe your friends at home into thinking you've hit the mother lode.