The Dendritic Agate, also commonly known as Tree Agate, is a mineral of the quartz family and is known for its tree-shaped dendrites. The fact that these gemstones do not consist of banded cryptocrystalline silica (chalcedony) means they are not technically an agate based on the scientific definition. They are popularly used as placements in amulets and other forms of jewelry and are used to promote self-reflection, health, and connection with nature. The rarer, green-colored forms of Tree Agates are also seen as symbols of luck.
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Dendritic Agates get their name from the Greek word “Dendron” which means “tree” and originally obtained their name from a Greek philosopher who discovered it over 2,000 years ago in third century B.C. along the Achates River, modernly known as Dirillo River. The cryptocrystalline patterns that are present in the Tree Agate resemble that of sprawling tree branches. These agates are also associated with good fortune as it relates to harvest and commerce. White agates are also seen as symbols of innocence and purity.
Ancient Greeks also believed the Tree Agate to be useful in culling favor with their Gods and were often used as offerings or garden decorations to increase the production of plant life and foliage. Ancient cultures in Egypt and India also used Tree Agates and other gemstones to design ornaments and religious pieces such as bowls, urns, and ornamental carvings. Due to these stones being found in multiple locations around the globe, it goes by a variety of names depending on the region including ‘Mocha Stone,’ ‘Mosquito Stone,’ ‘Stone of Plentitude,’ and ‘Gratitude Stone.’
Tree Agates are typically white, grey, or colorless in appearance with a waxy luster, though there are also rarer forms that have a green hue with white dendrites. The typical appearances of the dendrites are brown or black in color and are comprised of iron or manganese.
The dendrites can sometimes contain traces of red or brown due to the presence of certain iron ions. They can be either opaque or translucent, with translucent stones being the most sought after. Unlike typical agates, Tree Agates are not banded, meaning they are devoid of parallel lines created by the siliceous matter that filled the empty spaces left over from molten material.
Since the Tree Agate is not banded, the dendritic patterns themselves can be tricky to retain when cutting the agate itself. This is due to the dendrites being difficult to measure in terms of depth and because the dendrites themselves are asymmetrical. The hardness of the gemstone varies from 6.5 to 7.0 on the Mohs scale. Gemstones that have a Mohs value of less than 7 are at higher risk of being damaged, meaning the Tree Agate should be treated with care when being used for jewelry and while being worn.
The refractive index ranges from 1.544 to 1.553, giving it similar refractive properties to other gemstones such as Citrine, Rose Quartz, and Amethyst. The specific gravity is 2.60 to 2.65. Tree Agates are commonly mistaken for Moss Agates but can be differentiated by the different mineral traces that comprise the dendrites. The stone itself does not contain cleavage, which differentiates it from other, harder, stones.
In countries such as India, Tree Agates are considered to be a source of inner peace and are used for meditation and spiritual prayer. When used in meditation, Tree Agates promote a sense of calm both physically and spiritually. They are also thought to broaden or enhance one’s connection to nature and are often associated with healing and restoration. When placed in a yard or near your home, they can also be used to draw animals and wildlife. Agates themselves promote a sense of stability and are useful in providing clarity and a sense of control over one’s life and can be helpful when making difficult or complicated decisions. These stones are known for their low intensity and slower frequency vibrations.
Tree Agates can also be useful in reconciling trauma and shock by treating imbalances in the nervous system. They produce water balances in the body to help the flow of capillaries and veins within the circulatory system. Physical effects caused by stress such as back pain or headaches can are also treated by the positive energy produced when holding the stone close to the affected areas. By holding the stone close to your heart, you can relieve the effects of emotional imbalances in the heart and even calm the effects created during sleep that cause sleepwalking.
The astrological sign most connected to Tree Agates is Taurus (April 20 – May 20) but are also known to be influenced by the Virgo (August 23 – September 22) and Gemini (May 21 – June 20) constellations and are associated with the planets Mercury and Earth. The primary chakra is the heart chakra, with the secondary being that of the crown chakra with an associated element of Air. Associations with the angelic realm depend on one’s date of birth and the color of the stone they keep as well.
The Tree Agate can be used for individuals who feel lost in their inter-personal or spiritual lives as they can be beneficial in creating clarity and awareness. The stone’s affiliation with luck, fortune, and prosperity makes the stone an excellent good luck charm. Cold or chilled stones can also be helpful in relieving fever or migraines when placed against the forehead or temple. Placing the stone upon the abdomen helps with the digestive system. Keep in mind that gemstones or agates should not be used as an alternative to medical evaluations performed by a doctor. Tree Agates should be considered a supplement or enhancement to health and spiritual well-being and should not be relied upon alone to treat any current or pre-existing conditions.
Tree Agate Jewelry
Tree Agates are commonly used as placements in bracelets, pendants, or amulets and can also be made into beads. They are good placements for any jewelry design you can think of, even with rings. The stone’s lack of cleavage allows it to be more resistant to everyday wear and tear. Wearing the stone as a pendant or amulet is helpful during meditation and therapy. The increased popularity of Tree Agates and dendritic gemstones also makes it a popular option for men’s jewelry designs.
When contained in a bowl or container, Tree Agates can also be decoratively used in an office or work environment to promote a more peaceful and tranquil environment. When made into beads, the stones are also great for stringing together to make bracelets. Most Tree Agates are plain-cut and polished en cabochon, meaning they are polished and not faceted with a rounded face and flat back. This can vary depending on whether the stone is opaque or translucent. Tree Agates are also not treated or enhanced in any way.
