Imagine finding a stone that looks like a beautiful painting of tree like ferns within the gem, what you have been looking for is dendritic quartz. The word dendrite derives from the Greek word “dendron”, which is relative to the dendritic quartz known for its fern like inclusions.
Some people believe that the inclusions are flaws. However, we need to remember these ‘flaws’ are remnants of a tedious and turbulent beginning – some hundreds of thousands to millions of years of heat, pressure, volcanic action, erosion, climatic changes and delicate balance of chemical bonds. Crystals are an absolute miracle of nature requiring the perfect balance of ingredients and circumstances for crystallisation to take place.
Aside from the regular old feathers, veils, negative crystals, cavities, colour banding ect. There are mineral inclusions that add colour, sheen and charm to a gemstone. One of the more beautiful and intriguing mineral inclusions are dendrites and dendritic inclusions.
Dendritic is the term used to describe the formation in which certain minerals crystallize, fine, fern-like branches much like the structure of frost and snowflakes. Dendrites are, but definition, a fractal-a “self-similar” pattern, meaning they are the same either near or far, an ever-evolving pattern of repetition and growth. Fractals are fascinating for more than just the dendrites enthusiast. Mathematicians and scientists have studied their attributes to further their knowledge of geometry, metallurgy, computer technologies, neurosciences, spare and time. In the gemmological world, dendrites and manganese oxies (MnO) and iron oxies (Fe O) and form in fine fractures and fissures through the crystallisation of manganese and/or iron rich solutions from surrounding weathered rock. In the jewellery world, they’re simply beautiful and can turn a piece of quartz into something of spectacular beauty and intrigue.
Dendritic quartz is mostly found worldwide but is usually found mostly in Brazil, India, China, Uruguay and the USA. Dendritic quartz can be transparent to translucent depending on the clarity of the quartz and density of inclusions. Occasionally, healed fractures are stained with iron giving a yellow through orange body colour. The dendrites themselves can vary from black through to a pale brown giving each stone its own unique visual characteristic appearance of a landscape, a mineral garden of delicate ferns. With a hardness of 7, dendritic quartz is great for rings and pendants. Earrings can be impossible to find matching stones for and the detail is lost in smaller gems.
Taking pride in his dendritic quartz collection, owner and designer at Made In Earth, Bunny Bedi, has always sourced the most exquisite specimens for his jewellery.
“This stone is picturesque and it is important to treat each stone as work of art, nature’s arts. We carefully set each stone so that the scene of each dendritic picture is displayed perfectly. I’m never afraid to work with large stones, particularly with dendritic quartz, as the bigger the stone the more exquisite the scenery.
The best quality stones are found in Brazil and are generally sold by the carat. ‘High grade’ doesn’t necessarily imply the best clarity but the most picturesque scene of dendrites. Stones are generally cut with a top-polish crown and step-cut pavilion to best show the inclusions and not get facets in the way of the details.”
It is not every day that you can find a piece of gem that looks like a beautiful painting has happened and we think that dendritic quartz is a beautiful stone that will be a statement piece forever.