Dendritic Agate: Meaning, History, Properties, and Value

dendritic agate gemstoneDid you know that agate gemstones come in many forms? One of the most unique forms of agate is dendritic agate, a milky stone featuring branch and feather-like inclusions that look straight out of a forest. The gemstone’s interior appears to have trapped trees and bushes inside. How does this happen? We can thank trace mineral elements for this natural phenomenon.

Following the nature motif, dendritic agate properties are known for offering tranquility and peace to the mind, body, and soul. 

But what is it that gives dendritic agate its branchy inclusions? Is dendritic agate rare and valuable? Where can you buy dendritic agate? Many questions surround this earthy gemstone, and we’re answering them all in this guide!

First of all, what is dendritic agate, besides a Jurassic-sounding earth mineral? Keep reading to find out!

dendritic agate gemstone

About Dendritic Agate

Dendritic agate is a type of chalcedony from the agate stone family, along with Botswana agate, fire agate, and blue lace agate, among others! While most dendritic agates have a milky body tone, they can also appear translucent to opaque. The milky base creates a beautiful contrast between the dark brown to black inclusions. 

What are dendritic agate’s inclusions made of? 

The stone’s inclusions, called “dendrites,” are a mixture of manganese or iron oxide minerals that were trapped inside the gemstone when the agate formed.

When a white agate features black dendrite inclusions, the effect emulates a striking wintery scene of snow blanketing tree branches. Who knew that these minerals interacting would create such a picturesque stone? 

Chalcedony is a type of quartz that comes in many varieties, including black onyx, carnelian, and sardonyx.

On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, dendritic agate ranks at a dependable 6.5-7, making it durable enough for everyday wear. 

In astrology, dendritic agate is the zodiac stone presiding over Gemini. If you were born between May 21 to June 20, this black and white gem may be the perfect stone to match the dual nature of the Gemini twins. 

Geminis are known for being quick thinking and diplomatic, always seeing both sides of a situation. What better gem is there than the “Stone of Plentitude” to accompany compromise?

Dendritic Agate Specifications

How can you tell if dendritic agate is real? Technically, dendritic agate isn’t solely agate (because of its dendritic inclusions) but it’s a member of the agate family. 

There are a few ways to identify a dendritic agate, but the easiest method is looking for its distinct tree-like inclusions. While scenic and moss agates also depict nature scenes, dendritic agates have a signature black and white contrast. 

Here are the defining characteristics of dendritic agate:

  • Agate Chemical Formula: SiO2

  • Mineral Class: Chalcedony (cryptocrystalline quartz)

  • Crystal structure: Hexagonal

  • Colors: Body tone - white, off-white, or milky; Inclusions - dark brown to black

  • Luster: Waxy to greasy to vitreous

  • Transparency: Translucent to opaque

  • Hardness: 6.5-7

  • Specific Gravity: 2.60-2.64

  • Refractive Index: 1.53-1.54

  • Luminescence: Fluorescence on certain bands

  • Treatments: Heat treatment and dyeing

Now that we’ve had a look at the characteristics, let’s dive further into how dendritic agate came about in the first place.

dendritic agate cut slab

Dendritic Agate Formation and Origins

Almost all precious and semi-precious gemstones form similarly: in the earth’s crust under extreme heat and pressure. If you ever forget, just think of these lyrics from Coldplay:

“Under this pressure, under this weight, we are diamonds taking shape.” 

While diamonds look vastly different from dendritic agates, they also cook inside the earth in the same way! However, diamonds have almost no inclusions, and that’s what makes them so valuable. Inclusions may diminish diamond clarity, but they’re not always a bad thing. After all, inclusions give dendritic agate its captivating allure.

So, what are inclusions? Inclusions are trace mineral elements or debris that get trapped inside a gemstone as it forms. In the case of dendritic agate, iron oxides and manganese elements intermingle with microcrystalline quartz. 

What does dendritic agate’s formation process look like?

First, water seeps into the earth’s cracks and crevices, carrying oxides and minerals with it. Slowly, over millions of years, a crystal lattice forms inside the crystal structure. The water evaporates, leaving behind black and brown oxides or manganese, giving the agate stone its tree-like patterns! Doesn’t nature blow your mind sometimes? 

While inclusions are poorly regarded in transparent precious gemstones, they’re actually highly valuable to earthy stones like agates. The most valued agates feature unbelievable patterns, giving them prestige and novelty. For rock hounds who collect unique gems, scoring an incredible dendritic agate is like finding a diamond in the rough!

Is dendritic agate rare? Agates in general are not rare. However, finding a landscape patterned dendritic agate is rare and will place it in a highly-desired category, driving its value up substantially. 

Where is dendritic agate found in the world? 

dendritic agate parcel polished

Dendritic Agate History and Origins

Several sources supply dendritic agate, including Brazil, Mexico, the United States, India, Kazakhstan, and Madagascar. Long before we started using dendritic agate for jewelry or healing, it began its quest to notoriety during the Neolithic Era, when humans evolved beyond hunting and gathering to building and using stone tools.

Shortly thereafter, when humans began using metal tools during the Bronze Age, dendritic agate was used as a healing amulet and protective ornament. 

During the 15th to 19th centuries, Germany’s gem cutting and polishing industry saw a boom in all types of agate gemstones. And later, world-renowned Russian jeweler, Carl Faberge, brought agates to fame by placing them alongside regal gems like diamonds and emeralds.