Where does Tree Agates come from
There are many places in which Tree Agates can be found including Brazil, India, Madagascar, The United States, and Kazakhstan. As with other types of agates, Tree Agates are found as nodules contained within volcanic rocks. They can also sometimes be found in some porous forms of metamorphic rocks. In India, Tree Agates are often referred to as ‘Mocha Stone,’ a reference to the historical Harbor of Mocha which used to be the primary port of delivery for stones mined in India. These can be found in almost any area high in chalcedony and quartz formations.
Some specific locations where Tree Agates have been found include:
- The Souris Gravel Pit in Manitoba, Canada
- Aurangabad District in Maharashtra, India
- East Kazakhstan in Kazakhstan, Iran
- Amethyst Sage Mine in Humboldt County, Nevada
- Trapper Creek Mine in Big Horn County, Wyoming
How much is Tree Agate worth
The value of Tree Agates can vary depending on the size, characteristics, and labor put into cutting the gem itself. They can be described in terms of grade; extra grade, A grade, and B grade. Extra grade Tree Agates are the most valuable as they are comprised of less than 10% of the original matrix coating. When shopping for Tree Agates, be sure to purchase based on the actual size and not by carat weight as colored stones can vary widely in the size-to-weight ratios.
Small Tree Agate stones and beads can be found fairly cheap online for as little as $9.99 for a ½ lb. assortment or for a single 10mm strand of beads. To find out the value of a gemstone, the International Gem Society offers appraisal services and can connect you to appraisal services in your area. Tree Agates that are translucent and contain inclusions that resemble landscapes are especially valuable to collectors.Besides going to the nearby stores, it is very easy to find lots of Tree Agate items on the online marketplace (Usually there are more choices on Etsy)
How to identify Tree Agate
Tree Agates are most recognizable due to their uniquely shaped dendrites that resemble sprawling tree branches or fern leaves. They are often mistaken or confused with Moss Agates which contains different mineral traces than Tree Agates which contain a combination of manganese and iron oxides that have found their way into the cracks formed in quartz due to influences caused by volcanic activity in the earth.
Moss Agates can be differentiated by their hardness or testing for hornblende in the dendritic formations. The agate itself is generally a waxy white or grey in color, but some rarer forms can also be green in color with white dendritic formations.
How to wear Tree Agate
Like many gemstones, Tree Agate can be work in a variety of different ways. It is most commonly used as a placement for amulets and pendants worn around the neck both in daily life and during meditative practices. Beads manufactured from Tree Agates can also be used with twine or other strings to create a bracelet or necklace that can be worn on the wrists or neck.
In addition to wearing Tree Agates, one can still feel the benefits and healing properties by simply carrying with them on their person or keeping nearby such as on a desk or nightstand and still benefit from the positive healing properties. Placing the stone next to a photograph or portrait to reestablish lost connections with family and loved ones.
How to Cleanse Tree Agate
When caring for and cleaning Tree Agates, it is important to remember to avoid using strong cleaning chemicals or corrosive agents. In general, all you need is a soft brush with warm water and soap. Most gemstone cleaning kits will have all the materials and tools that will be needed to clean the stone and can be purchased online. After cleaning, it is important to dry and remove excess moisture using a cloth in order to avoid the development of rust or interactions between the stone and its environment. Stones should also be kept from exposure to extreme heat.
After cleaning, keep the gemstones separate from other stones to avoid scratching or damage, this is due to Tree Agates on the Mohs scale only being 6.5 to 7.0. Gemstones under 7.0 on the Mohs scale are generally considered at risk for scratches and damage when in contact with other stones and minerals. To cleanse, charge, or relieve any negative spiritual energy contained within a Tree Agate, the stone should be smudged with smoke from cedar or pine.
What to combine with Tree Agate
When used in Feng Shui, Tree Agates can be used decoratively to produce energies of intelligence and creativity. The metal energies produced by the dendritic contents are most effective when placed in the North or Northwest area of a home or dwelling. Place Tree Agates in combination with other green gemstones or crystals in a kitchen or dining area to promote appetite and health.
Unless the Tree Agate is more of a green hue rather than white, they can be paired well with green or other earthy colors. Agates that are greener in color can conversely be matched with white or silver gems and stones for a similar effect. For Tree Agates being used to fashion jewelry, complementary colors such as purple or red can establish vibrant contrasts. The similarities in energy, color, and pattern also make Moss Agates a great accompanying stone. Other crystals that are often associated with Tree Agates are Jade and Rutilated Quartz.
Flame Agates can be used in conjunction with Tree Agates to produce beneficial healing effects on the physical body and to help align the vertebra when treating certain skeletal disorders. Phenacite or Obsidian can be combined to amplify the effects of motivation and creativity. When combined with Picasso Stone or Malachite, they can also be used to more effectively displace fears and anxieties.
Whether it is work as jewelry or placed in your home, Tree Agates are wonderful and beautiful stones that promote health and balance as well as establish a stronger communication with nature. They are fairly commonplace and can be easily purchased online or found around the world where there is an abundance of quartz and silica deposits created by volcanic activity. They make great meditation and therapy stones due to their calming, low-frequency vibrations. Tree Agates also make a great gift to friends, family, or significant others as they are readily available and treasured by many gemstone enthusiasts.
Be sure to remember that the therapeutic and metaphysical properties of Tree Agates and gemstones in general are not recommended to be an alternative treatment for pre-existing or current medical conditions. It is important to consult your physician or medical professional to identify health issues. Tree Agates and gemstones should be used as a supplement or enhancement for general health and well-being.