Tree Agate

Meaning and Properties


Tree agate is also known as dendritic agate. Dendrites are crystal inclusions that develop in foliage or tree branch-like patterns. In tree agate, these dendrites create a beautiful green dappling effect on a white base. This beautiful green and white stone has long been seen as having a deep connection to nature and was therefore viewed as the stone of plentitude by many civilizations. The ancient Greeks associated tree agate with dryads and the stone was sometimes buried in agricultural fields to promote a plentiful harvest.

The name agate itself harkens back to antiquity and the Achates River in Sicily where agates are thought to have been found. At least 3000 years ago, the Egyptians were making seals, rings and vessels from agate stones. Agate was not just a decorative stone and was long used as talismans in Egypt, Greece and India.

Metaphysical Properties

Just as a dappled forest may bring calmness, so it's said tree agate brings a sense of peace and inner tranquility to wearers. This gemstone helps individuals look inside for self-examination, which also may result in a calm demeanor. Agate in general is said to be a stone that promotes inner stability, making tree agate an amplified version. Tree agate is also believed to boost the immune system and balance water in the body.

Agate gemstones in general are believed to have a quiet energy associated with the heart chakra. Agate strengthens relationships, promotes composure and offers a warm, protective quality to the wearer.

Geological Properties

The distinctive inclusions that resemble vegetation in dendritic agate are a result of the presence of manganese and iron oxides finding their way into cracks of white quartz as it forms. Tree agate has a hardness of 6-1/2 to 7 with a specific gravity of 2.59 to 2.67. This type of agate is frequently mistaken for moss agate, but these stones have different mineral traces creating the unique green branch-like patterns. Tree agate is most commonly found in Brazil, China, India, Australia, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Uruguay and the United States.

Mineral Information Microcrystalline quartz, banded chalcedony
Chemical Composition SiO2
Color White base with dappled green inclusions
Hardness 6-1/2 to 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.60 - 2.65
Refractive Index 1.544 - 1.553

Proper Care of Tree Agate

Agates are generally tough stones, but the best cleaning method for tree agate is to simply use warm, soapy water and a soft brush. It is not recommended to use harsh chemicals when cleaning agate gemstones. Be sure to thoroughly dry tree agate jewelry after cleaning to ensure there is no residual moisture that could cause adverse reactions such as rust in metal settings. Store tree agate jewelry inside a soft cloth or at least away from other stones so as not to run the risk of scratching this agate against a harder stone or of scratching a less hard stone.

To learn more about tree agate and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Tree Agate

Tree agate is a fun stone to design with, especially since each has unique inclusions. The amount of green on each bead can affect design decisions. If a tree agate stone is mostly white with only minor green dendrites, pairing this gemstone with more solid green gemstones will help to bring attention to the bit of green. This works in the opposite way as well if the stone is mostly green with only a dappling of white; pair the stone with white quartz or howlite to make the white in your tree agate more prominent.

Since tree agate has a deep connection to nature, other earthy palettes work exceptionally well. Floral tones, browns and sky or deep water blues all create an ambience of connecting with nature. Brighter purples and reds are complementary colors to the green of tree agate and can make a striking contrast in jewelry designs.

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