But long before this, records of artifacts taken from the ancient city of Babylon showcase its usage for healing and spirituality. So, what is the spiritual meaning of agate?

dendritic agate display piece

Dendritic Agate Meaning

Dendritic agate also goes by “tree agate” due to its branching inclusions. Another nickname is the “Stone of Plentitude,” for its use in manifesting abundance. 

In the years before commercial farming, agriculturalists subscribed to the folklore of ancient Greek dryads, woodland spirits who inhabited the trees and were thought to sow the seeds of an abundant harvest.

Dendritic agate spiritual meaning has roots as ancient as the earth itself. 

In ancient Africa and the Middle East, dendritic agate was used for medicinal healing, soothing physical ailments as well as emotional turmoil. In Russia, dendritic agate is beloved for its healing properties boasting longevity and prosperity. 

Because of its organic, earthy appearance, dendritic agate properties appeal to the lower energies of the body, offering grounding and stabilizing energies for spiritual and chakra healing. 

Undoubtedly, the link between the earth and dendritic agate is strong, and users can harness this energy to bolster self-assurance and inner strength.

How else can you use dendritic agate in crystal healing?

Dendritic Agate Benefits and Uses

Dendritic agate is a powerful healing stone, but how can you use it for personal growth? For one, you can harness dendritic agate properties to enhance your mental, spiritual, and emotional wellness. 

Additionally, the stone has a renewing quality, making it an essential conduit to growth and perseverance during transitional life phases such as a new career, recovery, or treatment program.

Besides personal growth, what is dendritic agate good for? Some mothers wear an agate gemstone necklace to foster lactation during breastfeeding. 

In relationships, agate is known to strengthen loyalty and trust. When you have an upcoming trip or adventure on the calendar, carrying dendritic agate can serve as a protective amulet against accidents or misfortunes.

At home or in the workplace — anywhere where stuffy air conditioning can create stagnant air — try placing a bowl of dendritic agates on a table or desk to promote the flow of energy. 

You can also use dendritic agate properties in healing therapies!

dendritic agate oval cabochon

Physical Healing

If you have physical trauma from a sports injury or work-related accident, wearing agate stones can align the skeletal vertebra to help you heal quicker. During pregnancy, agate is thought to assist with the health of both the mother and baby.

Considering the COVID-era fevers abounding, placing a cold agate stone on your forehead is said to help break a fever.  

Emotional Healing

Agate is a stabilizing stone, helping you feel protected and confident during challenges. After childbirth, this grounding gemstone is said to alleviate strain from postpartum depression or “baby blues.”

Emotionally, dendritic agate can heal pains of the heart like anger or bitterness, helping you forgive others and accept love more freely.

Spiritual Properties & Chakra Healing

What chakra is dendritic agate connected to? Dendritic agate stabilizes the auras while opening the Root Chakra. 

Located at the base of your spine, the Root Chakra is the source of all balancing energies and power. When the root chakra becomes blocked, feelings of uneasiness or restlessness can occur. Using a dendritic agate can unblock the chakras so that you feel more tethered and whole.

Dendritic agate is also intimately associated with the Crown Chakra, your source of enlightenment and higher consciousness. 

When the crown chakra is balanced, all energies radiating through and around you are aligned. Agate has long been thought to elevate consciousness, helping you become more contemplative and connected to others around you. 

Dendritic agate metaphysical properties and uses can benefit anyone looking to enhance their meditation and divination practices. 

41mm Pair Dendritic Agate cabochon drilled 41 by 23 by 3.5mm 48ct

Dendritic Agate Price

If you’re interested in finding dendritic agate for sale, you’ll be happy to know that the stone is abundantly available both in rock shops and online marketplaces. So, how much does dendritic agate cost? 

Most dendritic agates are inexpensive, ranging from $10-$50 per specimen. However, some varieties can reach up to $500 per rock. Any guesses what these look like?

If you guessed complete nature scenes, you’re right! The most expensive and sought-after dendritic agates will showcase a gorgeous tree branch, feathery nature scene, or complete landscape portrait fit with a horizon and forest. Some even resemble a mountainous backdrop! 

To best display these gorgeous scenes, a skilled lapidary (gem cutter) must use a smoothing and polishing technique that doesn’t damage the dendrite inclusions. Dendrites reach different depths inside a rough specimen, and the lapidary must artfully expose these patterns to conserve the most beautiful parts of the gemstone. 

While scenic inclusions are rare, these agates will always command the highest price and the most hype. However, plain black and white dendritic agates are still beautiful and much more affordable.

Now, how do you clean and charge a tree agate?

Caring for Dendritic Agate Gemstones

Agate gemstones are pretty durable, and that’s what makes them optimal for jewelry designs. However, you will want to wash your agate stones regularly to keep them in good shape. 

All you need to do is wash your stone with warm, soapy water and wipe it with a soft cloth. Always avoid wearing agate gemstones when cleaning, as the harsh chemicals in commercial cleaners can tarnish the stone. 

To cleanse your dendritic agate for crystal healing, we suggest laying your stones out for a full moon bath. Or, you can lay them on a windowsill to let the sunlight cleanse and restore the gemstone, ridding it of old or stagnant energies. 

Shop for Dendritic Agate!

Have you fallen in love with these natural phenomena? We sure have! Dendritic agates are some of the most interesting gemstones in the world.

Just by glancing at the stone, you’d think a skilled artist painted a nature scene onto it! Of course, it can only mean you’re looking at a true dendritic agate — one of a kind and utterly fascinating. Who wouldn’t want to adorn themselves in this decorative agate stone?

On the hunt for your very own? Shop for dendritic agates today!

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